Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — Is your “inner entrepreneur” demanding to be set free? Do you want to join that elite group of individuals who have taken ideas and turned them into successful businesses, creating value, jobs and considerable wealth in the process?

If so, the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, invites you to enter the third annual Business Plan Competition.

“The first two competitions launched five businesses that we know of and distributed $30,000 in seed money across nine teams,” said Tom Graves, director of operations for UT’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

With the mission to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture and spirit of the university, the competition allows participants to enhance their understanding of new venture creation, polish their communication skills by presenting ideas to investor/judges, and network with successful local entrepreneurs, business owners and venture capitalists.

All UT Knoxville undergraduate students are eligible. Students can enter any idea, from the world’s best lemonade stand to a new way to harness solar energy.

The 2010 competition is offering awards in two categories: growth businesses and lifestyle businesses. Growth businesses typically are technology-enabled and have the potential for significant national and international expansion; lifestyle businesses typically remain local to a specific regional area. The top three plans in each category will win $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

Judges determine into which category each submission falls.

“The college designed the Business Plan Competition to simulate a real-world entrepreneurial challenge and stress,” said Graves. “By providing students with experiential, out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities, the university greatly enhances the students’ chances for future success.”

“This competition provides participating undergraduate students an excellent chance to develop planning and persuasive presentation skills,” said Donde Plowman, head of the Department of Management. “The Business Plan Competition is another way that the college is using applied learning to enhance the educational level of our graduates.”

Students can work individually or in teams of up to four people. The competition is encouraging students with both technical and commercial skills to come together to build strong, well-rounded teams. Each round of competition requires an exceedingly more difficult amount of quantitative and qualitative analysis that allows students to put theories they have learned into use.

Following are important dates in the competition:

  • Feb. 17 — Drop-in Workshop: “Translating Your Idea into a Simple Concept Statement.” The topic will be covered every 30 minutes between 5 and 7 p.m. in the University Center Crest Room.
  • March 1 — Deadline for concept statement submissions to be submitted to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at (Requirements for concept summaries are listed under “judging sequence” at
  • March 5 — Top 10 concepts in each category will be announced. Winners will be notified and move on to second round.
  • March 15 — Workshop: “Business Plan Writing for Dummies”; 5 – 7 p.m. in the University Center Crest Room.
  • March 26 — Top 10 teams in each category will submit seven bound copies of the business plan for the judges’ review and make a 15-minute presentation to the judging panel followed by five minutes of questions.
  • March 29 — The five finalists in each category will be announced.
  • April 9 — Final round of judging will take place. Teams will have five minutes for a “final sell,” followed by 20 minutes of questions from the judges.
  • April 12 — Winners announced.
  • April 16 — Awards presented.

The judges will be UT professors, local entrepreneurs, business professionals and individuals who serve the entrepreneurial community.

For more information on the business plan competition, visit

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359,