Student-Owned Screen Printing, Hammock Businesses Receive $20K Grant

 

Creators of a screen printing company for campus organizations and a designer of leisure hammocks are the latest recipients of a $20,000 grant from the UT Boyd Venture Fund.

The two student ventures, InHouse GFX and Adams Innovation LLC, are the fall 2012 winners of the Boyd Venture Fund. They will share the money, which will allow them to grow their businesses.

The fund is administered through the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the UT College of Business Administration. As part of the grant, the center also connects each winning enterprise to a mentor.

Since its inception in 2011, the fund has awarded $62,500 in seed capital to eight student-owned companies. Grants are available to any UT student-owned business and are awarded each spring and fall.

The fall 2012 winners are:

From left: Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corp.; Anthony Smith and Justin Ruffin, founders of InHouse GFX; and Tom Graves, director of operations for the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

InHouse GFX: a company that offers custom screen printing, graphic/print design and web development to sororities, fraternities, and campus organizations.

Anthony Smith, a senior in public relations, and Justin Ruffin, a junior in communications, founded it.

The business has worked with various UT campus and Greek organizations including the Student Government Association, Team Vols, Alpha Kappa Psi, and the Black Issues Conference.

“Our vision is to be on numerous college campuses where we will employ students,” Smith said. “Our company will provide these students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in fields such as advertising, sales, marketing, production, management, and customer service.”

The grant will allow the company to upgrade its computers and software and hire a part-time production manager, Ruffin said.

InHouse GFX founders may be reached at general@inhousegfx.com.

Adams Innovation LLC: a company that designs, imports, and distributes leisure hammocks with a unique suspension system that eliminates the needs to readjust and reposition the suspension ropes.

From left: Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corp.; Alex Adams, founder of Adams Innovation LLC; and Tom Graves, director of operations for the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Alex Adams, a junior in mechanical engineering, founded it.

Adams’s interest in hammocks began during his freshman year at UT.

“Hammocks are a great way to relax, but when I had to constantly reposition the ropes to keep the hammock at the height I wanted, I thought that there must be a better way,” he said.

His research into ropes and the logging market, which he used to create his unique hammock suspension system, ultimately led to a suspension system that does not require readjustment. He plans to sell his product online and through major outdoor retailers.

“I am committed to bringing quality hammocks to a growing market,” Adams said.

The grant will allow him to order his initial inventory and be prepared to sell in the spring. The hammocks are marketed under the trade name Xada.

Adams may be reached at aadams@xadagear.com.

CONTACTS:

Tom Graves (865-974-6131, tgrave10@utk.edu)

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lalapo@utk.edu)

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