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Finalist Selected For What’s The Big Idea?! Competition
By: 
Jenny Woodbery
Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Only three contestants were left standing after the Knock Out Competitions for the What’s the Big Idea?! business plan competition on June 3. The competition is sponsored by Rodefer Moss & Company, with support from Knowledge Launch and STC Staffing, and presented by the Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and Tech 2020. Prior to this round, the coaches – Parker Frost, founder of Gigmark Interactive; John Tolsma, owner of Knowledge Launch; and Jimmy Rodefer, CEO of Rodefer Moss & Company, PLLC – had one month to mentor and prepare their contestants.

The Knock Out Competitions pitted three contestants against each other, one from each team, in three separate rounds. The contestants had eight minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of five judges, and then had two minutes of questions and answers with the judges. The judges identified one winner from each round, narrowing the group from nine to three.

The Finalists

Team Frost
Survature Inc. is an innovative online survey tool that enhances Web-based surveys. Like other survey websites, Survature provides services through Web browsers and automates survey delivery, data collection, data analysis, and report generation. However, unlike other survey websites, Survature reveals not only what the survey taker answered, but how they answered it using a patent-pending technology called Answer Cloud. Answer Cloud is able to collect behavior and then preform behavior analysis. Creator Jian Huang said because of Answer Cloud, Survature has a unique offering – allowing the survey administrator to “see” the behavior of the survey respondent.

Team Rodefer
PipeFighters Square aims to save pipe fitters time and energy with its innovative tool. Creator and long-time pipe fitter Steven W. Pierson said the product is the first of its kind. The tool allows pipe fitters to put the pipe on any angle degree, which is an important part of pipe fabrication. You can also measure the degree the fittings are on existing pipe installations, including horizontal, vertical, and rolling offsets. The product is not only limited to pipe fitting, it can be used on carpentry, masonry, and automotive jobs.

Team Tolsma
Neural Energy Games is reimagining how college freshmen learn introductory level biology, chemistry, and physics, by creating educational video games. These engaging and interactive games would be used as supplemental material to a traditional lecture or lab classes. Creator Charles Chin hopes by leveraging the competitive and visual nature of video games, his company can help students struggling with different science concepts and better acquaint them with the material.

The three finalists will participate in the What’s the Big Idea?! Finale June 20 at the Relix Variety Theatre from 5-7 p.m., to determine the winner. They will each have 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of five judges and then respond to questions from the judging panel. The Finale event is open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged and can be done on the “Events & Programs” page on www.knoxvillechamber.com.

About the Knoxville Chamber

The Knoxville Chamber is the region’s leading business organization with more than 2,000 members that employ more than 276,000 individuals. More than 80 percent of Chamber members are small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. It fulfills its mission of Driving Regional Economic Prosperity by recruiting new businesses and supporting existing companies, and manages Innovation Valley, a regional economic development initiative. The organization actively advocates on the behalf of the business community. Members receive marketing, networking, professional development benefits, and many other cost-effective services. For more information visit www.knoxvillechamber.com.

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