Dear Entrepreneurs,

We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Raleigh Innovators Program. The signature 12-week Innovators Program embraces core principles of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Modern Leadership to enable both early-stage startups and corporate teams to rapidly test and validate their business models in the market.

The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge will be sponsoring the clean technology track, which will allow three clean technology startups to join the 2015 cohort of software startups in the small to large enterprise space. All startups that successfully complete the program will be awarded a $25,000 grant. For more information, click here.

Cherokee-McDonough Challenge Team

View the press release


The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge is designed to identify, fund and develop high impact environmental business ventures. Up to three ventures will be offered $25,000 in seed funding and will be invited to participate in an intense three month accelerator.

Apply to the Challenge

Cherokee-McDonough 2013 Finale Video

Cherokee-McDonough 2012 Finale Video

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.

Origins of the Challenge

In the spring and summer of 2011, we hosted the inaugural Cherokee Challenge. The Challenge originated out of a desire to test some of our own environmental business ideas and to support other startup environmental ventures.

With those goals in mind, we decided to host a startup competition to allow entrepreneurs to champion our environmental business ideas or their own. Inevitably, we learn more each year about what the Challenge can and should be and we will continue to refine and improve the model. It has evolved from a grant-based competition the inaugural year to the seed-investment and accelerator model we use today.

The Challenge is designed to identify, seed-fund and develop high impact environmental startups. Through the Challenge, we hope to help environmental entrepreneurs bring to market disruptive, industry altering ideas.