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A new business incubator currently under construction on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee will give new technology companies a home base and the support they need to be successful.

The incubator is being built as a partnership between the UT Research Foundation, the university, Knox County, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Knoxville Utilities Board, state of Tennessee, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“Partnerships like this have clear value, and not only for the organizations involved,” said UT President John Petersen. “When public and private entities come together for these kinds of initiatives, the economies of our region and our state benefit.”

For startup companies, especially those in high-technology fields, some of the largest hurdles they face come from basic business needs, as opposed to the complexities of their research. The incubator will provide businesses office and laboratory space to suit their unique needs, and assist with fundamental business issues.

Companies that are based on technology developed by UT faculty and staff may be a priority for housing in the facility, and an application process will determine other participating companies.

“There’s a tremendous array of technology developed both at UT and with our partners at Oak Ridge National Lab,” said Fred Tompkins, president of the UT Research Foundation. “This incubator will help ensure that researchers have the tools they need to enter the competitive market.”

Technology 2020’s Center for Entrepreneurial Growth (CEG), which already manages other local business incubator facilities, will provide many of the business services for companies housed at the incubator. CEG has worked with companies at Tech 2020’s Commerce Park and Fairview Technology Center incubator facilities.

Companies will receive assistance in a variety of areas critical to technology startup companies, including management and ways to acquire capital.

Tompkins noted that the incubator is representative of the wide variety of economic development partnerships in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley.

“Clearly, as new businesses are created from local technologies, our strong desire is to keep those businesses in this area,” he said. “All of our partners, and the community at large, stand to benefit.”

In the last year alone, the 16-county Innovation Valley announced more than $227 million in new capital investment and more than 2,400 new jobs.

The 15,000 square foot facility is being built at a cost of $2.5 million, and is expected to open in late summer.

The UT Research Foundation, chartered in 2003, supports the UT research enterprise, protects and commercializes the university’s intellectual property, and works to promote economic development across the state.


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,