Graves Business Plan Competition

Graves Award Winners Fall 2023

The Graves Business Plan Competition offers University of Tennessee, Knoxville students enrolled in undergraduate and master’s degree programs the opportunity to win start-up capital for an original business idea. Prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place in two business categories: growth and lifestyle.

First place: $5,000
Second place: $3,000
Third place: $2,000

The three-round competition takes place each spring and fall semester.

See the Fall 2023 Winners


In general, any student in an undergraduate or master’s degree program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is eligible to apply. Complete eligibility details available online. Specifically:

  • Students can apply individually or as a team.
  • Teams can choose up to four members to present. All members must be students.
  • Presenting team members must be enrolled in full-time undergraduate or master’s degree programs.
  • Previous winners cannot compete in consecutive semesters with the same business plan. Previous winners must use a different business plan to compete in consecutive semesters.


The Graves Business Plan Competition will accept applications each fall and spring semester. To apply, complete and submit the online application form. Final applications must be submitted via the online form in order to be considered for competition. After preliminary review by the judging panel, invitations to prepare a video for the judges will be issued.

Our Benefactors

In 2016, anonymous donors made a donation to endow the Undergraduate Business Plan Competition in honor of Tom Graves. The competition was renamed the Graves Business Plan Competition in 2017.