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Left to right, Colleen Cruze, Seth Elliott, Joey Natour, Kristine Palmer, Emily Ryan, Tevin Manuel, Jordan Peace, Austin Eldridge and Nate Buchanan.

KNOXVILLE–Several new burgeoning businesses got a kickstart this spring thanks to the Fourth Annual Business Plan Competition. Thirty-four teams competed for $20,000 in prize money and $5,000 in donated services in the competition sponsored by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

All teams competed for the $20,000 in prize money donated by UT alumni. The two first-place winners received complimentary start-up accounting services from Brenda Boyd, CPA, a 1990 college alum.

The students competed in two separate categories—a technology-enabled business category or a lifestyle business category. The two first-place winners are already using their prize money to launch their companies.

Joey Natour (management, ’11) and Seth Elliott (computer science, ’11) won first place in the technology-enabled category for Dine Touch, a sophisticated at-the-table restaurant ordering system. The system will be beta-tested in a Knoxville restaurant.

Colleen Cruze (agricultural science, ’11) won first place in the lifestyle category for Farm Made Ice Cream, an upscale ice cream made from high-quality milk obtained from a local dairy.

For the first time, two teams tied for second place in the lifestyle category, splitting $5,000. The winners include

Emily Ryan (architecture, ’13) for Project Architect, a social-cause foundation to introduce minority women to the world of architecture through one-week summer camps;

Kristine Palmer (management, ’12) for Mane Match, a sophisticated algorithm to match horses with potential buyers.

Other winners in the technology-enabled category include

Second Place ($3,000): Tevin Manuel (’13) for Academic Pathways, software to assist high-school guidance counselors manage students through the college-application process;

Third Place ($2,000): Nate Buchanan (management,’11), Austin Eldridge (aerospace engineering, ’12), and Jordan Peace (management, ’11) for Social Legends, a method of connecting fans with sports legends.

“The Business Plan Competition was designed to develop and encourage an entrepreneurial culture on campus and to support aspiring young entrepreneurs in their quest to create value,” said Tom Graves, operations director of the college’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“Creating an awareness and entrepreneurial culture across campus has always been one of the objectives of the competition,” added Associate Dean Alex Miller. “No discipline has a monopoly on good ideas, and that came through clearly in this year’s competition.”

The judging panel included Gus Zacharias, CEO, Tennessee Marble; Bill Jenkins, retired corporate executive/consultant; Jim Vaviledes, general banking head, Capital Mark Bank and Trust; Jim Brogan, CEO, Brogan Financial; Bob Campbell, local entrepreneur; John Morris, local entrepreneur and consultant with Tech 2020’s Center for Entrepreneurial Growth; and Chris Miller, Meritus Venture Capital.

“The quality of the plans and presentations set a new standard this year,” said Zacharias, a three-time judge.

“We are very fortunate to have individuals of this caliber who are willing to give generously of their time and talent to ensure the success of the competition,” said Graves.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359,