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February 26, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Many opportunities for entrepreneurs in next 10 days in the Knoxville area

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

It’s going to be a busy time in the greater Knoxville region beginning later this week in terms of entrepreneurial opportunities, and it’s not even the annual “Innov865 Week”!

The events start Thursday with the pitch competition for the inaugural Maryville College “Scots Innovation Challenge.” As noted in this recent article, the finale follows four weekly educational sessions for participants. Thursday’s pitch event begins at 6 p.m. at the Clayton Center for Performing Arts on the College campus. The first-prize winner will be awarded $1,500 with second place receiving $1,000 and third place receiving $500.

The five entrepreneurs pitching are:

  • Caleb Underdown on The Other Way;
  • Bethany Anderson with Stile + Co;
  • Bo Fisher on Trading Post;
  • SofiaTomov with Quardian Labs; and
  • Alec Dumke with Trucker Hib.

Next up are two weekend events in downtown Knoxville.

  • The annual “What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch” kicks-off Friday at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center on Market Square and continues throughout the weekend with the pitch competition scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Sunday at Scruff City Hall on Market Square. The competition has been run in several formats for years as an activity of The Development Corporation of Knox County. For the second year in a row, the presenting sponsor is Harper Auto Square. To register for the Sunday pitch event, click here.
  • Starting Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at Pyxl’s offices at 625 South Gay Street is the first-ever “Knoxville City Hackathon.” As described in this biz article, the two-day event is being organized by KnoxDevs to spotlight the region’s vibrant software development sector. The City of Knoxville is an active participant, and many of the developers are expected to focus on opportunities associated with the city’s open data initiative. The top coders will showcase their ideas in a competition that begins at 3 p.m. at Scruffy City Hall.

After one night of rest, those interested in growing Knoxville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will again gather at 5 p.m. March 5 at Relix Theater, 1208 North Central Street in North Knoxville for the inaugural “Innov865 Alliance Mayoral Forum.” Six individuals have formally announced as candidates to succeed term-limited Mayor Madeline Rogero, and each of them has confirmed attendance at the forum. WATE-TV Anchor Kristen Farley will be lead moderator with a panel of local entrepreneurs. Registration is limited; here’s the link.

The next night (March 6) is the finale for the twice-a-year “Vol Court Speaker Series and Pitch Competition” organized by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) in the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.  Like the “Scots Innovation Challenge,” the initiative involves both educational sessions – five in the case of “Vol Court” – plus the pitch competition for prizes. It begins at 5:15 p.m. in Room 104 of the Haslam Business Building on campus.

If you are an entrepreneur and still hungry for more, Three Roots Capital and the UT Research Foundation are hosting the third session in the latest four-part “Rise and Grind” series on March 7. The topic is “Equity-Based Capital,” and the program runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the ACEI Accelerator in the Foundation’s Business Incubator behind the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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