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November 23, 2014 | Tom Ballard

Knoxville’s “What’s the Big Idea” format changes for 2015

Big Idea 2015There’s a new format for Knoxville’s sixth annual “What’s the Big Idea” business plan competition.

The event, launched in 2009 as the “Fairview Business Plan Competition” and renamed in 2012, will take on the format of the very popular 48-hour launch for 2015.

“Change is the only constant, especially when you are around entrepreneurs who are always looking for ways to do things bigger and better,” said Todd Napier, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Development Corporation of Knox County. His group co-sponsors the event with the Knoxville Chamber and, starting this year, with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC).

In a new release and an earlier conversation with us, Napier noted the changes that have occurred in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“There were very few entrepreneur-focused competitions,” he said of the landscape in 2009. “Now there are several similar opportunities, so we wanted to differentiate ‘What’s the Big Idea’ and keep it relevant.”

The event will occur January 23, 24 and 25 at the KEC, and feature six participants selected through a formal application process. Anyone with a business concept or new enterprise in the seed-capital, start-up, or early-growth/pre-profit stage can apply to compete. Applications are now being accepted online at or by visiting the events calendar on The deadline to apply is January 7.

To learn more, read the sponsors’ news release (Big Idea Release).

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