Meet our Finalists!

Thank you to all of the great companies who applied and participated in the public voting round and congratulations to the 6 Finalists! 

First Take Co. 





Order Otter

Don’t forget to RSVP for Finale night on Sunday, March 3rd! 

About "What's The Big Idea?"

Shark Tank Meets Accelerator

Ever dreamed of being on Shark Tank? Have that great idea that your mom loves, but you haven’t told anyone else about? Know you’ve got the next big thing? “What’s The Big Idea?” is the event for you. Compete to win up to $10,000. WTBI is Shark Tank meets Accelerator with $10,000 on the line. 

Mentors All The Way

Work side-by-side with local business mentors to craft the perfect pitch for your new startup business or idea. We have business mentors that can help you with your business plan from start to finish from Legal, Marketing, Finance, Sales, Design, Technology, and more.


Who Should Apply?

  • Applicants with a concept or a new enterprise in the seed-capital, start-up, or pre-revenue stage;
  • Applicants who are at least 18 years of age;
  • Applicants with a concept that could lead to potential growth and job creation in the Knoxville, Tennessee area*.

* Defined as being located in Knox County or a contiguous county including: Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Grainger, Loudon, Roane, Sevier, and Union counties.

Who Shouldn’t Apply?

  • Companies that are acquisitions or buy-outs;
  • Companies that are expansions of existing companies;
  • Companies that are considered a franchise;
  • Companies that have a licensing agreement for distribution of products and services by others;
  • Enterprises that have raised equity capital from sources other than direct members of the venture, their friends, or their families;
  • Companies that have already won similar competitions;
  • Companies that do not intend to grow in the Knoxville, Tennessee area (as defined above);
  • Ideas will be judged on potential for growth and job creation.

*  Please read the “Official Rules” for What’s the Big Idea?!

Dates & Deadlines

  • 1/10/24 – Applications open
  • 2/2/24 – Applications close
  • 2/12/24 – 2/18/24 – Public Voting Open
  • 2/21/24 – Finalists announced
  • 3/1/24 – 3/3/24 – Competition Weekend
  • 3/3/24 – Public Pitch Competition + Finale

Interested in becoming a 2024 Event Sponsor? Please contact us at

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