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Slide & Ride, a safety device for rodeo riders, placed first in the lifestyle business category in December 2019.

Students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a business idea or early-stage startup are invited to apply to the Graves Business Plan Competition. The semi-annual competition, hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haslam College of Business, is accepting applications through October 5.

The pitch competition began in 2007 and is held during both the fall and spring semesters. UT students enrolled in undergraduate and master’s degree programs are eligible to apply.

“The competition helps students advance business ideas and startups to the next level,” said Tom Graves, operations director of the Anderson Center and manager of the competition. “In addition to prize money to boost their startups, students have the opportunity to receive feedback from the judging panel and engage with Anderson Center programs designed to help grow businesses.”

First, second, and third prizes of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 respectively are awarded in both the growth and lifestyle business categories. All student-owned companies, whether legally formed or in the planning stages, as well as strong ideas that might be commercialized, are eligible to compete.

Applications for the competition are due by October 5 at 11:59 p.m. Students must complete the application form to apply.

Applicants advancing to the first presentation round will send in a recorded video pitch that will be judged by a panel of business professionals and alumni entrepreneurs after Tuesday, October 27. The final round of competition, in which contestants will present their pitches to the judges live via Zoom, will be held on Friday, November 6.

CONTACT

Laura Rust: acei@utk.edu or 865-974-5126