UT Joins I-Corps South to Expand Entrepreneurial Training

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will receive grant funding to teach technology entrepreneurship, perform research and foster innovation through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

A public-private partnership, I-Corps was created in 2011 to train researchers to evaluate the commercial potential of their scientific discoveries. The program is offered in a “startup boot camp” format.

I-Corps South, which started with the Georgia Institute of Technology, is being expanded to include UT and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. It will receive a collective $3.45 million over five years.

For more information about I-Corps and the expanded I-Corps South Node, see the UT Haslam College of Business, the National Science Foundation and the I-Corps South website.


Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Working Paper & Research Proposal Competition

Who: Full time faculty and doctoral students at the University of Tennessee are eligible. Submissions from doctoral students are judged separately from faculty submissions.

Purpose: The primary goal of this competition is to promote and reward high quality, impactful research in entrepreneurship and innovation that will lead to top tier journal publications. The secondary goal is to foster a community of scholars from across the university who focus at least some of their research attention on the important societal goal of increasing entrepreneurial and innovation success. The final goal is to raise the visibility of UT entrepreneurship and innovation research within academic and practitioner communities.

Scope of Topics: Submissions relating to any topics within entrepreneurship and innovation research are encouraged including research focusing on opportunity recognition, decision-making, new venture creation, founder succession, product design and rapid prototyping, technology transfer and technology commercialization, evaluation of programs designed to improve the success rates of entrepreneurial ventures (e.g., incubators, accelerators, government and NGO funding), venture funding, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Research that focuses on technology entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship in under-represented populations is especially encouraged.   The listed topics are not meant to be exhaustive; research on other related topics is also encouraged. Submissions by teams of faculty and doctoral students across disciplines are encouraged.

Categories and Awards:

  • Doctoral Student Research Proposal: $800 (multiple awards may be awarded)
  • Doctoral Student Working Paper: $1,300 (multiple awards may be awarded)
  • Faculty Research Proposal: $1,000 (multiple awards may be awarded)
  • Faculty Working Paper: $5,000 (one award may be awarded)
  • Special Grants for Research Expenses: These grants may be used to buy datasets, or to collect data: (Up to $5,000 may be awarded to purchase or create datasets that are made available for use by faculty and graduate students. Requests for smaller amounts are encouraged.)
  • In addition to the cash awards, winners will receive opportunities to present their research to the ACEI Research Council for constructive feedback. Some winners may be chosen to present to select entrepreneurs for feedback on the practical relevance of their research.
  • Abstracts of winning proposals and working papers will be highlighted on the ACEI Focus on Research webpage.

Submission Guidelines: 

All submissions should be accompanied by the author(s)’ list of prior publications, conference presentations, prior ACEI awards, and work submitted to conferences and journals in the publication pipeline not to exceed 2 pages per author. Those with extensive publication histories should limit their list of works to the last five years. An individual may submit up to 3 submissions across all categories. Cash awards will be awarded to the first author of any submission to be divided as s/he sees fit within the team.

Research Proposals: Research that has not yet been presented at a conference outside of UT or submitted to a journal or other publication outlet may be submitted. Proposals that were funded in prior years will only be funded again if substantial changes and progress have been made on the research. Research proposals should clearly identify the research question(s), theoretical background and prior research, research model, hypotheses (if appropriate), methodology including sample, data collection and analysis methods, expected contributions to research and practice, and expected timeline to complete the research. A cover page should identify the project title, the researchers, their affiliation, and contact information, target journal(s) for the research, and which category the proposal should be judged within. The cover page should also include a maximum 200 word abstract of the proposed research. Abstracts should be written for a thoughtful practitioner audience (e.g., educated entrepreneurs, policy makers, venture capitalists) and should avoid technical jargon. To compete in the doctoral student category, the first author must be a doctoral student. The body of a research proposal submission should be a maximum 5 pages, single-spaced, 12 pt. font. Up to 5 additional pages may be provided for references, cover page, and exhibits.

