The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has announced the formation of a new business plan competition aimed at academic-affiliated startup companies. The competition, named Tennessee Venture Challenge (TVC), will be held in April 2014 and is designed to encourage students, researchers and community members to create new, sustainable businesses in the state of Tennessee.
TVC is open to startup companies engaged in commercializing intellectual property created at the University of Tennessee. Finalists in the competition will pitch their business opportunity to a panel of venture investors for a share of the $25,000 in cash to be awarded.
“The Tennessee Venture Challenge is an exciting, demanding and rewarding contest designed to encourage all members of the UT community to create new sustainable businesses in the state,” said David Washburn, president and CEO of UTRF. “The contest develops entrepreneurial spirit through teamwork and competition while helping to convert cutting edge research into solutions that make the world a better place.”
In conjunction with TVC, the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UT Knoxville will host a series of venture development workshops beginning in the spring semester. Attendance at these workshops is mandatory. Each team must have at least one representative present at each session. These workshops will help prepare teams for the challenges of venture creation. Mentors also will be available to provide assistance in the venture creation process.
The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, startup, or early growth stages. Teams may have business ventures centered on intellectual property from any campus in the UT System. Venture ideas may focus on a technology, consumer product, service, or social venture. Various prizes of cash and valuable in-kind services provide for a wide range of opportunities.