Guest Blog: Meet the Knoxville Technology Council, how they support entrepreneurship

Authored by: Brandon Bruce, Co-founder of the Knoxville Technology Council

The Knoxville Technology Council (KTech) connects, develops, promotes, and advocates for the technology industry in the Greater Knoxville region. We believe the technology industry is essential for our community to thrive. KTech unites the region’s technology leaders and empowers businesses and entrepreneurs through networks, events, and resources.

KTech is an industry-led and membership-driven organization. Our members are companies and organizations across all industry sectors that have technology professionals located in the Greater Knoxville region or that do business here.

John McNeely and myself co-founded KTech with the support of its founding board of directors and its founding members. We officially launched at Jewelry TV on August 15, 2019. The launch event featured presentations by a dozen technology companies, swag bags that included Discovery Shark Week sharks and cans of Bush Beans, and a rooftop happy hour for 300+ attendees.

What are KTech’s priorities right now as it relates to entrepreneurship, and how have those shifted in light of COVID-19?

Entrepreneurship is the driving force of our local, regional, and national economy. KTech is focused on supporting technology companies – including innovative startups – that make the Greater Knoxville region a great place to work and live.

We decided in March that we didn’t want to cancel any of our scheduled Lunch & Learn or Happy Hour events. KTech was an early adopter of the Lunchpool platform, a startup led by local entrepreneur Alex Abell that produces virtual events that feel like the real thing. We’ve had a series of successful virtual Lunch & Learn events on Lunchpool on topics including DevOps, Intellectual Property, Healthcare Technology during COVID-19, Tech for Good, and ManagedIT. All have been very well attended by our members and the community. 

We’ve also hosted a series of monthly Networking Happy Hours including an entrepreneurial presentation by Sugarlands Distillery about producing sanitizer for frontline workers. For that happy hour, we had a popular social media giveaway. Winners received a delivery of moonshine and sanitizer in time for the event.

What are KTech’s goals this year?

Events will continue to be key for connecting our members and the community. We have a great schedule of events through 2020, and we’re in the process of planning a big virtual event in the fall to celebrate KTech’s one-year anniversary. 

We will continue to build out our technology jobs board and our volunteer opportunities board in partnership with Volunteer East Tennessee. 

We’ve also published a list of business resources during COVID-19 and a list of online educational resources for students, parents, and teachers

What does KTech’s future look like?

We will stay focused on our four pillars:

  • Connect members and the community via live and virtual events.
  • Develop talent via education, training, and professional development.
  • Promote members and our technology industry.
  • Advocate for ideas and policies that advance technology in our region.

The vision of KTech is to build an influential community of technology leaders united and committed to helping the Greater Knoxville region grow and thrive. We are advancing Knoxville as a technology hub and center of innovation.

How can people get in touch with KTech?

For more information about membership, sponsorship, and partnership, please visit our website or email me at brandon@knoxtech.org