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August 05, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Knoxville’s fourth annual “Maker City Summit” is just about a month away

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Details have been released on Knoxville’s fourth annual “Maker City Summit” which is set for September 8 at the Mill & Mine, 227 West Depot Avenue.

Described on the website as “a day full of inspiration, practical know-how, and dialogue about growing a successful business doing what you love,” the event includes two keynote speakers, four panels, and more than 20 experts. Check-in and onsite registration open at 9:30 a.m., and the program runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A “Maker Meetup” starts at 4:15 p.m., and the Summit concludes with the “After Party” that begins at 6 p.m. at Pilot Light, 106 East Jackson Avenue. To register, click here.

“The emphasis this year, as in years past, is on how makers can become better at the business of making . . . how can we help them make a living doing something they love,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) which coordinates the Summit. “Early-bird tickets sold out in five hours, and we hope to have 400 or more attendees total.”

There will be some adjustments in how the program runs due to some modifications in the venue. The most noticeable will be using a roundtable format for many of the popular “Ask the Experts” sessions that were previously done 1one-on-one. Those conversations will be held outside under a tent in the Mill & Mine courtyard.

The two keynote speakers are:

Grant speaks at 10:45 a.m. immediately following introductory remarks from Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Biggs, and Summit Co-Chairs Alaina Smith of Cold Gold and Tanika Harper of Harper’s Naturals. Clark is the final presenter in a session that starts at 3:15 p.m.

Four panels and two “Ask the Expert” sessions are scheduled between the two keynote presentations and lunch. Panel topics and participants are:

  • “Thriving > Surviving: Making the Maker Community a Welcoming Place” – Moderated by local entrepreneur Haseeb Qureshi of Morehous Legal, the panelists are Enkeshi El-Amin, an educator and seamstress; Kenneth Herring, entertainer and technologist; Zach Plaster, social media and event planner; and Kukuly Uriarte, a musician and activist.
  • “Value Yourself, Value Your Work: An Approach to Pricing that Fosters Trust” – Moderated by Jody Collins of Feral Giant, panelists are Lucy Simpson, Internship Coordinator with the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management program; John Phillips of Phillips Forged; and Charlene Izere of Melanin and Money.
  • “Imposter Syndrome: Own Your Skill and Find Your Place at the Table” – Moderated by Harper, it features Daje Morris, a songwriter and poet who is also Creative Director of Founding Space, a boutique marketing studio; Chyna Brackeen of Attack Monkey Productions; and Joshua Peterson of River and Rail Theatre.
  • “Wholesale: Linesheets, Online Platforms, and Cold Calls, Oh My!” – Moderated by David Harman of Native Maps, the panelists are Mary Kate Thurman of Smarty Pants Paper Company; Marcus Hall of Marc Nelson Denim; Natalea Riley of Mast General Store; and Allie Biddle of

There’s also an afternoon workshop titled “Getting Customers Online: The Art & Science of Sales Funnels.” It will be led by Ron and Kate McKnight of Funnel Rehabbers.

You can find the full agenda here.

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