KNOXVILLE, TENN. – Applications are now being accepted for Innov865 Week’s Startup Day 2018 pitch competition. Six East Tennessee startups will be selected to pitch their businesses and compete to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. The Startup Day pitch competition is the signature event of Innov865 Week, an annual celebration of Knoxville’s thriving entrepreneurial community, held this year September 23-28, 2018.

Startup Day 2018 will take place Tuesday, September 25 at The Mill & Mine in downtown Knoxville. Applications for the pitch competition will be accepted June 29, 2018 through July 13, 2018. Startups must be located in East Tennessee to be eligible. Applications are available on the Innov865 Week website:
. The Innov865 Alliance will review submissions and select six startups to compete. Startups selected as finalists will be notified no later than July 23, 2018.

“Innov865 Week showcases the growing pool of talent and groundbreaking innovation thriving in the Knoxville region,” said Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance.“Startup Day’s pitch competition gives these East Tennessee entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business in front of real investor judges and compete for a cash prize to help turn their vision into a reality.”

The pitch competition will feature two prize categories: judges’ choice and crowd favorite. The crowd favorite prize, presented by SunTrust, allows the audience to cast their vote for their favorite startup with interactive voting throughout the program. Cash prizes will be awarded in both categories, equaling $10,000. In addition, one Startup Day alum will be honored with the Innov865 Traction Award, presented by UT Federal Credit Union, in recognition of the startup’s business successes.

At last year’s 2017 Startup Day pitch competition, Smart RIA won the Innov865 judge’s choice award, earning a cash prize, and SkyNano Technologies claimed the crowd favorite cash prize, presented by SunTrust.

More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders, investors, community leaders and students attend Innov865 Week each year. This year’s event features a packed week of investor roundtables, educational panels, demo days, and networking.