The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge has been postponed until 2015

Dear Entrepreneurs,

Thank you for your interest in the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge. We have decided to postpone the Challenge until 2015. In the interim, we will be contemplating whether it makes sense to scale the Challenge and how we might go about doing so. If you have questions, comments or ideas about the Challenge you can reach us at

And, of course, we are always excited to hear from environmental entrepreneurs, so do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance.

Cherokee-McDonough Challenge Team


The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge is designed to identify, fund and develop high impact environmental business ventures. Up to five ventures will be offered $20,000 in seed funding and will be invited to participate in an intense three month accelerator.

Apply to the Challenge

What’s In It For You

  • $20,000 in seed funding
  • Access to Cherokee, William McDonough, and the Challenge Advisory Committee
  • Three months of free co-working space
  • Assistance with incorporation (LLC or C corp), accounting and tax compliance set-up, developing an intellectual property strategy, preparing fundraising documents, and communicating effectively
  • Weekly feedback and idea exchange through a group dinner hosted by Cherokee, as well as office hour sessions with the Challenge Team and Advisors
  • At the conclusion of the Challenge you should at least: 1) be properly incorporated with investor-ready fundraising documents; 2) have a working prototype of your product that can be used for demo and illustration purposes with investors (ideally you will be ready to release this version of the prototype to early adopters); 3) be adept at communicating with investors and knowledgeable of the fundraising process and sources of capital (from grants to crowd-funding to angel and venture capital); 4) be connected to a strong regional network of investors, entrepreneurs and advisors

What We Want

  • Talented, passionate and determined entrepreneurs
  • Economically and environmentally sustainable business ventures or ideas — champion one of our ideas or bring your own
  • Business models that turn environmental liabilities into assets
  • Scalable, high impact ventures that will greatly enhance the environment and economy


Cherokee-McDonough 2013 Finale Video

Cherokee-McDonough 2012 Finale Video

Key Dates

Jan. 15Applications available online
April 15Application deadline
May 6Finalists notified
May 12-16Entrepreneur interviews conducted
May 30Selected ventures notified
June 12Kick-off dinner and social with entrepreneurs
June 19 – Aug. 28Thursday night updates
Sept. 11Showcase finale

Advisory Committee

The Challenge Advisory Committee is composed of an experienced and talented group of entrepreneurs, advisors and investors from the Research Triangle. The Advisory Committee helps with selection and mentoring.