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March 14, 2012 | Tom Ballard

CIRE student wins latest Vol Court “Pitch Competition”

Charles Chin, an Energy Science and Engineering Fellow in the new Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE), won the latest University of Tennessee Vol Court “Pitch Competition.”

The Oak Ridger, who is part of the inaugural CIRE class, competed against eight other teams on Tuesday for the top prize of $1000, free space in the UT Business Incubator and legal advice from the Terry Adams Law Firm. Chin’s “pitch” focused on elevating awareness about energy issues among K-12 students through a novel energy video game.

The second place winner was Anthony Smith, II, a junior in public relations, who pitched his start-up called InHouse Brand Development that provides a low cost marketing package for small companies. Smith won a $500 cash prize. Honorable mention went to Sarah Hurst, a doctoral student in comparative and experimental medicine, who presented a Type 2 diabetes mechanism being developed by SEH Health Solutions.

The March 13 “Pitch Competition” completed a seven-part series held on Tuesdays that included topics such as evaluating business opportunities, developing a business model, budgeting and funding a new business, and setting-up the business structure. Tom Graves and Joy Fisher of UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation organized and coordinated Vol Court.

The competition is sponsored by the UT Federal Credit Union (UTFCU), the UT Research Foundation (UTRF) and Terry Adams Law Firm.

Judges for the latest “Pitch Competition” were David Headrick of the Adams firm; Jonathan Patrick, UTFCU; Dave Washburn, UTRF; Jill Van Beke, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; and Tom Ballard, Pershing Yoakley & Associates.


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