MC to host first-ever Scots Innovation Challenge

Maryville College to host first-ever Scots Innovation Challenge

Sept. 27, 2018

Maryville College will host an inaugural pitch competition Feb. 28, 2019, and administrators are inviting students, faculty, alumni and community members to enter their business ideas.

Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart announced details of the “Scots Innovation Challenge” during Innov865’s “Start-Up Week” events in Knoxville. On Sept. 26, the College hosted a networking and informational program at the Elkmont Exchange Brewery and Eating House founded by alumnus Alex Violette ’07. The event, “Innovation in the Liberal Arts,” featured remarks by MC alumni and faculty entrepreneurs including Dr. John Gallagher, professor of management, and MC alumnus Adam McCall ’96, CEO of Prisma Renewable Composites.

“We’re excited about this opportunity for our students and the larger Blount County community,” Bogart said at the event. “More than a competition, this is also a chance for people to learn from entrepreneurs and business leaders who can teach them how to get a business idea off the ground.”

The Scots Innovation Challenge will include four sessions hosted by Maryville College faculty and the start-up community at large. Topics covered will include funding, legal consulting, customer discovery, sales, marketing and more.

One-hour sessions will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday evenings, beginning Jan. 24 and continuing through  Feb. 14. All sessions will be held on the Maryville College campus in Anderson Hall, Room 220.

The first-place winner will be awarded $1,500; second place, $1,000; and third place, $500.

The Scots Innovation Challenge will be the first pitch competition in the area organized to support the local entrepreneurial community.

“Blount County has an emerging entrepreneurial scene with the newly established Sky City Initiative and a reputation of successful start-ups and innovators in the region,” said Rachel Buchanan of the Blount Partnership and founder of the Sky City Initiative. “Partnerships with the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Blount County Public Library and Maryville College all seek to support the growing needs addressed by the entrepreneurial community.”

Bogart said the pitch competition was in keeping with the College’s mission.

“Maryville College’s founder, the Rev. Isaac Anderson, lived by the motto ‘do good on the largest possible scale’ and inspired those around him to adopt it. Among our small campus community and dedicated faculty, the ‘doing’ of that motto is taken very seriously,” Bogart said. “The College welcomes ideas that can solve problems and meet the needs of the local and global community.”

To learn more about how to connect with Maryville College, visit the College’s website or contact Christy McDonald, director of the Maryville College Career Center.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”