Boyd Venture Challenge

Boyd Venture Challenge

The Boyd Venture Challenge is a seed fund grant conducted in the fall and spring semesters each year.  Any UT student-owned (doctoral, masters, undergraduate) business is eligible to apply, and it is open to all UT Knoxville students regardless of academic discipline or degree program.

To qualify for the grant money, each business must be legally established (federal tax ID, state business license, LLC, etc). The student owner(s) must be enrolled in a UT degree program in Knoxville at the time of application.

To apply for the grant, the student owner(s) representing the company should submit an executive summary of the business, a pro forma budget, and a “use of funds” statement detailing how the grant funds would be spent to move the business forward. This information should be sent to with “The Boyd Venture Challenge” in the subject line of the email.

Upcoming Deadlines for Fall 2014:

  • Campus-wide notification soliciting applications will go out: October 2014
  • Executive Summary must be submitted by: October 31, 2014
  • Do include in a cover sheet YOUR NAME, CONTACT INFORMATION, ACADEMIC YEAR, MAJOR.  Do not include your name in the submission document itself. The document author must remain anonymous to the judges.
  • Invitation to pitch to the grant award committee sent out by: November 14, 2014
  • Presentation to committee: November 21, 2014
  • Notification of Awards: November 24, 2014
  • Awards Ceremony: TBD

Pitches may be done by Skype or video conferencing, for management teams not on campus.

Up to $20,000 is available to be awarded. The money may be allocated to one company or among several worthy companies. It is not necessary that all available funds be awarded this round. Grant funds will be paid out against invoices.

The grant-award committee will consider:

  • Need for capital
  • Viability of the business concept
  • Growth potential


The judging panel has suggested that they would like to see the following addressed in the presentations and the executive summary. By covering these points your presentation will be much stronger:

  • 1. Name of the Business and start-up activities to date
  • 2. A clear definition of the market problem or opportunity you have identified.
  • 3. A clear description of the business model… price, cost, profit
  • 4. Description of your value proposition
  • 5. What talent will be required/what talent is already on board
  • 6. Timeline, milestones and costs to move from current status to operating entity, if you are not already in operation.
  • 7. Financial projections
  • 8. How will business achieve sustainability; what future products or services will follow
  • 9. How much funding and for what purpose (milestones to be accomplished) are you requesting the grant funding.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is made possible by the generosity of Randy Boyd, President and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDog brands. Radio Systems is a business built on the knowledge that pets are members of the family. Radio Systems’ 400 worldwide employees produce the industry’s most popular and innovative products in pet training, containment, safety, and lifestyle for an audience dear to their hearts: their own pets.

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