KNOXVILLE (WATE) — Six East Tennessee startups will vie for a chance to win up to $15,000 to grow their business as part of Innov865’s 2017 Startup Day pitch competition.

This year’s six competitors will pitch their businesses before a panel of investor judges on Thursday, September 21 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre for the chance to win up to $15,000. Organizers say the competition will be bigger than ever with the addition of a second cash prize.

The Startup Day 2017 Judge’s Choice Prize presented by the Innov865 Alliance is worth $10,000 and the Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize presented by SunTrust Bank is worth $5,000. Competitors will have an opportunity to win both prizes.

“Innov865 Week is our opportunity to highlight the diverse entrepreneurs who are driving innovation and economic growth in the region,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC). KEC is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “This year’s Startup Day pitch competitors more than exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit found here in East Tennessee. I am excited to see just how far they will go.”

Innov865 Week will celebrate Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit by bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, students, and the East Tennessee community for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables and social events. Innov865 week kicks-off September 18 and ends with the pitch competition on September 21.WATE 6 On Your Side is proud to partner with Innov865 Week for a series called “The Elevator Sessions.” WATE 6 On Your Side decided to put each startup in the pitch competition to the test with a one minute elevator pitch. Learn about each startup and vote for your favorite pitch: