UTRF provides and/or sponsors educational opportunities, networking events, pitch competitions and more. Mentors and UT staff work together to help you move from ideation through and beyond execution.
Mentorship and Training Resources:
The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) was created in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in an effort to support technology researchers as they move innovation beyond the lab and into the marketplace. As part of the I-Corps South Node, the University of Tennessee offers education and other support to introduce the regional research community to the national I-Corps Program.
Three Roots Capital is a provider of impact capital products and advisory services that creates successful outcomes for client companies, and attractive returns for financial partners. They fuel sustainable business growth by providing capital, connections, and expertise. The UTRF Checkerboard Portfolio is a collaboration between UTRF and Three Roots Capital to support and mentor UT affiliated startups.
Innov865 Week is a week-long series of events that showcases Knoxville as a prime destination for startups and entrepreneurs. It features multiple entrepreneurial opportunities and features a Startup Day Pitch competition with a a cash-prize award for the winning presenter(s).
As Tennessee’s only statewide collaborative startup network, LaunchTN is positioned to provide all the resources entrepreneurs, small-business owners, inventors and investors need.
KEC’s mission is to build a community where entrepreneurs have access to the capital, customers, and talent they need to be successful. Entrepreneurs are cornerstones that provide economic, social, and cultural value to the communities they are in.
Life Science Tennessee is a statewide, non-profit, member organization whose mission is to advance and grow the life science industry in Tennessee through advocacy, partnerships and alignment with economic and workforce development.commitment to advocacy, economic development, workforce development and networking.
The Southeastern Medical Device Association is a non-profit trade association that supports and promotes medical device companies in the Southeast.
Southeast BIO (SEBIO)’s mission is to foster the growth of the life sciences industry in the Southeastern United States by promoting entrepreneurship and bringing together the key stakeholders active in the development of the industry.
Pitch Competitions (Training/Workshops/Bootcamps)
TVC is a business plan competition for the University of Tennessee community, where University-affiliated startup companies pitch their business model to a panel of seasoned investors. Participants work through boot camp training sessions to learn and prepare for a final business pitch competition. $30,000 in prizes are awarded.
Vol Court is a six-week entrepreneurial speaker series that culminates in a pitch competition where attendees put what they’ve learned into practice by presenting their business ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs for a chance to win $1,500 in cash, office space in the UTRF Business Incubator and various professional services.
The Boyd Venture Challenge is a seed fund grant conducted in the fall and spring semesters each year. Any UT student-owned (doctoral, masters, undergraduate) business is eligible to apply, and it is open to all UT Knoxville students regardless of academic discipline or degree program. $20,000 in prizes are awarded in seed funding to student-owned startups.
The annual Graves Business Plan Competition’s mission is to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture and spirit across the university, the competition allows participants to enhance their understanding of new venture creation, polish their communication skills, minimize the risks involved in creating a sound business plan, and network with other entrepreneurially-oriented students, successful local entrepreneurs, and potential investors.
The mission of 36|86 is to bring southern thinkers, founders and investors together by hosting an annual event in Nashville and inviting a national audience to participate in the experience. This event gathers incredible startup businesses, proven business leaders and strategic investors for a celebration of entrepreneurship and southern culture. Ultimately, this event becomes a platform connecting the “doers,” the “makers,” and the “innovators” in the southeast, around the country, and across the globe. Participants compete for $50,000 in prize money.
Startup Day is an annual event that showcases Knoxville as a destination for startups and entrepreneurs. The event is part of Innov865 Week which is hosted by the members of the Innov865 Alliance: The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, Launch Tennessee, PYA, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Winners receive cash prizes.
Shark Tank Meets Lock-In: “What’s The Big Idea?!” is the event for you. Compete to win up to $10k in expense reimbursement in a 48-hour weekend business pitch competition.
Additional Startup Resources:
There are a number of local groups with whom UTRF works who are dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.