Two Gillings entrepreneurs are winners at this year’s Carolina Challenge

April 08, 2013
Two teams of entrepreneurs affiliated with Gillings School of Global Public Health are among the top four Carolina Challenge winners for 2013.

 
Yang Chen, Camille McGirt and Reena Gupta (l-r) claimed the second-place overall prize for their work with Healthy Girls Save the World. Photo by Patrick Vernon.

Yang Chen, Camille McGirt and Reena Gupta (l-r) claimed the second-place overall prize for their work with Healthy Girls Save the World. Photo by Patrick Vernon.
Liz Morris (left) and colleague Sarah Nilson, a student at N.C. State University, pose with their Carolina Challenge award for their company, Sanitation Creations. Photo by Patrick Vernon.

Liz Morris (left) and colleague Sarah Nilson, a student at N.C. State University, pose with their Carolina Challenge award for their company, Sanitation Creations. Photo by Patrick Vernon.

Sanitation Creations, founded by environmental sciences and engineering alumna Liz Morris, MS, won the Challenge’s Alumni Showcase, and senior Camille McGirt, in the health policy and management Bachelor of Science in Public Health program, won second place overall for her organization, Healthy Girls Save the World.

 
Morris and McGirt, who made presentations at the competition on April 4, won $5,000 and $10,000, respectively, to pursue the goals of their organizations.Morris, who received her master’s degree in 2011, began development of the Dungaroo, a waterless, odorless toilet, as a thesis project. Now a member of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, her company, Sanitation Creations, is in position to unveil the prototype of the toilet on April 29. (Read more about Morris in Carolina Public Health magazine.)
 
McGirt’s organization offers workshops for young women that include education about nutrition and physical activity. She works with girls ages 8 to 15 to promote healthy bodies, minds and relationships. A recipient of the N.C. Campus Compact’s 2012 Community Impact Award, McGirt is also a Bryan Social Innovation Fellow at UNC.
 
Established in 2005, the Carolina Challenge is a student-led program, supported by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The competition is designed to identify and support outstanding entrepreneurial ventures, including those in the emerging area of social entrepreneurship, from all schools and departments throughout the University.
 
Emphasis is placed upon forming interdisciplinary teams that have the right combination of skills and knowledge to successfully implement the venture idea. Once teams officially enter the competition in January, they gain access to a wide range of resources to help them learn how to turn their ideas into viable business plans.
 
Each team must include at least one student, faculty member or staff member from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Finalists present their plans to a panel of judges comprised of successful entrepreneurs and business people as well as community and university leaders.
 
Approximately $50,000 in total prize money is distributed among the most promising ventures each year, with a top prize of $15,000. Top prizes are provided by the John Stedman Endowments.
 
This year’s top prize winner ($15,000) was awarded to Betty’s Better Breads, which bakes gluten- and dairy-free baked goods. Betty Cogdell, undergraduate in environmental studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the organization’s founder.

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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.