The weekend-long business start-up event is being held a little later this year. In the past several years, it was held in late January or early to mid-February. The 2018 edition will be April 13-15.
“What’s the Big Idea” is a long-time activity sponsored by The Development Corporation of Knox County. Since its founding earlier this decade, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) has coordinated the event, and Harper Auto Square has joined the effort this year as a sponsor.
“KEC and The Development Corporation are excited to be partnering again this year on ‘What’s the Big Idea,’” KEC Executive Director Jim Biggs said. “It’s always a great weekend, full of innovative entrepreneurs, talented mentors and lots of caffeine. We are particularly excited to welcome Harper Auto Square as our presenting sponsor this year. As the preeminent family of auto dealerships here, Harper Auto is one of our region’s great entrepreneurial success stories, and we’re thrilled for their support of our next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The competition will bring together bright minds to participate in an intensive period of prototyping, community building, planning, incubation, and launching. The winning idea will be advanced to KEC’s CO.STARTERS program and will be eligible for up to $10,000 in business-launch reimbursement costs after completing the program.
The event is open to entrepreneurs from Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Grainger, Knox Loudon, Roane, Sevier, and Union Counties.
Deadline to apply is March 11. Click here for more details and the application. An announcement of those selected to participate will be made March 30, and the pitch finale is set for April 15.
KEC advises that the ideal candidates for the weekend event are a concept or a new enterprise in the seed capital, start-up, or pre-revenue stages. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. KEC has also included on the application website a list of criteria that would disqualify an applicant.
The winner of last year’s “What’s the Big Idea” was BreatheEasyTM, an app developed by Laura Odom to help asthma patients better manage their disease. In 2016, Farm Spotter won the event, while Sing and Spell captured first place in 2015.