Knoxville—Two student-owned ventures split $20K in seed funding grants from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Boyd Venture Fund. Since the fund’s inception in 2011, eight student-owned companies have been awarded a total of $62.5K in seed capital to achieve milestones that advanced their businesses.
The Fall 2012 winners were:
- InHouse GFX: a company focused on three service areas; screen printing, graphic/print design, and web development
- Adams Innovations LLC: a designer, importer and distributor of leisure hammocks with a unique suspension system that eliminates the needs to readjust and reposition the suspension ropes
The Boyd Venture Fund is administered through the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s College of Business Administration.
InHouse GFX, founded by Anthony Smith (public relations ’13) and Justin Ruffin (communications ’14), offers custom screen printing, graphic /print design and web development to its target market of sororities, fraternities and campus organizations. InHouse has worked with various UT campus organizations, including the Student Government Association, Team Vols, Me4UT, Alpha Kappa Psi, IFC, NPHC, Black Issue Conference, and numerous Greek organizations. “Our vision is to be on numerous college campuses where we will employ students,” explains Smith. “Our company will provide these students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in fields such as advertising, sales, marketing, production, management, and customer service.” Ruffin adds: “The Boyd Venture Fund grant will allow us to upgrade our computers and software and hire a much needed part-time production manager.” InHouse GFX can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adams Innovation LLC, founded by Alex Adams (mechanical engineering ’14), designs, imports, and distributes leisure hammocks that are affordable, all-inclusive (hammock and rope suspension system are sold as one unit), and offer a unique suspension system. “I am committed to bringing quality hammocks to a growing market,” says Adams. Adams’s interest in hammocks started during his freshman year at UT. “Hammocks are a great way to relax, but when I had to constantly reposition the ropes to keep the hammock at the height I wanted, I thought that there must be a better way,” he says. His research into ropes and the logging market, which he used to create his unique hammock suspension system, ultimately led to a suspension system that does not require readjustment. He intends to sell his product online and through major outdoor retailers. His Boyd Venture Fund award will allow him to order his initial inventory and be prepared to sell in the Spring. The hammocks are marketed under the trade name Xada. Adams can be contacted at: email@example.com.
“Creating new local businesses is the cornerstone to a community’s success,” said fund benefactor Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corp. “These businesses create jobs, pay taxes that fund other investments such as education and support the local community with philanthropy. I cannot imagine a better return on investment than supporting future generations of entrepreneurs.”
Boyd Venture Fund grants are available to any UT Knoxville student-owned business and are awarded each Spring and Fall.