Working Papers: Working papers that are not currently under publication review (or accepted for publication) may be submitted including papers that have been presented or accepted for presentation at academic conferences. Working papers resulting from prior proposal grants are encouraged. Working papers should clearly identify the research question(s), theoretical background and prior research, research model, hypotheses (if appropriate), methodology including sample, data collection and analysis methods, contributions to research and practice, and target journal. A cover page should identify the paper title, the researchers, their affiliation, contact information, and which category the working paper should be judged within. The cover page should also include a maximum 200 word abstract. Abstracts should be written for a thoughtful practitioner audience (e.g., educated entrepreneurs, policy makers, venture capitalists) and should avoid technical jargon. To compete in the doctoral student category, the first author must be a doctoral student. Maximum 40 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, inclusive of all appendices, exhibits, tables, cover page, and references.

Special Grants for Research Expenses: A pool of $5,000 will be reserved to provide funding to proposal writers who request concrete research expenses such as to buy a dataset or to collect data. This grant will be paid against actual invoices and will not be a cash payment. If requesting these funds, please include a short description of the funds needed, the nature of the data or other expenses, and a statement about how the expense might benefit other entrepreneurship researchers in the university, for example, that the data will be made available within 6 months to all faculty and doctoral student researchers within UT.

Judging Panel: Academic judges will be drawn from the ACEI Research Council of Faculty who will rate submissions in terms of importance and novelty of the work, theoretical and methodological contributions, and quality and likelihood of publication in top tier journals. The ACEI Executive Director, Lynn Youngs, will rate submissions in terms of practical contributions based on evaluation of abstracts.

Academic judges will be excused from rating proposals submitted by themselves or their doctoral students.

Past Winners: Abstracts of previously funded research may be viewed here.

Submission Deadline: May 23, 2016.

Submit to:

Rhonda Reger

Director of Research, ACEI



The subject line of the email should identify the category of the submission. Please send a separate email for each submission.

Anderson Center Awards $8,800 In Funding To Eleven Entrepreneurship Research Proposals

Research15-SliderThe Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) recently awarded a total of $8,800 to fund 11 research proposals submitted by University of Tennessee faculty and doctoral students.

For the second consecutive year, ACEI accepted applications in four research categories: doctoral student proposals, doctoral student working papers, faculty proposals, and faculty working papers. A total of 18 submissions were received.

“The Anderson Center developed this competition as a means of promoting meaningful research in entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee,” said Lynn Youngs, ACEI Executive Director. “Now in its second year, this competition received twice as many submissions as it did in 2014, so we are excited to see the momentum entrepreneurship research is gaining on campus. Our hope is that the work our students and faculty are doing will help entrepreneurs and policymakers make better decisions about opportunities and how best to pursue them.”

In most instances, the funding awarded through this competition will be used to pay for travel to and from research conferences where winners will present their work.

“Presenting at research conferences is one of the primary means of gathering feedback on research in progress,” said Rhonda Reger, ACEI Director of Research. “Researchers need that feedback in order to refine their research and strengthen their final product.”

Winners of the doctoral student proposal category are:

  • First place, $800 – Erika Williams, “I Need You But I Don’t Want You: An Examination of How Psychological Ownership Influences Entrepreneurs’ Help-Seeking Behavior”;
  • Second place (tie), $500 – David Jiang, “Is There a Socioemotional Paradox in Family Firms? An Experimental Examination of the Theoretical Tensions Between Family Firm Members’ Socioemotional Wealth and Socioemotional Selectivity”;
  • Second place (tie), $500 – Xinran Wang, “Do Shareholders Respond to Information Security Breaches: An Attributional Model”;
  • Third place (tie), $200 – Nastraran Simarasl, “Highly-educated Immigrant Entrepreneurs’ Startup Location Decisions”;
  • Third place (tie) $200 – Xinran Wang, “Silence versus Diffusion: An Evolution from Grievances on Social Media to Policy Entrepreneurship”.

