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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
May 09, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Fluffy Friends, Cogni take top prizes in Spring edition of UTK’s “Graves Business Plan Competition”

Six student start-up businesses at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have been awarded cash prizes in the Spring 2021 edition of the “Graves Business Plan Competition.” Hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haslam College of Business, the business plan and pitch contest took place virtually.

Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions and Cogni received first place prizes of $5,000 each in the “Lifestyle” and “Growth” business categories respectively. In the “Lifestyle” grouping, second place and $3,000 went to Brotallion, winner of the Spring edition of the “Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition” (see article here) with SDU Auto Detailing placing third and receiving $2,000. In the “Growt”h category, “to you, for you” received $3,000 for second place, and Quarters took third place and received $2,000.

  • Founded by Allison Campbell, a senior majoring in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, Fluffy Friends has a goal of providing each child with an incurable diagnosis a uniquely designed teddy bear that will have a secret pocket holding a symbol representing the child’s diagnosis. “One out of four children suffering from a chronic illness will develop some form of PTSD, and they often face the repercussions of ignorance and stigma associated with their condition,” Campbell said. “I formed this business to bridge the gap of support that exists once chronically ill patients return home from inpatient care at the hospital. I envision a world in which all patients feel safe and secure.”
  • Cogni is a learning platform where students review a set of instructor-created flashcards that are arranged according to each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Abhishek Ravi and Kishan Tailor, senior computer science majors, co-founded the platform. “We decided to create Cogni after we realized that education could be more personalized,” Ravi said. “After reaching out to countless educators, they all wanted to tailor their material for each student but did not have the time or means to do so. With Cogni, we hope to change that.”

Click here to learn more about the winners.


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