KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Innov865 Alliance brought the candidates vying to become Knoxville’s next mayor together for the first time tonight at the public mayoral forum on economic development and entrepreneurship.

More than 100 members of the public attended the forum at a jam-packed Relix in downtown North Knoxville. For the first time this election season, four of the six announced mayoral hopefuls shared the stage: Fletcher Burkhardt, Indya Kincannon, Eddie Mannis, and Marshall Stair.

“Knoxville is primed to become an economic and innovative powerhouse in the region, and strategic support of the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem from our next mayor is vital to that success,” said forum moderator Brandon Bruce, cofounder of Cirrus Insight and member of the Innov865 Alliance, the local collaborative advancing the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem which hosted the event. “The packed house at this mayoral forum shows just how invested Knoxvillians are in this community and its economic opportunity and development.”

The candidates answered questions about their business, innovation and entrepreneurial policy ideas and credentials, with discussion led by WATE 6 On Your Side anchor Kristin Farley, entrepreneur Tanika Harper, and Bruce. Topics ranged from business recruitment and the future of Knoxville’s makers community to ideas for leveraging new technology coming out of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Lab. The candidates discussed what they see as the biggest challenge currently facing Knoxville and the city’s role in addressing that challenge.

Knoxville will cast votes to select the next city mayor on August 27, 2019, Primary Election day. The final day to register to vote in the primary is July 29, 2019. If one mayoral candidate does not receive a majority of all primary ballots cast, the top two candidates will be on the ballot in the General Election, November 5, 2019. The last day to register to vote in the General Election is October 7, 2019.


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. Its signature event is the annual Innov865 Week; the Alliance also coordinates other activities throughout the year, including pitch competitions, educational opportunities, and social events. Founding members include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and TVA.