Winners of the doctoral student working paper category are:

  • First place, $1,300 – Daniel White, “Traditional Scientist to Academic Entrepreneur: Why It’s Hard to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”;
  • Second place (tie), $500 – Daniel White, “Life Partner Dynamics and Entrepreneurial Action”;
  • Second place (tie), $500 – Jason Strickling, “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development: Media Influence on Entrepreneurial Orientation”;
  • Third place, $300 – Laura D’Oria, “Building Positive Traditional Media Attention and Social Approval: How New Ventures Might Leverage Social Media”.

Winners of the faculty working papers category are:

  • First place, $3,000 – David Williams, “Path Creating and Path Breaking: The Effects of Initial International Entries on Venture Growth and Performance”;
  • Second place, $1,000 – Jacob LeRivier, “Shareholder Protection and Dividend Policy: An Experimental Analysis”.

In addition to the individual research awards, the judging committee also approved a $3,000 grant to fund the purchase of the RavenPack News Analytics® Database which will be used to support entrepreneurship research across the university.






Deadlines Approaching for SBA Funding for Entrepreneurship Research

The Small Business Administration has several funding opportunities for entrepreneurial research. See below for a list of topics and upcoming deadlines.

Submission Deadline 12:30 pm (CMT) Thursday, May 28:

1. Research on Miscellaneous Small Business Topics Using Large Datasets (SBAHQ-15-Q-0030), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e3d3c0d020a27b113a7fb213c1bc1821&tab=core&_cview=0

2. Research on Miscellaneous Topics: Small Businesses in the Supply Chain (SBAHQ-15-Q-0025), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=f1b1a65619e7cd4e529422568854b85a&tab=core&_cview=0

3. Research on Miscellaneous Small Business Topics on Minority Entrepreneurship(SBAHQ-15-Q-0031), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=a36aca0431755dc05ba66142dc37cad7&tab=core&_cview=0

4. Research on Millennial Entrepreneurship (SBAHQ-15-Q-0029), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=d32222351f6bab7a4f0e39e4479066fa&tab=core&_cview=0


Submission Deadline 12:30 pm (CMT) Tuesday, June 2:

5. Research on the Potential of Microfinance on Small Businesses (SBAHQ-15-Q-0028), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2dfece9a06e15b536a66bc01e1b16b99&tab=core&_cview=0

6. Research on Miscellaneous Small Business Topics on Alternative Financing (SBAHQ-15-Q-0022), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=7464d4fcaa2b784c0b9360621e06e50b&tab=core&_cview=0

7. Research on the Impacts of Technological Innovations in Banking on Small Business Access to Capital (SBAHQ-15-Q-0021), available https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=8a867b75a81e9a350768dd7c6742120d&tab=core&_cview=0

8.  Research on Technology Effects on Small Businesses in International Markets(SBAHQ-15-Q-0036), available https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=0b6ae84325c487dc80588c0e2ba180a5&tab=core&_cview=0

National Women’s Business Council

1. Research on Resources and Programs that Support High Growth Women Entrepreneurs(SBAHQ-15-Q-0039), available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ff3b56d167cf35c45a108999f3768bbb&tab=core&_cview=0

Nastaran Simarasl Awarded $3,200 To Research Behaviors Of Female Entrepreneurs

Nastaran Simarasl, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Organizations and Strategy Ph.D. Program, has been awarded $3,200 from the W.K. McClure Scholarship Fund for the Study of World Affairs to research behaviors of female entrepreneurs.

Under the guidance of her advisor, Tim Munyon, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Management, Simarasl will conduct a survey of female entrepreneurs from two very different entrepreneurial environments to study the impact of human and social capital on the entrepreneurial behaviors of women, taking into account the influence of institutional environment.  One sample group will be from the United States where female entrepreneurship is encouraged, and the other will be from Iran, where female entrepreneurs receive very little support. Simarasl and Munyon hope the research will shed light on the role environment plays in the entrepreneurial endeavors of minorities, specifically women.

Simarsl will gain access to her sample groups by working with entrepreneurship schools in Iran and entrepreneurship organizations in the United States to identify and survey female entrepreneurs. The $3,200 will be used for travel expenses and to fund data collection.

