By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
If you want to be eligible for consideration to pitch at this year’s “Start-up Day Knoxville” competition and win the $5,000 top prize, you have less than two weeks to submit an application. The deadline is Monday, July 25.
Six East Tennessee start-ups will be selected to pitch during the event set for the afternoon of September 22 at The Bijou Theater in Downtown Knoxville. “Start-up Day Knoxville,” launched in 2013 with the pitch competition added last year, is the signature event during the city’s inaugural “Innov865 Week” that runs September 19-23.
As previously announced, the latter is a five-day celebration of entrepreneurship in the region. The current schedule, which is a work in progress, can be found here.
We recently posted an article about Paul Singh, a nationally-recognized serial entrepreneur and investor, who is bringing his “North America Tech Tour” to Knoxville for the week. Other scheduled events include the Kauffman Foundation’s “Mayors Summit on Entrepreneurship,” technology showcases at both the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, and demo day for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s (KEC) “The Works” accelerator.
In addition, a series of micro events will be announced later.
As far as the pitch competition, eligibility is limited to start-ups located in the East Tennessee region that fully complete an online application available here. After the July 25 deadline, six finalists will be selected and notified by August 8.
Last year’s winner of the competition was FunLPro, co-founded by Bryan Crosby.
Moving from a single three-hour celebration in 2013 to a week-long series of activities reflects the passion of the steering committee that has planned the previous three “Start-up Day” events as well as the significant evolution of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past few years.
“Knoxville is a great city to start and grow a business, so it is important for our region to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs to continue this growth,” said Stacey Patterson, Vice President of UT’s Research Foundation (UTRF) and a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “The ‘Start-up Day’ pitch competition is an opportunity for East Tennessee entrepreneurs to pitch their innovative ideas and compete for a cash prize that can help make their vision a reality.”
In addition to UTRF, other Innov865 Alliance members include ORNL, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Launch Tennessee, KEC, and PYA, the sponsor of teknovation.biz.