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January 11, 2024 | Tom Ballard

It’s “What’s the Big Idea?” time in Knoxville

Applications now open through February 2. Public voting will run February 12-18. The pitch competition is March 3.

If it’s January, it must be time for entrepreneurs with a bold idea to apply for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center‘s (KEC) “What’s the Big Idea?” pitch competition.

Between now and February 2, those who think they have the “next greatest thing,” be it an app, technology, or something else, can apply at this link. Once the deadline passes, the KEC team will select a number of companies to submit a two-minute pitch. Then, starting February 12, the public will be able to vote on their favorite companies and ideas! The number of public votes a company receives will have an impact on the final teams selected for the official competition that will be held March 3.

Who should apply?

  • Applicants with a concept or a new enterprise in the seed capital, start-up, or pre-revenue stage;
  • Applicants who are at least 18 years of age; and
  • Applicants with a concept that could lead to potential growth and job creation in the Knoxville area which includes Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier, and Union Counties.

Who should not apply?

  • Companies that are acquisitions or buy-outs;
  • Companies that are expansions of existing companies;
  • Companies that are considered a franchise;
  • Companies that have a licensing agreement for distribution of products and services by others;
  • Enterprises that have raised equity capital from sources other than direct members of the venture, their friends, or their families;
  • Companies that have already won similar competitions; and
  • Companies that do not intend to grow in the Knoxville area.

Ideas will be judged on potential for growth and job creation.


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