KNOXVILLE, Tenn., July 15, 2021 – The Innov865 Alliance announced today Innov865 Week 2021 will return with an in-person annual pitch competition and other special events. Innov865 Week 2021 will take place Monday, October 4 – Friday, October 8.

Innov865 Week boasts a range of events for everyone in the area to support local economic development, from investors and regional entrepreneurs to community leaders and students. Throughout the week, the Innov865 Alliance will celebrate two new startup accelerators coming to town in 2022— Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator and the Spark Cleantech Accelerator.

Innov865 Week 2021’s premier event is Startup Day 2021, held Tuesday, October 5 at the Mill and Mine. Startup Day is an annual “Shark-Tank”-style pitch competition, where participants compete for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. Six of Knoxville’s most investable startups will pitch their businesses in front of a panel of investor judges. In addition to the opportunity to spotlight their startup for investors, entrepreneurs will compete for a “crowd favorite” cash prize, presented by Truist. Included in this year’s programming is the Impact Award, presented by Verizon, given to an entrepreneur or startup that has had a lasting, positive impact on the community.

Earlier this summer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority and The University of Tennessee announced the launch of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator. The “Industries of the Future” accelerator will work with 30 startups over the next three years that use clean energy, AI, big data, cybersecurity, digital currency, 5G and other innovations to transform society. Less than a week after the announcement of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,  the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Spark Innovation Center announced the formation of the Spark Cleantech accelerator.  The accelerator is a regional partnership supported through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and includes the Clean Energy Trust, Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University and mHUB.

To learn more about Innov865 Week 2021, visit The website and event calendar will be updated regularly as more events are added to Innov865 Week.


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