By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
It’s the beginning of another academic year, so launch date for the “Fall Vol Court Speaker Series” can’t be too far away.
In fact, it is Tuesday, September 15, with the first one-hour session beginning at 5:15 p.m. in Room 104 of the Haslam College of Business Building at the University of Tennessee (UT). At that time, participants will be introduced to the business model canvas, a concept and one-page sheet that will drive their activities over the ensuing weeks.
“Vol Court” is a twice-a-year offering from UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI). It is open to faculty, staff, students and interested citizens. Last year’s winners were Rentique (Spring Semester) and Grow Bioplastics (Fall Semester).
Tom Graves, Operations Director for the Center, coordinates the six-week event that will meet every Tuesday from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. until the finale on October 20. At that time, participants who have well-formulated ideas will present at the pitch competition for a chance to win $1,000, office space in the UT Research Foundation’s (UTRF) Business Incubator, and professional services.
“I’ve modified two presentations for this semester,” Graves told us. The changes involve bringing back Joy Fisher, a well-known local entrepreneur and former ACEI staff member, and having the participants hear from Brandi King of Rentique, the most recent “Vol Court” winner.
“Joy will talk about her experiences with the Clodico project, how the business model canvas directed her thinking, and how she worked with investors and licensors of the technology,” Graves said. Fisher will be the presenter on September 22.
“The other change this round will be on October 6 when Brandi and Ryann Aoukar, Professor in the Design School, discuss their unconventional funding sources,” Graves said. These include crowdfunding, local competitions and micro lending.