Boyd Venture Fund

Boyd Venture Fund

Read about Fall 2013 grant winners here!


This is a “seed-fund” grant, conducted in the Fall and Spring each academic year, and is available for any UT student-owned (doctoral, masters, undergraduate) business. All University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), students, regardless of academic discipline or degree program (doctoral, masters, or undergraduate) are eligible to apply.

To qualify for the grant money, each business must be legally established (federal tax ID, state business license, LLC, etc). The student owners must be enrolled in a UT degree program in Knoxville at the time of application.  However, meeting with the grant-evaluation committee after graduation is acceptable.

To apply for the grant, the student(s) 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 Fund” in the subject line of the email.

Upcoming Deadlines for Spring 2014:

  • Campus-wide notification soliciting applications will go out: March 3, 2014
  • Executive Summary must be submitted by: March 24, 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 : April 2, 2014
  • Presentation to committee: April 11, 2014
  • Notification of Awards: April 18, 2014
  • Awards Ceremony: April 25, 2014

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. Time-line, 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 Fund 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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