DO YOU KNOW … how some of our Innov865 Alliance members support entrepreneurship in Knoxville?

For the past few weeks, we have been featuring our valued Innov865 Alliance members as part of our DID YOU KNOW social media series. One of the main questions we asked each of our members was: “How does your organization promote entrepreneurship in Knoxville?” Here are some of their responses: 

Maha Krishnamurthy, Vice President

University of Tennessee Research Foundation 

“UTRF promotes the growth and success of entrepreneurs via various business support resources and services including: educational workshops, networking events, pitch competitions, mentorship, grant funding opportunities, and physical space in the UTRF Business Incubator.”

Dan Miller, Program Lead

Oak Ridge National Lab

“ORNL has a number of programs that startups can use to access lab resources at little or no cost. Many startups in East Tennessee have taken advantage of these programs.  Also, ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program has recruited 16 high-tech entrepreneurs to-date to move to East Tennessee for two years to do collaborative work with ORNL R&D staff to commercialize energy and advanced manufacturing technologies.”

Jill Van Beke, Chief Program Officer

Launch Tennessee

“LaunchTN provides support and resources for other local entrepreneurial organizations, including the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and the Innovation Crossroads program. We bring resources in five areas: capital, market access, commercialization, talent, and environment, complementing the work of Alliance members. Plus, we share the Tennessee entrepreneurial story nationwide, and we let innovators, investors, and ecosystem builders across the state — and beyond — know about the resources each of our partners offers.”

Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer

PYA

Teknovation.biz is the most visible way we support the entrepreneurial community by publishing articles about local entrepreneurs, initiatives, and programs. It was launched January 23, 2012 and publishes almost daily other than holidays and around the end of each calendar year. Less known is the accounting work we do at PYA to help participants in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program and UT’s Vol Court program.”

Jim Biggs, Executive Director

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

“KEC serves as the front door for entrepreneurs in our region, and a resource for anyone looking to start or grow a business here. Through programming, networking events and mentorship, we work to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the talent, capital, and customers they need to succeed.” 

Lynn Youngs, Executive Director

UT Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

“Through our work on campus and beyond, we supply entrepreneurial talent to the ecosystem. We play a key role in supplying vetted startup companies to the region, and those student-created companies come with teams that help support the region at points beyond their initial startup.”

Thank you to all of our wonderful members! Come see us during Innov865 Week 2019 from September 23-27 — and don’t forget to register for Startup Day on September 24th at The Mill and Mine, starting at 2:00 p.m. ET!

The Works

Knoxville has long been a national media leader and technology hub. “The Works” was designed to build on that success.

The Works: Demo Day 2017 is a showcase highlighting the areas’s fastest growing high-tech startup companies.

Come meet all eight of “The Works” graduates as they share their vision for the future. Join us for this exciting event presented by Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Scripps Networks Interactive in beautiful Jackson Terminal in the historic Old City. Lunch is provided.

Pre-registration is required by September 15. We need this so we can have enough food! Parking instructions are forthcoming.

To register, click here.

Hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

The Maker City Summit 2017

The Maker City Summit is a gathering for makers who want to grow successful businesses. It’s a full day of dialogue about how to create a stronger maker community. Makers from throughout the region will discuss the successes and best practices as well as the daily challenges and needs of our maker community.

Participants will learn how to become more successful makers through collaborative panel discussions, one-on-one sessions with industry experts, keynote speakers, and most importantly from each other. The agenda of the summit will be announced closer to the event.

This year’s summit will once again be held at The Mill and Mine. Space is limited. Register today.

Summit 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Maker Meet up 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Bunker Brews

Meet fellow military entrepreneurs, leaders, and learn about Bunker Labs at this special Bunker Brews.

Register to learn about Bunker Labs; meet fellow military entrepreneurs and connect with area business leaders during the most action-packed happy hour & networking event of Startup Week.

Featured Speaker & Host: Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

Date: September 18

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • 5:30 p.m. Cocktail Hour
  • 6:30 p.m. Rapid Fire Panel
  • 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Networking

Hosted by: The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

Click here to register.

AgWorks launch party set for next week at Sizzle TechStart

(NOTE: This article was originally published on Teknovation.biz)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and AgLaunch will host a kick-off party next week to celebrate the new AgWorks accelerator. The program, described in this recent teknovation.biz article, features five agricultural-focused start-ups.

The event begins at 6 p.m. July 18 at Sizzle TechStart, 487 Sam Rayburn Parkway in Lenoir City. The location is in the Roane Regional Industrial Park just off the Highway 321/95 exit from I-40.

To register for the launch party, click here. The party includes dinner, refreshments, and a brief introduction of the program and teams.

AgWorks is a 12-week accelerator program designed to develop East Tennessee agriculture start-ups in partnership with the statewide AgLaunch initiative. Programming includes business development sessions facilitated by Chris Ayala, lead mentor, and agricultural innovation support including mentorship, workshops, and investment access through AgLaunch. The program is supported with funding from Launch Tennessee, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Eight growth stage companies sign-up for KEC’s modified 2017 “The Works” cohort

(NOTE: This article was originally published on Teknovation.biz)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) unveiled the eight companies that comprise the cohort for this year’s “The Works” accelerator at a kickoff party last night in The Old City.

It’s a slightly different mix of companies than the early stage nature of the ones that, for the most part, have been part of the past cohorts.

“I would say the main difference this year is that the program is growth-focused,” Jonathan Sexton, KEC’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, explained. “Each year we have a different spin on the program.”

The energetic musician and entrepreneur in his own right noted that the program in the past was characterized by start-ups that had a media or content idea or fell into the coding category.

“This year the ticket in the door is having a product, users, and revenue,” Sexton explained. “I think it says a lot about the state of our ecosystem that we can do this. Three or four years ago, I’m not sure we would have enough companies that could check those boxes, and now we have to take this approach as a response to the needs of our market. It’s truly exciting and gratifying.”

The eight participants are:

  • Lirio which has two products – Fiveworx and Finworx;
  • SafeSurv, a Cookeville-based start-up that helps retail establishments with products that can only be sold to individuals who are 21 years of age or older manage their risks;
  • Buzzer Intel that is improving ROI on sponsorship investments at events;
  • CQInsights, a healthcare data analytics provider;
  • Unveil Events, a web app that outsources the calling and emailing of events;
  • Smart RIA that provides compliance management software for investment advisors;
  • BIT Dealership Software, a business management software provider to boat and power sports dealers, repair shops, and marinas; and
  • Prometheus Group, a company focused on helping businesses working across the globe utilize intelligence to better manage their risks.

With the shift in the stage of evolution of the companies, there will be a natural modification of the programming.

“The approach to working with a more advanced company is significantly different than idea stage,” Sexton said. “In years past, we’ve spent all summer on idea validation and often times can get much further than that. These companies are already there, so we can focus on other aspects of the business.”

He said the programming for the teams will be more individualized and focused, helping them identify two or three key strategic priorities based on a myriad of factors and use KEC’s full slate of resources to achieve those milestones.

“It’s also worth noting that our program still has a major media bent to it,” Sexton added. “We are experimenting to see if we can leverage media skillsets and talent to support each start-up. We believe that every company is a media company now, everyone is making their own content on social media or otherwise. After a few years of doing this kind of work, we are uniquely positioned to plan, create, and execute on content creation for our teams with the help of our specialist’s program.

The program began June 1 and runs through “The Works Demo Day” which will occur on September 20 during Knoxville’s second annual “Innov865 Week.”

For more details on the eight companies, read the KEC-provided summary (2017 The Works Cohort).