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Six UTK student startups win funding from Graves Business Plan Competition

If there’s one thing University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) students seem to be really good at, it’s coming up with business ideas.

That proved true Friday when six student startups were announced winners and awarded cash prizes in the Fall 2022 Graves Business Plan Competition hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The competition is designed to give UT Knoxville undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs a hands-on experience in a multi-round competition ending with a 10-minute in-person pitch for investment.

“The Anderson Center is proud to host the Graves Business Plan Competition, which gives students the real-world experience of pitching their startup,” said Lynn Youngs, executive director of the Anderson Center. “We were very impressed by this semester’s wide range of students represented by different academic colleges and the variety of startups they’re pursuing.”

Fall 2022 Graves Business Plan Competition Winners. Credit: UTK.

The competition has two categories, Growth and Lifestyle, each with three levels of prizes. The Growth category is for startups seeking high investment with large scalability. The Lifestyle category is for startups targeted to support local or smaller-scale opportunities.

Growth category winners include:

  • First Place, $5,000, Out of the Box Appliances by Alexandria Carter. She created this revolutionary line of kitchen appliances after realizing the need to innovate the kitchen industry.
  • Second Place, $3,000, ZNA KICKS by Zain Zitawi. ZNA KICKS is a sneaker reselling platform, which Zain has already turned into a successful business serving hundreds of happy customers.
  • Third Place, $2,000, Fresh Now by Taylor Gingrich. Fresh Now, which also won first place at Vol Court this fall, is an app that allows users to easily scan in their grocery items to get daily reminders about expiration dates.

Lifestyle category winners include:

  • First Place, $5,000, Taste Music by Colin Hudgins. Taste Music is a personalized music recommendation service for listeners who have trouble discovering new music through conventional methods.
  • Second Place, $3,000, Dualie by Ian Parten. Dualie will provide software integrations that optimize processes within scholastic, professional, and collegiate organizations.
  • Third Place, $2,000, Chi Rho Media Group by Matthew Connor. Chi Rho Media Group is a Christian podcast production company.

The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, housed within the university’s Haslam College of Business, is devoted to providing students the opportunity to learn experientially through competitions and gain important feedback from our esteemed judges.

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