Packed house at Knoxville mayoral forum on entrepreneurship and economic development

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Innov865 Alliance brought the candidates vying to become Knoxville’s next mayor together for the first time tonight at the public mayoral forum on economic development and entrepreneurship.

More than 100 members of the public attended the forum at a jam-packed Relix in downtown North Knoxville. For the first time this election season, four of the six announced mayoral hopefuls shared the stage: Fletcher Burkhardt, Indya Kincannon, Eddie Mannis, and Marshall Stair.

“Knoxville is primed to become an economic and innovative powerhouse in the region, and strategic support of the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem from our next mayor is vital to that success,” said forum moderator Brandon Bruce, cofounder of Cirrus Insight and member of the Innov865 Alliance, the local collaborative advancing the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem which hosted the event. “The packed house at this mayoral forum shows just how invested Knoxvillians are in this community and its economic opportunity and development.”

The candidates answered questions about their business, innovation and entrepreneurial policy ideas and credentials, with discussion led by WATE 6 On Your Side anchor Kristin Farley, entrepreneur Tanika Harper, and Bruce. Topics ranged from business recruitment and the future of Knoxville’s makers community to ideas for leveraging new technology coming out of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Lab. The candidates discussed what they see as the biggest challenge currently facing Knoxville and the city’s role in addressing that challenge.

Knoxville will cast votes to select the next city mayor on August 27, 2019, Primary Election day. The final day to register to vote in the primary is July 29, 2019. If one mayoral candidate does not receive a majority of all primary ballots cast, the top two candidates will be on the ballot in the General Election, November 5, 2019. The last day to register to vote in the General Election is October 7, 2019.

ABOUT THE INNOV865 ALLIANCE

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. Its signature event is the annual Innov865 Week; the Alliance also coordinates other activities throughout the year, including pitch competitions, educational opportunities, and social events. Founding members include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and TVA.

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Innov865 Mayoral Candidate Forum

Audience Guidelines

The event is free, but you must register or you will not be allowed inside.

Please either print out your Eventbrite ticket or have it pulled up on your phone at the entrance.

Once in the venue, audience members may sit wherever you wish but you must be seated five minutes prior to the start of the event. The doors will be shut accordingly.

You are asked to remain silent for the duration of the mayoral forum. Refrain from cheering, clapping, booing or otherwise disturbing the flow of the forum AFTER the candidates are announced and walk on stage.

Audience members are not allowed to bring in signs, noisemakers or anything that could be distracting from the forum. Campaigns may have signs at their campaign tables, but attendees cannot bring those signs to their seats.

Security will be present at Relix, and security officers will have the discretion to refuse entry to any attendee. Any audience member that is unruly or acts out will be immediately escorted out of Relix.

What To Expect

Candidates vying to become Knoxville’s next mayor will share ideas and perspectives on entrepreneurship and innovation at an upcoming mayoral forum presented by the Innov865 Alliance.

RSVP here!

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. for the 5:30 p.m. forum.

The event is free, but you must register or you will not be allowed inside.

Please either print out your Eventbrite ticket or have it pulled up on your phone at the entrance.

The public is invited to attend the forum, scheduled for March 5, 2019, at Relix in downtown North Knoxville.

The forum will explore candidates’ positions on critical aspects of Knoxville’s economy, specifically entrepreneurship, innovation and access to capital.

The candidates will be joined by a panel of local entrepreneurs, supplying questions for lively discussion and debate. Contenders Mike Chase, Indya Kincannon, Eddie Mannis, Marshall Stair, and Fletcher Burkhardt have each confirmed their attendance.

Moderators for the Innov865 Mayoral Candidate Forum include:

  • Emcee/lead moderator: Kristin Farley, WATE 6 On Your Side
  • Panelist/questioner: Brandon Bruce, Co-founder, Cirrus Insight
  • Panelist/questioner: Tanika Harper, Founder, Harper’s Naturals

There will be cameras used in the venue to livestream the forum.

Special thanks to WATE 6 On Your Side for being the Innov865 Alliance’s official media partner!

2019 Mayoral Candidates


Mike Chase (photo via Knoxtntoday.com)

Indya Kincannon

Eddie Manis

Marshall Stair

Fletcher Burkhardt

Mayoral candidates come together to discuss economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in Knoxville

Candidates vying to become Knoxville’s next mayor will share ideas and perspectives on entrepreneurship and innovation at an upcoming mayoral forum presented by the Innov865 Alliance, the local collaborative of organizations advancing the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The public is invited to attend the forum, scheduled for March 5, 2019, at Relix in downtown North Knoxville.

RSVP here!

Moderated by anchor Kristin Farley from WATE 6 On Your Side, the Alliance’s media partner, the forum will explore candidates’ positions on critical aspects of Knoxville’s economy, specifically entrepreneurship, innovation and access to capital. The candidates will be joined by a panel of local entrepreneurs, supplying questions for lively discussion and debate. The six mayoral hopefuls who have filed necessary paperwork to appoint a treasurer for the 2019 mayoral election have been invited to attend. As of this release, contenders Mike Chase, Indya Kincannon, Eddie Mannis, and Marshall Stair have each confirmed their attendance.

“This evening presents a rare opportunity to gather each mayoral candidate, local entrepreneurs and stakeholders, and the East Tennessee community together under one roof to examine our region’s economic climate and the role that startups play in our future,” said Tom Ballard, an Innov865 Alliance founding member and Chief Alliance Officer at PYA. “These conversations and the resulting knowledge and connections are invaluable tools to position Knoxville as more fertile ground for local entrepreneurship and growth.”

All interested persons are invited to attend the mayoral forum. Ticketing information and additional details are available here. Doors will open promptly at 5:00 p.m. for the 5:30 p.m. forum.