UT Vol Court Pitch Competition Kicks Off Oct. 12

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Bring an idea and start a business with the help of Vol Court, a semiannual pitch competition and speaker series hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Vol Court kicks off Oct. 12 with a six-week entrepreneurial speaker series. The series culminates Nov. 16 in a pitch competition where attendees put what they’ve learned into practice. Local entrepreneurs and UT faculty will cover topics including legal structure for businesses and unconventional funding sources.

Now in its eighth year, Vol Court invites UT students, faculty, staff and members of the local community to pitch their business ideas. Winners receive up to $1,500 in prize money, space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, and legal and accounting services.

Shawn Carson, Vol Court director, will share his expertise from 15 years in entrepreneurship.

“Having been involved with Vol Court as a contributor over the years, I am excited about helping run the program,” said Carson. “It is a great opportunity for students across campus to get their first exposure to the world of entrepreneurship. The fact that there’s a cash prize doesn’t hurt, either.”

Vol Court has grown in recent years to include more speakers, sponsors, participants and prizes. All pitch competition participants are eligible for cash prizes awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners.

Vol Court meets every Wednesday beginning Oct. 12 from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in Room G4 of Stokely Management Center, 916 Volunteer Blvd. The speaker series and pitch competition are open to the public. There is no charge to participate in the event, and anyone interested in starting a company is encouraged to attend.

Anyone who participates in the Nov. 16 pitch competition must have attended four of the following five series meetings.

Oct. 12: Business Model Canvas

Oct. 19: Legal Structure for Your Business

Oct. 26: An Entrepreneur’s Journey

Nov. 2: Unconventional Funding Sources

Nov. 9: Pitching the Concept

Nov. 16: Pitch Competition

Vol Court is made possible by donated funds and services from sponsors, which include Cirrus Insight, PYA, Morehous Legal Group, Hard Knox Pizzeria, the IT Company, Funding Sage, 3 Roots Capital and the UT Research Foundation.

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Boyd Venture Challenge Accepting Applications Through March 4

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The application period is now open for the Boyd Venture Challenge, a seed fund grant that awards up to $20,000 to student-owned startup companies each fall and spring semester.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is open to any early-stage company owned by a UT student. To be eligible, companies must be legally established and the student owner(s) must be enrolled in a UT undergraduate or graduate degree program in Knoxville at the time of application. Applications must be received by the Anderson Center no later than midnight, Fri., Mar. 4, 2016. Teams that advance to the presentation round will pitch to a panel of local business professionals on Fri., Mar. 25. For full application instructions and eligibility details, click here.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is made possible by the generosity of Randy Boyd, Founder and Executive Chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDog brands. To date, this endowed fund has awarded $207,000 to 26 student-owned startups.

Five Teams To Compete In Oct. 28 Vol Court Pitch Competition

Five student teams will present their best business ideas as they vie for the $1,000 prize tomorrow night in the Fall 2014 Vol Court Pitch Competition. The competition will be held at 5:15 p.m. in Stokely Management Center, Room G2. In addition to the cash prize, the winning team will also receive one year free rent in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator as well as various professional services.

Teams will be pitching the following business ideas:

  • Ski Skins, user designed graphics for application to snow skis and snowboards.
  • Barboards, low cost, high impact solutions that maximize brand exposure on exclusive beverage coasters at bars and restaurants.
  • Grow Bioplastics, innovative, homegrown, high-performance plastic and rubber materials based on lignin, a non-food, renewable waste stream from the biofuel and paper industry.
  • Catalyst Cycling, reengineered, high performance bicycle parts.
  • Cubular, modular furniture.

This event is open to the public and anyone interested in local startups is encouraged to attend.

Vol Court is hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and sponsored by UT Federal Credit UnionUT Research FoundationPershing Yoakley and Associates, Morehous Legal Group, and Launch Tennessee.

Boyd Venture Challenge Accepting Applications Through Oct. 31

The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is now accepting applications for the Boyd Venture Challenge, a seed fund grant that awards up to $20,000 to student-owned startup companies each fall and spring semester.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is open to any early-stage company owned by a UT student. To be eligible, companies must be legally established and the student owner(s) must be enrolled in a UT undergraduate or graduate degree program in Knoxville at the time of application. Applications must be received by the Anderson Center no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. For full application instructions and eligibility details, click here.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is made possible by the generosity of Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDog brands. To date, this endowed fund has awarded $109,500 to 16 student-owned startups.