University of Tennessee (UT) researchers will be competing for a chance to win $25,000 and the opportunity to turn their idea into a startup company in the Tennessee Venture Challenge (TVC), a new business plan competition sponsored by the UT Research Foundation (UTRF).

UT researchers are constantly inventing new technologies, many of which go on to become products and services used across the state and around the globe. TVC is a business plan competition aimed at identifying current UT technologies with commercial potential and creating startup companies around them.

TVC is open to any startup company engaged in commercializing intellectual property created at the University of Tennessee. Leading up to the competition, there will be seven entrepreneurial workshops explaining the basics of how to start a company. On April 3, 2014 competitors will pitch their business ideas to a panel of venture investors to win a share of the $25,000 cash prize.

“We are very excited about the Tennessee Venture Challenge and the technologies that will be represented in it,” said David Millhorn, University of Tennessee Executive Vice President and Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “One of UTRF’s primary functions is to move inventions from the lab into the marketplace, and equipping UT researchers with the know-how and resources to start a company based on their ideas is just one way we accomplish that goal.”

UTRF is set to launch the Tennessee Venture Challenge on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m., hosting a kick-off party prior to the first of TVC’s seven workshops at the UTRF Business Incubator. This event will feature several of the technologies competing in TVC, outline the details of the competition and provide an opportunity for networking. Anyone interested in local entrepreneurship or who wants to learn more about technologies being developed at the University of Tennessee is welcome to attend. Please register in advance for the event here:

The entrepreneurial workshops will be led by Tech 20/20, a regional venture development organization. The first workshop will be held from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. immediately following the TVC kick-off event at the UTRF Business Incubator. The remaining sessions will be held from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in Haslam Business Building, Room 403. Workshops will be held every Tuesday from Feb. 4 – March 25, with the exception of March 11, which falls during spring break. Attendance at these workshops is strongly encouraged for those who intend to compete in the TVC Pitch Competition. Sessions will be available via livestream for teams located outside of Knoxville or on other UT campuses.