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Entrepreneurial Business Resources

ETEC partners with many organizations working to better East Tennessee. Below is a brief listing of available resources for those interested in and/or working to build a new business in this great region.

For a more complete list and more information visit StartUp Knox.

“I believe it is our time in East Tennessee. It is a season when East Tennessee is becoming an entrepreneurial epicenter. I promise the atmosphere in Knoxville has never been as hot to crush paradigms, disrupt the status quo, and launch new businesses as it is today. The foundation is set; what will we do with it?” – Bill Malkes, co-founder and former CEO of GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc & CEO of NellOne.

Startups are essential for our region to thrive. Two entrepreneurs have committed to help startups launch and grow here. So far, they’ve created a Startup Ecosystem Guide, a Startup Directory, an Investor Directory, and a curated Startup Events calendar.

This program is committed to supporting and advancing world-class startups focused on emerging technologies across industries including artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science, 5G/advanced wireless technology, biotechnology, and clean energy technology. It is located in Oak Ridge-Knoxville, Tennessee.

Supported by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and Tennessee Valley Authority, leverages Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s unique scientific resources and capabilities and connects the nation’s top innovators with experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take world-changing ideas from research and development to the marketplace.

Stories of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are published and emailed daily. Created and co-authored by Tom Ballard, the blog is powered by PYA.

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is focused on changing lives through entrepreneurship. They serve as the front door for entrepreneurs in our region, and a resource for anyone looking to start or grow a business here.

The Knoxville Technology Council (KTech) connects, develops, promotes, and advocates for the technology industry in the Greater Knoxville region. They believe the technology industry is essential for our community to thrive. KTech unites the region’s technology leaders and empowers businesses and entrepreneurs through networks, events, resources, and more.

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital.

KNOXVILLE IS THE MAKER CITY. They are artists and crafters, creators and hustlers, hobbyists and tinkerers, movers, and shakers – makers.

As the gateway to collaboration with the University of Tennessee, the park is located across the Tennessee River from UT’s flagship campus in Knoxville. They offer an ideal location for companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate with the talent at UT, and provide the right connections, facilities, tools, and services to foster success.

The Spark Innovation Center is the UT Research Park’s focus on entrepreneurship development and commercialization of regional technology-based startup companies. Knoxville was recently rated as the #16 cleantech hub in the country according to Saordah Enterprise Partners, and Spark is a significant contributor to that effort. Spark offers what selected tech startups typically need; available and reasonably-priced laboratory space, prototyping shops, and top-level mentorship in business model development, financial planning, and investor readiness.

UTRF provides assistance & resources to the research activities of faculty, staff and students of the UT System campuses and institutes by protecting, managing, and commercializing UT innovations; supporting UT research; promoting an entrepreneurial culture; and, contributing to regional economic development.

UT + ORNL = INNOVATION. Aligning the expertise and infrastructure of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the UT-ORII is a hub for world-class discovery and innovation, interdisciplinary graduate education, and talent development. This partnership is working to build America's pipeline of the best and brightest STEM talent.

Black-owned businesses are essential for increasing wealth and jobs in Knoxville. By rallying the community around the goal of growing Black-owned businesses in Knoxville by $10,000,000 in 5 years, it will help the community thrive today and for generations to come. Cohorts of Black-owned firms are chosen for a 5x5x5 program with the goal to double their revenue through investment of time and talent, and access to social, political, and financial capital.

Aspera Life is a custom-designed community and 18-month program founded by founders dedicated to transformational growth. They help entrepreneurs develop their full potential through the power of personal engagement and life-enhancing learning. Aspera Life provides entrepreneurs a proven platform taught by the world’s top experts sharing their knowledge based on the four main pillars of business: Teams, Money, Processes, and Sales.

For over 30 years, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) network has empowered small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals with business ideas to innovate new products and services that compete in the global marketplace.

LaunchTN is a public-private partnership with a vision to make Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Their mission is to empower a high-functioning network of resources focused on core priorities that support Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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