Simarasl will present her findings in the spring of 2016.

Research Council Aims To Further Entrepreneurial Research Conducted At UT

The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) recently formed the ACEI Research Council in an effort to advance the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship and innovation research conducted at the University of Tennessee. The Research Council has four primary objectives:

  1. Advise the research director on policy matters relating to advancing the quality and quantity of UT generated research on entrepreneurship and innovation.
  2. Oversee the Anderson Center’s annual research proposal and paper competitions.
  3. Foster a climate supporting high quality, multidisciplinary research in entrepreneurship and innovation by hosting and participating in brown bag presentations and outside speakers relating to entrepreneurship and innovation.
  4. Host outside speakers on topics of interest to faculty and doctoral students. Each member of the Research Council is given the opportunity to host one speaker annually.

“The Research Council provides a mechanism to get the word out about the evidence-based research being conducted at UT which can help Tennessee entrepreneurial businesses succeed and grow,” said Rhonda Reger, ACEI director of research. “Our research has a positive impact on the Tennessee economy.”

The Research Council is comprised of eight faculty members from across UT’s Knoxville campus.

Members of the council are:

  • Rhonda Reger (Chair), ACEI director of research and professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship, Haslam College of Business
  • Neeraj Bharadwaj, assistant professor of marketing, Haslam College of Business
  • T. Russell Crook, associate professor of management, Haslam College of Business
  • Ramon DeGennaro, professor of banking and finance, Haslam College of Business
  • Brian Krumm, director of the UT Business Clinic and professor, College of Law.
  • Lee Martin, clinical professor, College of Engineering.
  • Charles Noble, Proffitt’s Professor of marketing and director of the UT Marketing Ph.D. Program, Haslam College of Business.
  • David Williams, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management, Haslam College of Business.

Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Announces Research Competition Winners

In an effort to showcase the leading edge entrepreneurship research being conducted within the College of Business at the University of Tennessee, the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) recently held its first research competition. The goal of the competition was to provide additional funding to research aimed at improving the success rate of entrepreneurs and aiding the decision making of those who fund entrepreneurial ventures.

The competition was open to faculty and doctoral students. Entrants competed in four categories, two for doctoral students as lead authors and two for faculty as lead authors.  For each group, one set of awards focused on research proposals while the other set rewarded working papers not quite ready to be submitted to top tier journals.  Doctoral students and faculty members from finance, marketing and supply chain, and management received cash prizes to help them complete their research.  Six individuals were awarded a total of $4,000.  Five of these individuals are doctoral students working with faculty here or elsewhere.

“We were delighted to fund 70% of the submitted proposals and glad to see the engagement across three departments in entrepreneurship research,” said Rhonda Reger, Director of Research for ACEI.  Fourteen unique individuals are represented in the winning entries, suggesting a high level of interest among scholars at UT in helping entrepreneurs become more successful.  “We will hold the competition again in the spring, and we hope for even wider engagement across the college, because the factors that lead to success in entrepreneurship are complex and require study from multiple disciplines,” Reger said.

The Outstanding Entrepreneurship or Innovation Research Doctoral Student Proposal carries an award of $500.  The winners are Nawar Chaker (Marketing) and Ernie Cadotte (Marketing) for Split Seconds: Examining Thin Slicing in Business Plan PresentationsMatthew B. Shaner, (Marketing), with his dissertation committee (Charlie Noble, Neeraj Bharadwaj, and Stephanie Noble, all from Marketing, and Rhonda Reger, from Management) for Managing the Cocreation of Innovation: The Influence of Team Regulatory Style and Reflexivity on Customer Idea Selection and Innovation OutcomesNastaran Simarasl (Organizations & Strategy) and Anne Smith (Management) for Female Entrepreneurs’ Social Capital: Distressed vs. Prolific Environments and Jason A. Strickling (Organizations & Strategy) and Rhonda K. Reger (Management) for Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development:  A Media Effects Perspective.

