UT Student Businesses Awarded Boyd Venture Grants

February 5, 2014

KNOXVILLE—Three entrepreneurial ventures owned by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students were granted a total of $17,000 by the Boyd Venture Fund.

Since the Boyd Venture Fund’s inception in 2011, 14 student-owned companies have been awarded a total of $104,500 to advance their businesses. The fund is administered through the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s College of Business Administration.

The fall 2013 winners are:

Catalyst Wheels LLC, a designer and supplier of high-tech carbon-fiber disc wheel covers for triathletes. Triathletes Justin Clark, a computer science major, and Nick McCormick, a physics and economics major, were in search of a cheap alternative to expensive aerodynamic drag-reducing bicycle wheels. The team spent two years producing a bicycle wheel cover that outperforms many specialty wheels at one-eighth of the cost.

Style with Benefits, an e-commerce website that works with artisan groups in developing countries to offer unique limited-quantity products. A portion of each sale is donated to charities in the purchaser’s community. Chelsea Padgham, an economics major, created Style with Benefits as a way to combine a for-profit business with social consciousness. The business purchases products, often handbags, jewelry and accessories, from artisans in developing countries, with a portion of the sales proceeds going to smaller, often overlooked social cause organizations in the purchaser’s region.

iCHOP Hair Designs Inc., a hair salon and barber shop catering to the unique needs of the African-American community at and around UT. Early in his college career, Xavian Thomas, a management major, recognized the need for an African-American-oriented salon near UT. After cutting hair as a favor for friends and discussing the need for such a salon with many students, Thomas decided to open a facility close to campus. He is still in search of the ideal location.

For more information about the Boyd Venture Fund, visit http://www.andersoncei.utk.edu/competitions/boyd-venture-fund.


Tom Graves (865-974-6131, tgrave10@utk.edu)