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 five 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 6 p.m. Thursday evenings, beginning Jan. 17 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 ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,146.