Startup Accelerator Spotlight: The Works

The Works is designed to support early-mid stage media and technology brands develop scalable business models to support focused customer segments.

Name of Accelerator: The Works

The Works

Jim Biggs, Executive Director

The Works

Jonathan Sexton, Program Director

Location: Knoxville, TN


Executive Director: Jim Biggs

Program Director: Jonathan Sexton

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator program.

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives.

The Works is designed to support early-mid stage media and technology brands develop scalable business models to support focused customer segments. Our program runs from June 1-August 15th in Knoxville, TN.

Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.

The WorksThe WorksThe Works is an intensive 12-week accelerator that offers two tracks – Media and Technology. The Media Track is supported by Scripps Networks (Food, HGTV, Travel and more) both financially and with internal media expertise. You will work side by side with the producers and media professionals that create some of America’s favorite shows and entertainment brands. The mission is to grow your audience and monetize your influence.

The CodeWorks Track is for locally based growth stage companies looking to scale. It is designed for software developers, programmers, hackers (aka you write code) and will likely receive an investment from Angel Capital Group. CodeWorks teams will execute a prototype, and iterate on their software throughout the summer to create traction and kick start their journey toward success. The goal of the program is to build a product, get early adopters and be ready to take on investment capital by the end of The Works.

Screening Meeting with the Angel Group: Are You Prepared?

What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

Lack of time and funding. Existing in a small market without a wide base of customers is a challenge.

What do you enjoy the most? What do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?

New ideas, fresh energy and limitless opportunity all around.

Tell us about your success stories. Which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?

BaracksDubs is a YouTube Channel with 250M views. AirFlare is the first startup in the country using NASA licensed technology. There are many more, but those come to mind.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

  1. Have you talked to enough customers to determine if there is a need?
  2. Do you have the skills or industry expertise needed to get the job done?
  3. Do you have team and funding options?

Key to Startup Success: Customer Discovery

The WorksWhat else would you like to share?

Our region supports a broad array of organizations who seek to provide entrepreneurs with advice, guidance and financing to support their efforts. Those include Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the Knoxville Area Chamber, the Knoxville Area Urban League, Innovation Valley Partnership, the UT Research Foundation, the UT Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, TVA, the Regional Small Business Development Centers, Entrepreneurs of Knoxville and Score.

Moreover, this region is also home to several world-class institutions that both create and support entrepreneurs in East Tennessee. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Pellissippi State Technical Community College and Roane State Community College produce some of the most revolutionary ideas and technologies imaginable, and have added greatly to the abundance of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start new businesses here. Our collective efforts reflect a vibrant and resurgent community that is inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs here.

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Pam Goforth

Pam Goforth is Research Manager for FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.