March 6, 2020
Cleaning product alternative wins spring 2020 Vol Court Pitch Competition
The Beachy Clean, a company offering non-allergenic cleaning products in sustainable packaging, won first place in the spring 2020 Vol Court Pitch Competition hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.
Genesee Semon, a senior studying finance and entrepreneurship in the Haslam College of Business, pitched the idea to offer non-toxic cleaners in reusable bottles. After the initial purchase of a bottle, consumers can use refill stations in grocery stores to replenish the products.
“I was made aware of how truly detrimental the plastic crisis we are in will become and decided I needed to influence a change,” said Semon. “After much research, I found that single-use bottles were one of the largest culprits in this crisis, so I decided to make cleaners. While researching, I found that a lot of the ‘eco-friendly’ cleaning brands contained allergenic, if not toxic, chemicals.”
Semon, from Nashville, says The Beachy Clean aims to reduce the use of plastic and allow the consumer to make informed purchasing decisions.
With the first-place Vol Court prize Semon plans to begin lab testing and move The Beachy Clean closer to market.
Semon’s first-place prize includes $1,500 from American Home Design, office space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, consulting services courtesy of PYA, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
Second place went to Dalton Maddox for Napsack, an idea for bags created to safely store outdoor gear. Maddox, a Knoxville native, is a senior supply chain management major and entrepreneurship minor in the Haslam College of Business.
“As an Eagle Scout and owner of a full-service camping business, I ran into a problem storing gear,” Maddox said. “No matter what tent, air mattress or sleeping bag I had, it was nearly impossible to fit the gear back in its original bag. Napsack solves this problem with an easy-to-use and durable product.”
Napsack aims to provide an easier, sleeker option for gear storage, while increasing security and convenience for customers. Maddox says the prize will allow him to order the first batch of Napsack products and begin market tests.
He received $1,000, office space in the UTRF Business Incubator, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
Third place winner Hoangnha Vo, a junior from Memphis, pitched Vo Tech, a mobile application offering users the option of contacting emergency services through the use of a passphrase. Vo is an electrical engineering major and entrepreneurship minor in the Tickle College of Engineering.
Application users create a specific phrase that will enable the app to contact emergency services and share the user’s location.
“This idea provides the average person with a way to contact the police without putting themselves in further harm,” said Vo. “The app allows them to use a discrete method in the presence of someone armed and dangerous.”
Vo says he plans to use his Vol Court winnings to begin research and development of the platform and work with programmers to design the application.
Vo received $500, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
“We heard some outstanding pitches and ideas this semester,” said Shawn Carson, Vol Court director. “The participants brought great energy to the competition and speaker sessions.”
The Vol Court Pitch Competition was the final event of the spring 2020 Vol Court Speaker Series. Leading up to the competition, participants attended five workshops covering entrepreneurship topics like life hacks for entrepreneurs and social media marketing.
Vol Court is a free event hosted by the Anderson Center each fall and spring semester. It is open to UT students, faculty and staff as well as members of the local community. Partners for the competition include American Home Design, the UT Research Foundation, PYA, Morehous Legal Group, Three Roots Capital and Innovative Design Inc.
Carrie McCamey (865-974-9964, firstname.lastname@example.org)