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Knoxville Chamber
Events & Programs
What's the Big Idea!?

Think you have a Big Idea for a new business?

Tell us about it and you may be selected as a contestant in What’s The Big Idea, a business plan competition presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and Tech2020.

Here is how it works….

Step 1
Apply To Participate
The application deadline for 2014 was on April 4. Please come back next year and submit your Big Idea!

Step 2
Contestant Selection
15 contestants will be selected on April 11, based on their Big Idea, to attend two Idea Launch seminars to refine their ideas and fine-tune their pitches. Click here to see a full list of dates for the competition. 

Step 3
Team Selection
On May 6, each of the 15 contestants will have 5-minutes to pitch their Big Idea to a panel of three coaches who are recognized as accomplished local entrepreneurs. Each coach will select three contestants to be on their teams.

Step 4
What’s the Big Idea Knock-Out Competitions
Following a month of coaching and further business training, each coach will place each of their three team members in one of three What’s the Big Idea Knock-Out Competitions on June 3. Each contestant will compete against contestants from the other two teams with an 8-minute pitch on their Big Idea. An independent panel of judges will select the winner from each Knock-Out Competition, determining the three finalists who will move on to the What’s The Big Idea Finale.

Step 5
People’s Choice Competition – New in 2014!
The six contestants not selected to move on to the Finale from the Knock-Out Competitions will be eligible to participate in the People’s Choice Competition, held the night of the Finale – with the potential of moving on to be the fourth competitor in the Finale. The six contestants will have one last chance to compete for the What’s the Big Idea crown by swaying the Finale audience with a five-minute power pitch.

What’s the Big Idea Finale
On June 24 the three finalists will be joined by the People’s Choice winner to participate in the What’s the Big Idea Finale, pitching their Big Idea to a panel of independent judges in front of an audience The People’s Choice winner will join the three finalists to give a 8 minute pitch to a panel of independent judges to determine the overall winner.

The winner will receive a Big Idea Launch Package that includes up to $10,000 in start-up reimbursement costs, office space, and complimentary business services. 

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