Knoxville Area Urban League


PARADIGM CHALLENGE: East Knoxville Edition

Building Knoxville One Business At A Time

What is the Paradigm Challenge?
The Paradigm Challenge is a place-based, industry specific ideation pitch competition that challenges entrepreneurs to solve business and economic growth challenges facing the East Knoxville business community (i.e. Magnolia Avenue, Asheville Highway, Cherry Street, Five Points, and Burlington)

What industry sectors are targeted?
Health Care, Retail/Light Manufacturing, and Technology

Does the pitch have to be for a new business?
Yes, although you don’t have to be a new entrepreneur, the pitch ideas must be for a new business

Who can participate in the Paradigm Challenge?
Anyone residing in Knox County can submit a pitch idea

Where can I get an application?
Applications can be found on the following websites:,,,, and


When is the deadline for submitting applications?
The deadline for application submittals is December 30, 2016, no later than 5 p.m. EST

When will the pitch contest be held?
The pitch day will be Saturday, June 17, 2016

How many people will be selected to pitch their business idea?
The top 25 applications submitted will be narrowed downed to the top 10 finalist who will be invited to pitch their ideas on pitch day

How many winners will be selected?
There will be one winner selected in each targeted industry sectors

What will the winners receive?
The winners in each industry sector will receive $10,000 in monetary prizes, pro bono professional services through the Knoxville Business Support Network, and possibly local government assistance

Will the winners be required to invest financially?
Yes, winners must have the financial capability and resources to invest in their business idea.

Tentative Milestone Dates
  • Competitor Applications Open: October 17, 2016
  • Competitor Applications Deadline: December 30, 2016
  • Semi Finalists Announced (Top 25 ideas selected): January 10, 2017
  • Finalists Announced (Best 10 of 25 selected): January 24, 2017
  • Finalists’ Business Plan Assistance: February 1 – March 31, 2017
  • Finalists’ Pitch Practice(s) Sessions: April 1 – May 30, 2017
  • Paradigm Challenge Pitch Day: June 17, 2017


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