The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee

Graves Business Plan Competition

2018 applications are now open. APPLY HERE.

The annual Graves Business Plan Competition offers University of Tennessee undergraduate students the opportunity to win startup capital for an original business idea. There are prizes for first, second and third place in two business categories: growth and lifestyle.

The competition takes place each spring semester and is open to any full-time undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.




In general, any undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is eligible to apply. Specifically:

Read full submission guidelines and eligibility here.


To apply, fill out and submit the application form. To view a PDF of the application form, click here. NOTE: Final applications must be submitted via the online form in order to be considered for competition. After preliminary review by the judging panel, invitations to present in the first round will be issued March 28.

Student Financial Advisors

Students majoring in finance and accounting are eligible to apply for student financial advisor roles. These students will have the opportunity to consult and advise an early-stage student startup in the financial portions of their presentations. Student financial advisors will be matched with startup teams prior to the first round of competition. Once paired with a team, the student financial advisor will be eligible for prizes based on their team’s advancement in the competition. Student financial advisors will meet with their paired startup prior to the first round, and, if their team advances, prior to the final round of competition. Advisors will attend their team’s pitch during competition and the judges’ final deliberation following competition. Student financial advisor prizes are awarded to advisors whose teams win first, second and third in both the growth and lifestyle categories.

Student Financial Advisor Awards

Student Financial Advisor Applications

To apply for a student financial advisor role, fill out and submit the application form.

Student Financial Advisor Schedule

It is the responsibility of the student financial advisors to advise competitors on their financial information prior to competition rounds.

Student Financial Advisor Eligibility

Applicants must be a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, undergraduate student at majoring in finance or accounting. Must also be considered a senior or junior by academic standing. Please contact the Anderson Center at if you would like to discuss eligibility outside of these requirements.

Student Financial Advisor Time Commitment

Student financial advisors are responsible for completing, at most, four meetings with their paired startup. Advisors are required to attend the pitch and judges' deliberation for each round of competition in which their startup competes (up to two pitches and two deliberations). If the advisor's startup competes in the both rounds, this will require roughly 10 hours of work between March 28 and April 28.

Our Benefactors

In 2016, anonymous donors made a donation to endow the Undergraduate Business Plan Competition in honor of Tom Graves. The competition was renamed the Graves Business Plan Competition in 2017. Graves has managed the program since its inception in 2008.

Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation ~ 418 Haslam Business Building
Knoxville, TN ~ 37996-4140 ~ Phone: (865) 974-5126 ~ Email:

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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System