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Now entering its seventh year, the Vol Court Pitch Competition encourages UT students, faculty, staff, and community members to pitch their business ideas for a chance to win $1,500, space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, and free legal and accounting services.

Vol Court is a six-week entrepreneurial speaker series hosted by UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation that culminates in a pitch competition. This semester will also include a new session on copyrights, trademarks, and patents, which is being offered based on feedback from past participants.

Vol Court has come a long way since it first launched in February 2010. The competition has grown from a single $1,000 award to three cash prizes. Weekly workshops that began with just twenty people now average at least sixty attendees.

“It’s been really exciting to see Vol Court grow,” said Tom Graves, operations director of the center. “When we first launched this program back in 2010, we didn’t know quite what to expect. Since then we’ve seen numerous startup ideas come to life and many students choose to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. The success of Vol Court is really indicative of the growing entrepreneurial culture on campus.”

Vol Court meets from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. every Wednesday beginning February 17 in Room 104 of the Haslam Business Building, 1000 Volunteer Blvd. There is no charge to participate and registration is not required. Anyone who participates in the March 30 pitch competition must have attended four of the five series meetings.

Below is the schedule for this semester’s Vol Court series:

February 17: Opportunity Identification and Validation

February 24: Reaching Your Market

March 2: Basic Financial Statements

March 9: Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents

March 23: Business Plan Presentation

March 30: Pitch Competition

Vol Court is a semiannual event hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. It is made possible by donated funds and services from several sponsors, including Cirrus Path, Launch Tennessee, Pershing Yoakley and Associates, Morehous Legal Group and the UT Research Foundation.

For more information, visit andersoncei.utk.edu.


Kimberly Hood (865-974-5123, khood3@utk.edu)

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@tennessee.edu)