Annika Abell is #MadeForKnoxville.

Annika’s entrepreneurial spirit is an essential aspect of her life–from learning about it as a child on her family’s farm, to working for media agencies in Europe and, finally, to helping turn her UT students towards the excitement of entrepreneurship.

So, she was the woman for the job when it came to orchestrating a collaboration between her digital marketing class and The United Way of Greater Knoxville. Their joint t-shirt shop allows Annika’s students to actively execute entrepreneurship while also providing an opportunity to give back to the community. 

“It’s been great to not only be an entrepreneur, but also help make entrepreneurs through my classroom.”

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In Their Own Words..

I was born and grew up in Germany, where I was influenced heavily by my family’s background in farming. It’s only fitting that I ended up in Knoxville, TN where agriculture and entrepreneurship are both staples.

My entrepreneurial journey started when I was first getting my MBA in South Georgia. After working for a media agency in Europe and freelancing for a few years, I started a remote partnership with an old colleague. Our company handled social media, marketing and design for companies like Goodyear, The German Youth Hostel Association, and many others. 

I took a break from entrepreneurship to get my PhD, and that’s what brought me to East Tennessee. I’m now on the Marketing faculty at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business. I get to teach young entrepreneurs and corporate hopefuls how to utilize the emerging tools in the field of digital marketing to generate real business results. 

We started a collaboration between my digital marketing course and The United Way of Greater Knoxville where my students run an actual t-shirt shop with locally sourced designs. It’s been great to not only be an entrepreneur, but also help make entrepreneurs through my classroom.


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