lenge before I went to business school,”
Richardson says of the company’s beginnings. Because Chasnovitz was a Carolina
student at the time, they were eligible to
enter the competition. At that point, they
knew they wanted to create market access
for the cooperatives’ products, but they didn’t really have a plan. “We developed a
business plan in the course of doing the
Challenge,” Richardson says.
Though she would hone the plan further while in business school, Richardson
said the Zebra Crossings proposal was solid
enough to win both the social track and
the people’s choice awards in the 2006
Challenge. She says that while in business
school, she benefited from the launch
course in a number of ways.
“The first phase is a feasibility analysis,”
she says. “You create a survey that goes to a
panel of people you don’t know to find
out what they think of your venture idea.
It was great to get some external feedback
— that was a huge plus for us.” She also
appreciated the input of other MBA students through the launch process and their
help as she built a financial model. “I’d
done my best to do a P&L statement, but
this took it to the next level for me to be
able to project what funds I’d need, what
revenue I could expect.”
Late last summer, Zebra Crossings
( www.zebracrossings.com/zencart) was
moving toward partnership with an environmentally conscious wedding company,
Zoller, who co-teaches the “Launching
the Venture” course, says that the students
and alumni who develop their entrepreneurial skills represent the best of the next
generation. “They are going to solve our
most pressing problems,” he says. “They are
acting on their convictions, and that’s what
entrepreneurship is all about. It’s not about
the great idea; it’s about acting on it.”
— Kathleen Kearns
An article about Nourish International was
published in the September/October 2008
Carolina Alumni Review, available online to
GAA members at alumni.unc.edu/archive.
An article about Sindhura Citineni ’04, a
winner of this year’s GAA Distinguished Young
Alumni Award, appears on page 50 of this issue.
Carolina Challenge Winners
Multidisciplinary teams have taken part in the Carolina Challenge business-plan competition each year since 2005, competing for prize money that now totals $50,000. The top
winners in the John Stedman Commercial Track and the John Stedman Social Track, listed
below, indicate the range of enterprises teams have come up with. Each year, honorable
mentions, a People’s Choice award and the Liquidia Science Prize also are awarded.
2008 First Place, Commercial:
Mei Lu (American Green/Beautiful
Green), which plans to introduce
miniature golf to China’s middle class.
2008 First Place, Social:
Carolina Liquid Assets, which plans
to manufacture and distribute a ceramic
water purifier to Cambodia’s poor.
2008 Second Place, Commercial:
Applied Micro Products, a line that
uses patented, biodegradation-based, time-release technology, including an environmentally friendly wood preservative.
2008 Second Place, Social:
Greener Greek Initiative, a custom-tailored energy auditing and consulting
service for fraternity and sorority
houses that wish to reduce their carbon
2007 First Place, Commercial:
SizeMeUp, a provider of software to
help online apparel retailers reduce
returns by ensuring that customers
order the correct sizes.
2007 First Place, Social:
Universal Nut Sheller, a venture to
manufacture and more widely distribute
a simple sheller that can shell peanuts
98 percent more efficiently than by
2007 Second Place, Commercial:
Knowble Inc., an online networking
and communications tool to help academic and corporate researchers collaborate.
2007 Second Place, Social:
Know Your Plate, a venture that promotes sustainable agriculture by taking
the farmers’ market online.
2006 First Place, Commercial:
TRG Online, now New Media Campaigns, which offers a product for managing online voter-campaign marketing.
2006 First Place, Social:
Zebra Crossings, an online retailer of
fair-trade wedding gifts created by artisans in economically disadvantaged
2006 Second Place, Commercial:
Health e-Lunch Kids, an online service
offering healthy lunches delivered to
children in schools and camps nationwide.
2006 Second Place, Social:
Rival Magazine, a magazine that aims
to promote collaboration on service
projects among students at UNC and
2005 First Place, Commercial:
RemedEase, a patented first-aid treat-ment/product for stopping nosebleeds
quickly and effectively.
2005 First Place, Social:
New Worlds Through Literature, a
foundation that facilitates and organizes the donation of enriching literature
and libraries to people of all ages who do
not have prior access to such literature.
2005 Second Place, Commercial:
CollegeGrocer.net, a student-owned
and -operated business to provide to-the-room grocery delivery for students
who live on the UNC campus.
2005 Second Place, Social:
Nourish International, which implements sustainable strategies to alleviate
global malnutrition by developing
socially conscious entrepreneurs.