MBA Alum, First-Year Student Place Second in Business Competition

 

KNOXVILLE — A company created by an MBA alumna and a current University of Tennessee, Knoxville, MBA student has won second place in a contest sponsored by Fairview Technology Center, a small-business incubator owned by Knox County and managed by the Development Corporation of Knox County and Tech2020.

The winner is NewCo, a company that provides services to help kids through stressful childhood events. Its president is Christie Ekern, a 2007 alum of UT’s MBA program, and its vice president of operations is Sandra Perez, a first-year MBA student. Negotiations continue for NewCo to obtain exclusive licensing rights to the Josh Kit, a plush puppy and book created to minimize the anxiety children often feel when facing a hospital or doctor visit.

“The practical experiences and faculty coaching of the UT MBA Entrepreneurship and Innovation program extends beyond the classroom and graduation. It’s the committed community of the UT MBA administration, instructors, students and alumni, and the entrepreneurial support of our region that makes these opportunities possible,” said Ekern.

NewCo will receive a cash grant up to $2,500, six months free rent at the Fairview Technology Center, consulting services provided by Tech2020, and accounting assistance.

The Fairview business competition was created to encourage development of new businesses and ultimately job creation, said Todd Napier, executive vice president of the Development Corp.

The contest was limited to new, independent enterprises in the seed capital, startup or early-growth stages. There were six finalists.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

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