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March 29, 2023 | Tom Ballard

UT Chattanooga finalist in worldwide business competition

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is one of five finalists for the "Triple E Awards: Entrepreneurship and Engagement Excellence in Higher Education." Winners will be announced in June.

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) is one of five finalists in a worldwide business competition.

Sponsored by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities in Germany, the “Triple E Awards: Entrepreneurship and Engagement Excellence in Higher Education” have chosen the CIE, part of the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, as a finalist in the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team of the Year” category.

Most of the awards are divided into four regions – Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Africa – but CIE is in a category that encompasses the entire globe.

“It means a lot of attention. We had competitors from all over the world,” said Thomas Lyons, Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business.

“Triple E Awards” recognize business departments, labs, and centers at colleges and universities worldwide for excellence in promoting exceptional entrepreneurship and innovation programs. First-, second-, and third-place awards will be presented in Barcelona, Spain, during ceremonies taking place June 26-29.

“This international recognition validates the innovative approach of our center’s activities focused on building entrepreneurial skill sets among our students,” said College of Business Dean Robert Dooley. “I am immensely proud of our entrepreneurship program and faculty and the work they are doing.”

In its initial proposal to the “Triple E Awards,” CIE noted its connection with students and faculty across departments at UTC, Lyons said, adding that any student in any major can take entrepreneurship as a minor “to give them some background in how to run their own business. So that’s one way that we reach out.”

The CIE Hatch It Lab, which has a variety of equipment, including a heat press, 3D printer, computer-controlled sewing machines, and a laser cutter, has been used by students in such widely varied courses as botany, criminal justice, and interior architecture and design.

CIE also works with the Chattanooga business community, including collaborations with such organizations as the Urban Vision Initiative, CO.LAB, and the Chattanooga Smart Community Initiative.

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