Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Anderson Center Accepting Applications for Boyd Venture Challenge

March 13, 2020

In light of the university's COVID-19 guidance and to best support our student entrepreneurs, the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has amended the original schedule for the spring 2020 Boyd Venture Challenge. This includes three key changes:

  • APPLICATIONS: ACEI will accept applications through April 20, allowing students additional time to apply while acclimating to online courses and other adjustments.
  • PRESENTATIONS: Students will present remotely to the judging panel. The current presentation date of April 24 will be changed to a date later this summer. ACEI is working to determine this date and will share the new date when available.
  • ELIGIBILITY: Graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled at UT at the time of the application deadline are still eligible to pitch if they graduate prior to the presentation date. 

Please contact ACEI@utk.edu with any questions.


Student-owned startup businesses seeking funding may apply to the Boyd Venture Challenge beginning March 9. The seed-fund grant awards up to $30,000 to legally established student startup companies each spring semester. The competition is hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

The challenge is open to any legally established early-stage company owned by a UT student. The student owner(s) must be enrolled in a University of Tennessee, Knoxville undergraduate, master’s, or Ph.D. degree program at the time of application.

Students must submit an application to the Anderson Center by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 6. Applications should consist of an executive summary, request for funds and milestones that will be accomplished with the funds if awarded. Full application instructions and eligibility details are on the Boyd Venture Challenge website.

Teams that advance to the presentation round will pitch to a panel of business professionals on Friday, April 24.

“The Boyd Venture Challenge provides important seed funding to help early-stage businesses achieve their next milestone,” said Tom Graves, Anderson Center director of operations and director of the competition. “Along with the funding, students receive valuable feedback from a judging panel of experienced entrepreneurs.”

The Boyd Venture Challenge is made possible by the generosity of Randy Boyd, interim president of the University of Tennessee System and founder and executive chair of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDog brands.

Since 2011, the endowed fund has awarded $412,000 to 37 student-owned start-ups.



Carrie McCamey (865-974-9964, cbaker14@utk.edu)