A mobile app to scan perishable foods, a dual-functioning automotive window tint and a straw that detects drink tampering swept the podium at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s fall 2022 Vol Court.
Vol Court is a five-week entrepreneurial speaker series held every semester through the Haslam College of Business. The series culminates in a competition in which participants put what they’ve learned into practice by pitching their business ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs for a chance to win up to $1,500.
The team of judges awarded first place and $1,500 to Fresh Now, a mobile app that allows users to scan perishable food items and receive notifications when the expiration dates are approaching. The app suggests meals that incorporate the scanned items, giving priority to the ingredients that will expire soonest.
“Getting to be a part of Vol Court and learn more about entrepreneurship from people in Knoxville has inspired me so much,” said Fresh Now’s founder, Taylor Gingrich, a senior industrial engineering major from Dayton, Ohio. “This money will allow the research and development of the Fresh Now app to continue and hopefully get a prototype version launched.”
Second place and $1,000 went to SeaShade, a dual-functioning automotive window tint that changes opacity. The product is created from recycled marine plastic materials that run on renewable energy.
“As an entrepreneur, it’s nice to be innovative and promote something good,” said SeaShade founder Anthony Do, a freshman finance major from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Safe Sip, a straw that changes colors if a drink has been tampered with, received third place and $500. Tanner Hawkins, a senior management major from Corryton, Tennessee, created the product to provide users with protection and peace of mind.
“Winning Vol Court has added fuel to my entrepreneurial fire,” Hawkins said. “It has motivated me to pursue this and many more ventures to make the world a better place.”
Leading up to the competition, participants attended four workshops covering entrepreneurship topics like crowdfunding and storytelling.
Vol Court is a free event hosted by the Anderson Center each fall and spring semester. It is open to UT students, faculty and staff as well as members of the local community. The fall competition was supported by the Scott and Dianna Roe Foundation.
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