On June 3, nine contestants duked it out for a spot in the finale of the What’s the Big Idea?! business plan competition, presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber, and Tech 20/20. At the end of the evening, three finalists emerged from the Knock Out Competitions.
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.
The three “big ideas” that prevailed were Martin Wade’s FlowSink, Michael Crain’s Vuture, and Brack Owens’ AmpTrader. As a new element to this year’s competition, the six contestants not selected will be eligible for the People’s Choice Pitch held at the finale. The finalists and the People’s Choice winner will face off at the finale on June 24 at the Relix Variety Theatre, and vie for the Big Idea Launch Package — $10,000 startup cost reimbursement, office space, and complimentary business services.
Prior to this round of competition, the team coaches — Misty Mayes, president of Management Solutions; Guille Cruze, founder and CEO of The White Stone Group Inc.; and John Sharpe, founder and president of StaffSource LLC — had a month to prepare their teams for the competition. The coaches helped the contestants refine their ideas and pitch skills. Team Sharpe produced all of this year's finalists.
Vuture, Michael Crain
A user-friendly iOS application that captures and preserves users' memories to be viewed today or in the future.
AmpTrader, Brack Owens
A website dedicated to facilitating peer-to-peer, item-for-item trading for guitar-related music equipment.
FlowSink, Martin Wade
Multi-use, portable sink continuously changes out dirty water with fresh and can be used in tasks like cleaning painting tools and mopping floors.