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September 10, 2012 | Tom Ballard

ThrottleUp 2012! launch takes place September 20 at Venture Exchange Forum

If you’re an entrepreneur interested in participating in this year’s ThrottleUp 2012! competition, you need to apply immediately to make a “three-minute elevator pitch” at the Venture Exchange Forum on Thursday, September 20.

You can do so by submitting a two-page executive summary via email to Shawn Carson at If you’re not part of the competition on September 20, you will not be eligible to participate in ThrottleUp 2012! that is a centerpiece of Tech 20/20’s “Entrepreneurial Imperative” (ei2012!) conference.

The September 20 event starts at 5 p.m. at Cherokee Mills, 2220 Sutherland Avenue, Knoxville, and is hosted by Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C. After a reception, the presentations will begin.

John Morris, Tech 20/20’s Chief Executive Officer, said the Venture Exchange Forum launches a series of workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions to prepare entrepreneurs for the ThrottleUp 2012! competition. The entire effort is a component of the East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition (ETRAC) of which Tech 20/20 is a key partner.

Morris said that 10 entrepreneurs will be selected to make the three-minute pitches on September 20. Because of the short duration, the pitches will not involve formal Power Point presentations. Instead, those selected to present will make a verbal presentation covering market size, demonstrated skill sets and commitment of the initial management team, and the value proposition for proposed investors. They can also incorporate hand-held examples or prototypes if available.

After all of the presentations are completed, non-presenters in attendance will vote, and the top five vote getters will attend the ThrottleUp! Seminar Series, a cohort-based program that helps entrepreneurs zero-in on their business model and develop a fundable story. This workshop starts on October 4, leading-up to the final pitch competition on November 13 at ei2012!. The six seminar sessions will focus on:

  • Understanding how customers value your product
  • Effectively quantifying your market segment
  • Building a fundable business model
  • Entrepreneurial strategic planning and the company playbook
  • The Mind of the investor
  • Make the funding pitch

Morris said the teaching topics will be applied through assignments that result in building the business model and crafting the company pitch.  Each company will also be paired with an experienced mentor, who is part of the ETRAC program and will help guide entrepreneurs through the process and prepare them to pitch in the competition.

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