University of Tennessee

Graves Business Plan Competition Now Accepting Spring Applications

February 14, 2020

Students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a business idea or early-stage startup are invited to apply to the Graves Business Plan Competition. The semi-annual competition, hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovationin the Haslam College of Business, is accepting applications through March 5.

The pitch competition has been held annually since 2007. The competition is held during both the fall and spring semesters. UT students enrolled in undergraduate and master’s degree programs are eligible to apply.

“The competition helps students advance business ideas and startups to the next level,” said Tom Graves, director of the Anderson Center and of the competition. “In addition to prize money to boost their startups, students have the opportunity to receive feedback from the judging panel and engage with Anderson Center programs designed to help grow businesses.”

First, second and third prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively are awarded in both growth and lifestyle business categories. All student-owned companies, whether legally formed or in the planning stages, are eligible to compete.

Applications for the Graves Business Plan Competition are due by March 5 at 11:59 p.m. Students must complete the application form to apply. Applicants advancing to the first presentation round will pitch to a panel of business professionals and alumni entrepreneurs on Friday, March 3. The final round of competition will be held on Friday, March 17.

Competition Also Accepting Student Financial Advisor Applications

Students majoring in finance and accounting, who are not applying to compete with a business idea or early-stage startup, are eligible to apply for student financial advisor roles. Those selected will consult with and advise an early-stage student startup in the financial portions of their presentations. 

Student financial advisor prizes of up to $300 are awarded to advisors whose teams win first, second and third in both the growth and lifestyle categories.

Interested finance and accounting students should apply using the student financial advisor application form.


Carrie McCamey (865-974-9964,