Two UT student start-up companies are one step closer to success after taking prizes at the Vol Court Pitch Competition Tuesday. Aeron Glover, a junior in industrial engineering, and Kaliv Parker, a sophomore in business, with howstheliving.com came in first. Jake Baron, a senior in accounting, took second with Turtlebak.
Vol Court is a series of eight free how-to seminars led by entrepreneurs and business experts from across the state. The program is a joint effort of UTRF, the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) and the CEG.
Howstheliving.com allows students to provide firsthand feedback on host families, residence halls and apartments. The website is free for basic users, and students who register for a premium account have the ability to contact other students who have commented on residences or host families.
Turtlebak is a company producing a unique single-strap backpack that distributes weight higher and more evenly than traditional backpacks, creating a more comfortable fit. The backpack is constructed from Neoprene fabric that is durable, waterproof and stretchable, making it ideal for both academic and recreational use.
“Vol Court is a great way for students and faculty to learn about what it takes to start a business,” said Joy Fisher, Director of Marketing and Business Development at UTRF. “People who want to create a new company can both learn from experienced entrepreneurs and network with other people who can help them advance their ideas.”
As the firstplace winner, howstheliving.com will receive $1,000 from the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, space in the UTRF Technology Business Center for one year, one year mentoring from Technology 2020’s Center of Entrepreneurial Growth (CEG), 12 hours of accounting advice from Parker Business Consulting and Accounting and seven hours of legal advice from Miller & Martin LLC. The total package is valued at $23,000.The secondplace prize package awarded to Turtlebak includes $500, nine hours of accounting, space in the UTRF Business Incubator for six months, one year of mentoring and three hours of legal advice from the same sponsors.
The pitch competition was the culmination of Vol Court, an eight-week series of one-hour entrepreneurial speakers covering a variety of topics entrepreneurs face when starting a business. The speaker series is held once a year and is open to all UT students and faculty.
For more information on Vol Court, visit http://utrf.tennessee.edu/news/.