The Company Lab is showcasing two complementary pitch competitions during the third week of October, when Startup Week CHA typically takes place.
Will This Float?, presented by Double Cola, will focus on idea-to-early-stage businesses, and Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union’s Idea Leap rewards early stage companies that are looking to accelerate their growth.
“As CO.LAB takes a season off from Startup Week CHA and how it’s been done traditionally, we wanted to refocus on a couple of really important and impactful events,” CO.LAB CEO Tasia Malakasis said. “We’ve created opportunities for young entrepreneurs this year, adding even more value.”
Double Cola + Will This Float?
This year, The Double Cola Co. is observing 100 years in business, and its centennial celebration culminates at the Will This Float? pitch competition, which will take place on Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
This pitch event, which will focus on consumer packaged goods, is a chance for entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of business to “float” their ideas to local judges and an audience.
There will be two pitch opportunities — one for adult founders and another for students.
“Innovation has long been one of the hallmarks of the Chattanooga ethos,” Double Cola CEO Alnoor Dhanani said. “It is something we identify with, and it is an integral part of who we are. That’s why we are so proud to back CO.LAB and Will This Float."
Founders who win Will This Float? will win a $5,000-prize, quarterly consulting guidance, and free passes to next year’s 3686 Entrepreneurial Festival in Nashville.
Student participants will be awarded with consulting services from local experts, including Malakasis, who scaled and sold artisan goat cheese company Belle Chevre, as well as Double Cola’s top business leaders.
Find more information about Will This Float? here.
TVFCU’s Idea Leap
On Oct. 18, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union will host its annual Idea Leap Grant Pitch Competition which will culminate with five entrepreneurs winning a total of $100,000 in grant funds.
After pitching their business to a panel of local judges, these entrepreneurs will win one of this year’s grants – grand prize: $50,000, first place: $20,000, and three runners-up: $10,000 each – to expand their business and boost growth.
TVFCU received nearly 150 applications and narrowed them down to 23 quarter finalists in July. TVFCU’s panel of community judges is in the process of selecting 10 semifinalists to move to the next stage of the competition.
TVFCU’s Idea Leap Grant is an extension of the credit union’s Idea Leap Loan initiative that was
created in 2016 to support early-stage small businesses.
To date, TVFCU has funded more than $4.2 million in loans to over 175 entrepreneurs through this program. Additionally, TVFCU has awarded nearly $200,000 in Idea Leap Grants to dozens of local businesses since the program’s inception in 2018.
Past winners include The Hot Chocolatier, Hutton & Smith Brewing Company, Chatt Taste Food Tours, Locals Only Gifts & Goods and Mad Priest Coffee Roasters.
“TVFCU has shown tremendous support for the regional small business community through Idea Leap Loans and the annual Idea Leap Grant program,” said Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services. “We’re excited to continually invest in the communities we serve."