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February 05, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Spring Vol Court series launches; “pitch” set for March 12

About 45 people, ranging from college age to north of 45, turned-out on Tuesday for the inaugural session of the spring edition of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s (UTK) Vol Court.

Over the next five Tuesdays, students, faculty and interested community entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to gain useful insights on starting a new business. The series is hosted by UTK’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) and sponsored by the UT Federal Credit Union, UT Research Foundation (UTRF), Morehous Legal Group, and Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C. (PYA), underwriter of

“We would like to see each of you start a business,” ACEI Director of Operations Tom Graves said in his introductory comments to start the seventh Vol Court multi-session series.

For the next hour or so, Shawn Carson of Tech 20/20’s Center for Entrepreneurial Growth presented the “Lean Launch Pad” model that will be used during the next four sessions and help guide those who plan to “pitch” their plans in mid-March.

“I can’t give you a roadmap, but I can give you a compass,” he said. “You’ll have to find your own way.” Carson proceeded to review the elements of the “Business Model Canvas,” interspersing it with real life examples and anecdotes.

The weekly one-hour sessions end March 12 when the entrepreneurs will combine everything they have learned into “pitches” that they will make to a panel of judges. The winner will receive $1,000 in cash, one year of space at the UTRF business incubator, legal services from Morehous, and business consulting from PYA.

All sessions will be held in Room 102 of the Haslam Business Building. Topics by date leading up to the March 12 “pitch” are:

  • February 12 – Marketing to Your Customers;
  • February 19 – Determining the Legal Structure for Your Business;
  • February 26 – Pitching the Concept; and
  • March 5 – P&L 101.

More information about Vol Court can be obtained by contacting Joy Fisher at 865/974-0520 or emailing her at


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