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UT students, faculty, and staff as well as members of the local community, are encouraged to pitch their business ideas at Vol Court, a semiannual pitch competition and speaker series run by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Shawn Carson, Vol Court director.

The competition begins September 27. Winners may receive up to $1,500 in prize money and space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator as well as legal and accounting services.

The series and competition are open to the public. There is no charge to participate in the event, and anyone interested in entrepreneurship is invited to attend.

“Whether you have a startup or are just interested in entrepreneurship, Vol Court is a great opportunity,” said Shawn Carson, Vol Court director. “The schedule is designed to introduce participants to entrepreneurship and give them a starting point to help advance their ideas into reality.”

The five-week interactive entrepreneurial speaker series includes new speakers, including local entrepreneurs and UT faculty.

Vol Court meets from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. every Wednesday from September 27 through November 1 in Stokely Management Center, 916 Volunteer Blvd. All meetings will be held in Room G4.

The program culminates on November 1 in a pitch competition where attendees put what they’ve learned into practice. All pitch competition participants are eligible for cash prizes awarded to first-, second-, and third-place winners.

Anyone who plans to participate in the November 1 pitch competition must attend four of the five speaker sessions listed below:

  • September 27: Overview of Value Proposition and Customer Discovery
  • October 4: The First 100 Customers
  • October 11: Determining the Legal Structure for Your Business
  • October 18: Partnerships
  • October 25: The Pitch

Vol Court is made possible by donated funds and services from sponsors including PYA, Morehous Legal Group, Hard Knox Pizzeria, the IT Company, 3 Roots Capital, the UT Research Foundation, and other local businesses.


Carrie McCamey (865-974-5126,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,