Published January 5, 2022

PYA Announces the 2nd Annual Ballard Innovation Award Competition

PYA is pleased to announce that applications will open January 12, 2022, for the Ballard Innovation Award. The annual award, established last year, allows emerging companies to compete for a $50,000 investment of capital and in-kind services to support their emerging, innovative ideas. The award is the largest combination of cash and in-kind services available to East Tennessee start-ups.

“As we once again open the floor for entries for the Ballard Innovation Award, it is our goal to highlight and help East Tennessee entrepreneurs with supportive strategies that further their entrepreneurial efforts,” said Marty Brown, President and CEO of PYA. “This award allows us to connect with those innovators to help them grow and thrive as an established part of our community.”

One of PYA’s core values is embraced in the word HELP, something that the 38-year old firm has demonstrated through its work with high-potential and innovative firms like those in the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the “Spark Innovation Center” at the University of Tennessee Research Park.

Interested entrepreneurs should download, complete, and submit the application form which will be made available on January 12 on the application page. Applicants are encouraged to submit links to videos, articles, multimedia presentations, or other supporting documentation.

The application deadline is February 9, 2022. Winners will be announced on March 9, 2022.  

In its inaugural year, the Ballard Innovation Award first prize was presented to 490 BioTech. The company has developed bioluminescent technologies that enable new drugs to move more quickly through the pharmaceutical testing process. Eonix, LLC, a battery company, and Ascend Manufacturing, which works in 3D printing technology, placed second and third, respectively.

The award is named in honor of PYA’s Chief Alliance Officer, Tom Ballard, who has spent decades working on creating relationships and supporting the East Tennessee region’s entrepreneurial community. He is also the publisher of, which focuses on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. The publication recently launched Teknovation Weekend, which focuses on more traditional business news.

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