COMMENTARY: Support “Start-up Day” on November 19

Start-up DayBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

There’s a great program that has been planned with three dynamic fireside chats, a pitch event featuring seven individuals competing for a $5,000 cash prize, and three companies vying for the community’s first-ever “Traction Award.”

What are we talking about?

I hope you already know the answer. It’s Knoxville’s third annual “Start-up Day,” and the event promises to be the biggest and best yet. All that needs to happen is for you and your friends to pack the Bijou Theater on Thursday afternoon, November 19.

A Steering Committee composed of individuals representing champions of entrepreneurship in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region has been meeting since spring to plan the event. Representatives come from the region’s:

  • Key generators of intellectual property – Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, specifically the UT Research Foundation;
  • Entrepreneurially-focused support organizations – Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Tech 2020, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Launch Tennessee; and
  • Private sector – Pershing Yoakley & Associates, the power behind

The Steering Committee established three key goals for the 2015 event:

  • Celebrate entrepreneurship – past, present and still to come;
  • Showcase the region as a destination for start-ups and entrepreneurs; and
  • Address our greatest local challenge which is access to capital.

The program is all about celebration. The “Traction Award” was created to recognize significant progress achieved by companies that pitched at past “Start-up Days.” The addition of a cash prize for this year’s pitch competition elevates the event to a new level. And, there’s been an aggressive effort to attract more investors from outside the area to see the exciting start-ups our region is spawning.

By moving this year’s event to the Bijou, “Start-up Day” can accommodate many more attendees than was possible previously.

So, the table has been set, and now it’s up to you and others from the region to do your part. It starts by registering for the event (here’s the link) and showing-up when the doors open at 2 p.m. November 19. We are asking that you commit a few hours to an event that is about the long-term growth and development of the place we call home.

If you want more details about the program, click here.

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