Applications now being accepted for Knoxville’s 2017 “Start-up Day” pitch competition

Innov865By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Want to pitch at the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region’s fifth annual “Start-up Day” celebration?

Well, if you do, it’s time to apply. “Start-up Day,” launched in 2013, is the signature event for the region’s second annual “Innov865 Week.” The week-long celebration is set for September 18-22. There will be a series of micro-events and other special programs, including the recently announced “The Works Demo Day” ahead of “Start-up Day” set for the afternoon of September 21 at the historic Bijou Theater.

Six East Tennessee start-ups will be selected to pitch for up to $15,000 in cash prizes. The applications are now available here and will be accepted through July 7. The Innov865 Alliance will review applications and select the six start-ups to vie for the prize monies. Finalists will be notified no later than July 17.

New this year, the “Start-up Day” pitch competition will feature two prize categories: “Judges’ Choice” and “Crowd Favorite.” T&T Scientific claimed the winning prize during last year’s event. In addition, the “Innov865 Traction Award” presented by UT Federal Credit Union will return this year recognizing a “Start-up Day” alum who has made the most progress.

Launched last year, “Innov865 Week” featured 25 events that drew more than 1,400 entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee.

Plans are still evolving for 2017, but already include:

  • “Future865,” an event that will explore opportunities to help Knoxville leverage its many assets – social, cultural, and technical – to become the destination for entrepreneurs in the Southeast;
  • A technology showcase hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Foundation;
  • “The Works Demo Day” hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC);
  • The return of the Maker Summit and “Elev865,” an exclusive networking event for business leaders and entrepreneurs; and
  • The roll-out of Olli, a self-driving, fully electric vehicle that was created and manufactured by Local Motors, a Knoxville-based company that designs and builds innovative motor vehicles.

“Innov865 Week” is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a group of organizations working together to develop, support and promote the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Founding members include the UT Research Foundation; ORNL; KEC; PYA, sponsor of; UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Three Roots Capital; Launch Tennessee; and TVA.

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