KEC group photoBy the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Founding Member

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since the Alliance’s inception, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center has celebrated and showcased Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. 

Our purpose is changing lives through entrepreneurship. KEC exists to help people with ideas become founders with companies. 

Supporting  Knoxville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

A culture of entrepreneurship is crucial to building a healthy community, economy and environment. KEC works diligently with our network partners – like the Innov865 Alliance – to identify founders and connect them with the people, resources and support that they’ll need to thrive. 

KEC’s unofficial motto is “Big Ideas Welcome” (although we had t-shirts made, so maybe it really is official). But how do you know if your “big idea” is going to work and how can we help you find out? Through business education programming, intentional community building and one-on-one mentoring, KEC is here to help establish and grow your footing at whatever stage you’re in – from food trucks to tech startups, and everywhere in-between. 

Creating a thriving community

It’s only by working together with groups like the Innov865 Alliance that we can realize our vision of Knoxville as the most founder-friendly city in America. Our mission is to create a thriving entrepreneurial community that is accessible, diverse and sustainable. We want to be part of a community where entrepreneurs have access to the capital, customers and talent they need to be successful and strong partnerships ensure that our ecosystem is strong, vibrant and coordinated. 

Developing a diverse ecosystem

A successful community culture thrives in the presence of diversity – of people, experiences and opportunities. The Innov865 Alliance must continue to support and champion our rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, while also advocating for the cultural components that bring – and keep – great companies (and their people!) here. 

Our thriving maker community, our growing pool of outdoor/adventure entrepreneurs and our world class culinary scene make our community vibrant and interesting in a way that is totally unique, and serves as a consistent reminder that we’re not just “the next” Austin or Boulder, but the first Knoxville, and we’re proud to be called the Maker City. 

Focusing on founders

KEC is intentionally “founder-first.”  We believe that big challenges are best met when creative ideas are allowed to flourish, imagination is rewarded and “it’s always been done this way” is never accepted as an answer. By elevating founders, we help to grow not just one business, but a whole community. We are committed to an inclusive, accessible entrepreneurial community, where those who are willing to take risks, create opportunities and turn big ideas into action are supported and given access to the resources necessary to succeed. 

Connecting with KEC

Like any good entrepreneur, KEC is always looking for innovative ways to engage and support our community. We encourage everyone to create their #madeforknoxville story profile and join hundreds of entrepreneurs who have become part of the largest ongoing storytelling campaign our region has ever seen. We also encourage you to learn more about our communities and programs like Let Her Speak, 100Knoxville, and of course, The Maker City. Knoxville is a hub of world-class technological innovation. We have a thriving creative community.  We are rich in talented people, collaborative organizations and beautiful natural resources.  And we are just getting started. 

If you’ve got big ideas, or want to get involved, please visit We’ve got an awesome weekly email newsletter, we’d love to connect on social media and we’d love to hear your stories at

About the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center provides access to a regionally recognized company development program, an involved network of dedicated capital sources, successful local mentors, and world-class training. The organization is a Founding Member of the Innov865 Alliance. Learn more about KEC today.