KEC Holds Annual What’s The Big Idea Pitch Competition, and You Decide Who Advances

What's the Big Idea, KEC, Feb 2024
What’s the Big Idea, KEC, Feb 2024

What’s the Big Idea is an accelerator-style competition designed to inspire entrepreneurial action. Think Shark Tank meets accelerator lab. Eligible entrepreneurs submit a 1-minute video to pitch their idea or company. On Feb 12, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) announced those 21 entries, and now the public gets to vote on who advances to the next round!

Voting ends on Sunday, Feb 18. On Feb 21, those with the most votes will be announced, and on the weekend of March 1-3, they will participate in the competition weekend. 

 Mar 3 is the finale of the event, where each entrepreneur will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea and 3 minutes to answer questions from the judges. This is open to the public at Scruffy City Hall, with doors opening at 6pm and the pitches beginning at 6:30. You can RSVP here to join the event. 

The winner of What’s the Big Idea will be able to go through the KEC Co.Starters program. CO.Starters is a ten week program that teaches young businesses how to be sustainable and thrive. The winner will have a mentor throughout the process as well. At the end of the program, they are awarded $10,000 to put toward their business goal. 

K.I.S.S. Caboose, Downtown Knoxville, January 2023 (Photo Courtesy of Gina Kelly)

This year brought a variety of ideas and companies. There is a mix of AI and technology, sustainability solutions, products, hydration towers, a way to turn animal waste into clean drinking water, and a cyber-security idea that is much smarter than this writer. I watched each video and was happy to see some familiar faces. Amelia Bartlett, who recently loaned her writing talent to Inside of Knoxville through articles on the Victorian Holiday Home Tour, is pitching her start-up called A/B Studios. And Gina Kelly with KISS Caboose pitched her tip-based city tour and shuttle service. Watch them all and find your favorites!

“Big Idea is always one of my favorite events of the year. It’s exhausting; it’s exhilarating; and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to welcome back old friends and celebrate new voices in our entrepreneurial community.” Jim Biggs, Executive Director of KEC

What’s the Big Idea Winner-B-Roll Bank, KEC, Feb 2023

Last year’s winner was B-Roll Bank, which uses AI to organize digital content. It was pitched by Jonathan Halley. 

Support some great ideas and cast your vote(s) here!

If you have any questions about public voting or the information below, please feel free to reach out to Delaney Lawson ( or Kelsi Walker (

What’s the Big Idea, KEC, Feb 2024