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Local entrepreneur receives $5,000 from Knoxville Area Urban League to grow business

June 13, 2017

Recently, Randy Boyd, founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, presented a check for $5,000 to Britnie Davis, the winner of the Knoxville Area Urban League’s CO.STARTERS business pitch contest.

Davis, owner of Britnie’s Balloon Bonanza, completed the Urban League’s 10-week CO.STARTERS training program, which allows entrepreneurs to build and test small business ideas and gain customer feedback and input from local, successful business owners. At the end of the program, participants pitch their businesses to a panel of judges for a chance to win $5,000.

Britnie’s Balloon Bonanza creates custom balloon arrangements for birthday parties, graduations and other events. Davis plans to open a retail store, where she will sell balloon decor and pre-made arrangements.

“I’ve always had a passion for crafts, but I needed to know more about running a business,” Davis said. “I want to bring excitement to events, and the CO.STARTERS class has helped me do that by teaching valuable lessons about understanding who my customers are and how to successfully market to my target audience.”

The Knoxville Area Urban League’s CO.STARTERS training program is for entrepreneurs at all stages. Participants discuss business concepts and learn through a collaborative process with a small group of entrepreneurs and guest speakers.

“Entrepreneurship is an important part of growing our community and sustaining the economy,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “I look forward to seeing how these entrepreneurs use the concepts they’ve learned during the CO.STARTERS program to grow their business and become leaders in our local community.”

Boyd funded the grant through the United Way of Greater Knoxville. The check presentation was made at Radio Systems Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of dog and cat products, which was founded by Boyd.

The fall 2017 CO.STARTERS class begins Sept. 9, and the Knoxville Area Urban League is seeking applicants interested in growing or starting a business. The Urban League also has lending capital from $5,000 to $250,000 available to businesses that may not qualify for loans at conventional financial institutions.

For more information, visit

About the Knoxville Area Urban League

Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, go to

For more information on the Knoxville Area Urban League and its programs, call 865-524-5511 or visit