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February 02, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Start-ups, apply now for the 2023 Ballard Innovation Award

If your start-up is based in East Tennessee, you don't want to miss out on this $50,000 grand prize.

Want $50,000 for your start-up? Then apply now for the 2023 Ballard Innovation Award.

The annual award from PYA, established in 2021, allows emerging companies to compete for a $50,000 investment of capital and in-kind services to support their innovative ideas. The award is the largest combination of cash and in-kind services available to start-ups in Eastern Tennessee’s 33 counties.

“PYA is proud to be based in East Tennessee, and we are committed to highlight and help regional start-ups with supportive strategies that further their entrepreneurial efforts,” said Marty Brown, President and CEO of PYA. “The Ballard Innovation Award allows us to connect with innovators on both professional and personal levels to help them grow and thrive in our community.”

PYA’s commitment to the region’s entrepreneurs is evident through its work with high-potential and innovative businesses like those in the Innovation Crossroads program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee Research Park.

Interested entrepreneurs should visit this link for application details. Applicants are encouraged to submit links to videos, articles, multimedia presentations, or other supporting documentation.

New this year, the top finalists for the Ballard Innovation Award will have the opportunity to pitch their companies to a panel of regional business leaders who will then select the top three prize winners.

The application deadline is February 24, 2023. Winners will be announced following the pitch competition on March 21, 2023, in Knoxville.

Past winners of the award include PrepWizard, a family-run company that uses technology to automate the food labeling process in commercial kitchens, and 490 BioTech, which develops bioluminescent technologies that enable new drugs to move more quickly through the pharmaceutical testing process.

The award is named in honor of PYA’s Chief Alliance Officer, Tom Ballard, who has spent decades creating relationships and supporting the East Tennessee region’s entrepreneurial community. He is also the editor of

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