Category Archives: Business Plan Competition

Launch Tennessee picks 2 Knoxville companies


Two early-stage Knoxville companies — Vendor Registry and Survature — have been selected to participate in the first statewide demo day sponsored by Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership created to foster development of entrepreneurship across the state.
Twenty companies will pitch their businesses to a panel of out-of-state investors on Aug. 27 in Nashville. From that group, 10 companies will be selected to participate in The TENN, a master accelerator program sponsored by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
Survature is developing an online survey tool that reveals not only what the survey taker answered, but how and when they answered it using a patent-pending technology called Answer Cloud. Vendor Registry is the creator of a web-based vendor management tool that uses a database and notification system to link buyers and sellers.
The 20 participating companies represent Tennessee’s three grand divisions and are all graduates of the state’s nine startup accelerators.
“These 20 startups are an exceptional representation of the innovative and promising ideas emerging from Tennessee’s accelerator programs,” Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock said in a news release. “From the quality and diversity of applications submitted across the state, it is apparent that Tennessee’s network of accelerators, which is unique in the nation and Launch Tennessee helps fund, is working well.”
The panel that will evaluate the businesses includes Sabeer Bhatia, chairman and CEO of Sabse/Jaxtr and founder and former CEO of Hotmail; John McIlwraith, managing partner at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Allos Ventures; John Greathouse, general partner at Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Rincon Venture Partners; Sig Mosley, managing partner at Atlanta, Ga.-based Mosley Ventures; Bob Crutchfield, partner at Birmingham, Ala.-based Harbert Ventures; and Mike Tatum, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Workbus.
The 10 selected companies selected will take a statewide bus tour to meet with some leading executives of Tennessee corporations and angel and venture capital investors throughout the state. The TENN companies also will meet with venture capitalists and angel investors in California and the East Coast, according to a news release.
Click here for a Greater Knoxville Business Journal story on Survature and Vendor Registry.

Facebook users to pick Vol Court winner

The University of Tennessee Vol Court business pitch competition has a social media twist this year.

For the first time the winner will be chosen by a vote of Facebook users.

Voting has started and ends at 11 p.m. on Nov. 13.

At stake are cash prizes, office space and consulting services from Pershing Yoakley and Associates and mentoring services from the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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Crushed glass furniture wins business plan competition

Knoxville businessman Mark Wassenaar wants to turn broken beer bottles into flooring, countertops and casual furniture.

Wassenaar’s idea may sound unusual but it won this year’s What’s the Big Idea!? Business Plan Competition sponsored by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 2020.

“We were impressed by all the entrepreneurs who took part in this competition,” Development Corp. Executive Vice President Todd Napier said in a news release. “Virtuous Products shows an enormous amount of promise and the judges indicated they expect big things from the start-up in the years to come.”

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Lot at stake for Vol Court entrepreneurs

A $5,000 prize package is on the line Tuesday when eight teams of aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in the final session of the spring 2012 Vol Court business plan competition.

The winner gets $1,000 cash. Second place earns $500.

Free money is good, but the Vol Court winner gets other invaluable help, including space at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation business incubator, legal services from Terry Adams Law Firm and mentoring from the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Total value of the winning prize package is pegged at $5,000. But it’s hard to put a price tag on expert mentoring. That kind of help can make or break a startup.

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Fairview startup biz plan competition finals Tuesday

Five finalists will square off on Tuesday to determine the winners of the 2011 Startup Business Plan Competition sponsored by the Fairview Technology Center.

Finalists are 490 BioTech, a life sciences company;, a business contact management web site; MYU Daily, a news, commentary and entertainment web site;, an online garden suppplies web site; and SytLogic, a business services software company.

The event will be held at the Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square.

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Entries open for Fairview business plan competition

The Fairview Technology Center business incubator is looking for the next great business idea and is now accepting entries for the 2011 Startup Business Plan Competition.

The contest is open to anyone with a business idea. Entry applications are due by April 14.

First and second place prize packages valued at $23,000 and $8,000, respectively, include free rent at the business incubator, complimentary consulting and other services.

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Biz plan winners are ….

An e-mail services company, a product to protect climbing shoes and a business aimed at robot enthusiasts were the top winners in The Development Corporation of Knox County’s second annual Start-up Business Plan Competition.

Business plans were evaluated on “on commercial potential, innovation, feasibility, and on their ability to pitch their business plans at a public forum,” according to a press release.

News Sentinel columnist Carly Harrington profiles the top award winner here.

The winners are:

First Place: Streamline Group, first and only business source for electronic mailing with integrated billing and direct pay solutions and services

First Runner-Up: Boulder Booties, product to protect the specialized climbing shoes worn while rock climbing

Second Runner-Up: Knoxville Robots, retail, training, and public meeting facility for robot enthusiasts, engineers, inventors, and educators

More information on the competition can be found here.