The Best Doctoral Student Working Paper In Entrepreneurship or Innovation carries a $1,000 award for the first author.  This year’s winner is Laura D’Oria (Organization & Strategy) with Pietro Mazzola, IULM University and Franz Kellermanns, UNC-Charlotte forEntrepreneurial Orientation: The Effect of Intention and Behavior on Performance.

The Outstanding Entrepreneurship or Innovation Research Faculty Proposal carries an award of $1,000.  This year’s winner is Ramon P. DeGennaro (Finance) for Are Angel Investors Too Eager to Get Back in the Game?

The Best Faculty Working Paper In Entrepreneurship or Innovation Award carries a $3,000 award to the first author.  No papers were submitted to this category this year.

The judges included Reger, Lynn Youngs, ACEI Executive Director, and David Williams, ACEI affiliated faculty.  Reger and Williams recused themselves on voting for projects in which they were involved, and Youngs evaluated projects in terms of their practical relevance to entrepreneurs.

The competition will be held again in the spring semester with awards announced by June.

Among the winners this year are two entries that examine factors that influence angel investors in early stage venture funding decisions.  Chaker and Cadotte propose to study factors within the actual “pitch” to angel investors, while DeGennaro will continue his research on the investing behavior of angel investors by examining whether a prior winning or losing investment affects evaluation of subsequent investment opportunities.

Because the formal venture capital industry is not well developed in Tennessee, angel investor funding is particularly important to startups in the state.  Angel investors fill the gap between self, family and friend funding and formal institutional funding from venture capitalists, banks and other lenders.  They are typically high net worth individuals who have earned over $200,000 in each of the last three years and who have over $1 million in net worth excluding their residence.  Angel investing is a way for these individuals to diversify their portfolio of holdings.  Many angel investors are also successful entrepreneurs themselves who want to help nascent entrepreneurs while seeking a positive return five to seven years after investing.

Three of the winning entries examine the effects of the environment on innovation and entrepreneurship.  Shaner and his colleagues examine a new form of innovation, dubbed cocreation, in which companies use virtual communities of customers to help them develop new products.  “Companies like Legos use cocreation to create products customers want to buy increasing the likelihood of success,” explained Shaner.  Customer-designers typically submit new product ideas on websites where other customers vote the idea up or down.  Those that earn enough endorsements on the website are submitted to a company new product development team who make the final decision about bringing the product to market.

Strickling and Reger propose to study real world communities that are devoting significant public and private money to increase the level of high potential entrepreneurship in their area.  “We know technology and other high potential entrepreneurship is the engine of job creation and economic development in the U.S.  What we don’t know is what works and what doesn’t work in terms of government and NGO support for entrepreneurs to increase the rate of successful high potential entrepreneurship in a community,” said Reger.  This study will help communities make better decisions to earn higher returns on their economic development dollars.

Simarasl and Smith’s study will shed light on the experiences of women entrepreneurs in counties of Appalachia, a distressed environment, and in Atlanta, one of the top ten cities for women entrepreneurs in the U.S. Findings from this research in the distressed environment in comparison with that of a prolific environment are expected to provide both theoretical and practical implications for development of women entrepreneurs in distressed areas, and to provide data to policy makers to more wisely invest in useful types of support.

Finally, D’Oria and colleagues examine an important question in entrepreneurship research:  what is the relationship between saying you want to be an entrepreneur (intentions) and actually taking steps to become an entrepreneur (behavior) and becoming successful (performance)?  Prior research has examined many factors that impact entrepreneurial intentions, partly because intentions are relatively easy to study through surveys.  Who follows through on those intentions and why are some successful and others not are equally important questions. Because these are harder questions to study, less research has focused on them.  Not all entrepreneurs found new companies, some work within existing companies helping them expand into new markets, serve new customers, and innovate new products. D’Oria, a native Italian in the O&S doctoral program, and her colleagues use a novel dataset of Italian firms to add to our understanding of the relationships between entrepreneurial intentions, behavior, and performance in public firms.