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Patton Foundation hosting ‘Shark Tank’ style grant competition for APSU students

By: Miriam Cresswell September 11, 2023

Spencer Patton
Spencer Patton.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Patton Foundation – a springboard for entrepreneurs founded by local businessman Spencer Patton – is launching the Patton Entrepreneurship Grant (PEG) Challenge, a “Shark Tank”-style competition series for Tennessee students with grant prizes worth up to $5,000.

Austin Peay State University (APSU) will host the inaugural challenge, which opens with a PEG Keynote from Patton at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 13 at Legends Bank Lecture Hall (Kimbrough Building Room 119). Students can then take a 10-lesson program over the next several weeks, which ultimately culminates in the PEG Challenge competition on Oct. 16.

A Tennessee native, Patton is the founder of multiple companies in the logistics space, including Patton Logistics, Route Consultant and Hello Truck Lease. In under 10 years, he built his businesses from $0 to greater than $100 million. In his PEG Keynote, “The Tyranny of How,” Patton will encourage entrepreneurs to overcome the naysayers. The talk is open to the entire APSU community.

“Guidance from entrepreneurs and business leaders has played a key role in shaping my career,” Patton said. “That’s the heart behind the Patton Foundation and the PEG Challenge – to pay it forward by offering education and assistance to young entrepreneurs with big dreams.”

The PEG Challenge competition will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Mabry Concert Hall. Each participant will have 10 minutes to present their business idea, followed by five minutes of Q&A with a panel of judges. Three grants will be awarded: $5,000 for first prize, $2,500 for second prize and $1,000 for third prize.

The challenge is open to all APSU students. In the weeks leading up to the challenge, participants will complete the PEG Workshop to help hone their pitches. The online video series will feature tips and tricks in addition to inspiring interviews from fellow entrepreneurs.

APSU students interested in participating in this fall’s PEG Challenge must apply by Oct. 3. To submit an application or learn about upcoming PEG Challenges, visit spencerpattonfoundation.org.

PEG Challenges are planned for high schools and universities throughout the state, bolstering the Patton Foundation’s mission to empower Tennessee’s young entrepreneurs by providing education and opportunities for competition.

“I believe equipping entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to thrive in a competitive business landscape will have a direct impact on economic growth in our local communities,” Patton said. “I can’t wait to see the ideas students bring to the table.”

About The Patton Foundation

The Patton Foundation serves as a dynamic springboard for aspiring entrepreneurs who are eager to propel their ideas to new heights. Functioning as a catalyst for growth, the Foundation provides invaluable support and resources to these budding visionaries. From offering financial assistance via grants to facilitating coaching and mentorship programs, the Patton Foundation stands as a steadfast pillar of guidance and empowerment.