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Teknovation News and Notes
February 25, 2024 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | “GOVCON” coming to Knoxville in mid-October

Three student entrepreneurs from a local magnet school win Middle Tennessee State University's "2024 High School Entrepreneurship Fair."

From Knoxville:

  • If memory holds true, the 2024 “GOVCON” will be the first time the event has been held in Knoxville. The event that has been traditionally held in Nashville for as long as I can remember – and that goes back to the mid-1970s. It was held in Gatlinburg a few years ago after the massive mountain fire and in Chattanooga in 2023. Hosted by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the event is set for October 17 and 18. There’s a teaser video available here.
  • The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Haslam College of Business, is now accepting applications from University of Tennessee, Knoxville students enrolled in undergraduate and master’s degree programs for the opportunity to win start-up capital for an original business idea. It’s the spring edition of the Graves Business Plan Competition where prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place in two business categories: growth and lifestyle. Students can apply as an individual or as a team. Deadline to do so is 11:59 p.m. EST March 3 at this link.

From Murfreesboro:

Competing against dozens of other fellow Midstate high school students showcasing their best business start-up ideas, three sophomores from Murfreesboro’s Central Magnet School tapped into the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to capture first place at Middle Tennessee State University’s “2024 High School Entrepreneurship Fair.”

Aditya DwivediAnirudh Kodukula, and Karunya Vudattula presented their business called Fresh Check, an AI-powered concept that uses algorithms to reduce global food waste. The event was hosted by the Department of Management and the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business.

The first round of competition featured five sets of 12 teams competing in elevator pitches and judge interaction. The best group in each set of 12 was announced as a finalist during lunch. Those five finalists returned to the ballroom to present again in the final round of competition.

Click here to learn more about the competitors.

From Johnson City:

FoundersForge is accepting applications for its 10-week “Start-up Bootcamp” which, as the name implies, is designed to help anyone kickstart and grow their start-up. Participants will attend in-person meetings with the Bootcamp cohort every Tuesday, and check-ins with their mentor every Thursday. Outside of weekly meetings, participants will be expected to complete coursework, attend check-ins, and reach milestones in their startup journey.

The program begins April 2, and the application deadline is March 19. More information is available here.

From Kingsport:

The Sync Space Entrepreneur Center has issued a mid-year report card summarizing its accomplishments. You can find it here.

From Nashville but with Statewide Implications:

The TennSMART Consortium is planning a virtual event at 11 a.m. EST March 5 to discuss how Tennessee is laying the infrastructure for the state’s electric vehicle (EV) future. Attendees will hear from state officials, researchers, and industry leaders about EV fast-charging stations and what’s next for this transformational shift in transportation.

Topics and speakers include:

  • What’s next for the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (TEVI) Deployment Plan following the latest awards with Alexa Voytek, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, and Andrea Noel, Tennessee Department of Transportation;
  • Pilot Company’s experience rolling out their charging network and best practices for implementation from Scott Hundley, Pilot Travel Centers; and
  • Research on grid capacity for both passenger vehicles and medium- and heavy-duty freight from Ryan Stanton of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

To register, click here.

From Nashville:

UnityAI, a healthcare technology start-up, reported raising $4 million in seed funding to date. The round was led by Max Ventures with participation from Whistler Capital Partners, Nashville Capital Network,  and Company Ventures, as well as a small number of Nashville-based healthcare angels. The company intends to use the funds to expand operations and its business reach.



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