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August 17, 2020 | Tom Ballard

UTK’s “Vol Court” program begins on September 2 in virtual environment

Students have returned to campus, class are ready to start, and maybe football will not be far behind. Also on the agenda is the start of the twice-a-year “Vol Court Speaker Series and Pitch Competition” hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK).

We recently caught-up with Shawn Carson, Lecturer in UTK’s Haslam College of Business and the coordinator of the five-session series that starts September 2 and ends September 30. There is a familiar feel to the program with a couple of exceptions.

“The workshops will be delivered via Zoom and will be open to anyone,” Carson says. “We are still planning to have a live, in-person pitch competition, but on-campus attendance will be limited to about 32 people, so we will be broadcasting the competition on Zoom as well.  Of course, that is subject to change depending on current conditions.”

Each session begins at 5:15 p.m. EDT and runs for an hour. The link to them is here, and pre-registration is not required. Topics and presenters by date are:

  • September 2 – “Opportunities in a Time of Crisis” featuring Bailey Foster, Founder of Real Good Kitchen. We have spotlighted the challenges she has faced in her three-year journey to launch a commercial production kitchen and storage space for established businesses such as caterers and food truck operators, an event venue, and a culinary business incubator in a number of articles on biz.
  • September 9 – “Growing Your Start-up: What Happens When Chaos Ensues” with Tommy Nguyen, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of StoragePug, another local start-up spotlighted on biz.
  • September 16 – “Club Rules: Company Culture in a Start-up” featuring Chris McAdoo, Founder of Best Behavior Creative Club that was acquired in 2018 by Designsensory where he served as Creative Director until recently.
  • September 23 – “Making the Pitch: 9 in 90” where Carson will coach those who plan to pitch in the finale on the finer points of competing under the popular Pecha Kucha story telling format. Participants will have nine slides and 90 seconds to tell their story, and the slides will automatically change every 10 seconds
  • September 30 – The pitch competition.

“We are extremely pleased and proud to announce that ‘Vol Court’ now has a presenting sponsor thanks to the generous support of the Scott and Di Roe Foundation,” Carson added.

Supporters of the twice-a-year program include the UT Research Foundation; PYA, the power behind; Morehous Legal Group; 3 Roots Capital; and Innovative Design Inc.


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