Contact: Hannah Whitson |⎜423-408-4203

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Innov865 Alliance will play host to a number of events showcasing innovation and entrepreneurship in Knoxville during its annual Innov865 Week, Sept. 16 – 23. The signature event and pitch competition, Startup Day, will take place at the Mill and Mine on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 2:00 p.m. 

“Over the past decade, the Innov865 Alliance has seen more collaboration with investors, developers and entrepreneurs to reach the common goal of creating opportunities for entrepreneurial growth in Knoxville,” said Grady Vanderhoofven, President and CEO of Three Roots Capital and Innov865 Alliance founding member. “Innov865 Week was built by the community for the community. Events like Startup Day unite local entrepreneurs in celebration of Knoxville’s outstanding people, companies, innovations, ideas and the inspiration behind them.”

In its most expansive format to date, Startup Day 2022 will exhibit a range of industries, including pitch topics from extended reality software development to hand-crafted kitchen cutlery. Finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience as they compete to win two prizes: the $3,000 Judges’ Choice prize, presented by Truist, and the $7,000 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by the Innov865 Alliance. This year’s judges’ panel spotlights female business leaders in Knoxville, featuring Tanika Harper, Founder and CEO of Shora Foundation and Harper’s Naturals, Jenna Johns, COO at RDI Technologies, and Carol Carden, Managing Principal of Valuation Services for PYA. 

Startup Day’s program also includes a fireside chat and the presentation of the annual Traction Award. The Traction Award, presented by Verizon, is given to a Knoxville entrepreneur who has made the most traction in their industry and community. Following the announcement, local business owners Anna Douglas, CEO and Co-founder of SkyNano, Abhishek Sastri, CEO and Co-founder of Fluix, and Corey Tyree, CEO of Trillium, will discuss Knoxville’s entrepreneurial landscape. 

The remainder of Innov865 Week’s schedule includes educational panels, investor roundtable discussions and social events that recognize how Knoxville’s multifaceted culture and community contribute to its entrepreneurial success. Events are divided into five tracks: innovation, education, maker, culture and investor. Those interested in attending will have the opportunity to engage in events such as The Maker City Summit 2022, How to Think Like an Angel Investor with Techstars Industries of the Future Lunch and Learn and Let Her Speak: Women’s Capital Series Happy Hour. To check out more events happening throughout the week, stay tuned to the Innov865 Week event calendar.

Startup Day, Innov865 Week’s signature event, is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available online. Due to limited capacity, please register as soon as possible. Learn more about Innov865 Week, track programs and other events by visiting The Innov865 Week calendar will be updated as events are added.

About Innov865 Week & The Innov865 Alliance

Innov865 Week is a weeklong celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the City of Knoxville and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit