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June 23, 2013 | Tom Ballard

KEC’s inaugural “business boot camp” launches today

Knoxville Entrrepreneur CenterThe new Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) launches its first “business boot camp” tonight at its Market Square facility.

The two days-a-week, eight-week activity culminates tentatively August 16 with a unique event, part celebration and part introduction of the entrepreneurs and their companies to the community. It will be held at the Standard on Jackson Avenue.

Between tonight and mid-August, KEC Executive Director Mike Carroll says the two dozen or so participants will be exposed to a combination of “Business 101 training” and opportunities to apply what they’ve learned in real-life scenarios.

“We are taking a 12-week program and collapsing it into only eight weeks,” he explained. There are two sessions planned each week – a more traditional class activity on Monday nights followed by the Thursday night session where each participant will apply what they learned on Monday in interactions with their fellow boot camp members.

Carroll expects the evening sessions to run about two and one-half hours each. They will start at 5:30 p.m.

“The Monday night sessions are more academic and will move very fast,” he explained. Shawn Carson of Tech 20/20 will be the instructor. Thursday night will be what he termed a “social application” of what Carson covered the previous Monday.

Carroll will lead the Thursday events, where he said the boot camp members “will behave as a sounding board for each other’s company. We will stay focused on a few topics and how they apply to each entrepreneur’s business in real world situations.”

“We have an overwhelming number of participants in media distribution and software,” he said. This matches Carroll’s thoughts several months ago about a logical launch point for KEC activities.  “However, there are several businesses that don’t fit into either industry.”

He described the August celebration event as the venue where “we’ll present our entrepreneurs to the community. It will be a celebration party, not a pitch competition, but an opportunity for the community to embrace these entrepreneurs and their companies.”

There will be a guest speaker with a message, the presentation of the entrepreneurs’ businesses, and a fun party with great entertainment.

The KEC was launched earlier this year. To review our original article, go to

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