McDonough Empowers Entrepreneurs in Cherokee-McDonough Challenge

William McDonough is partnering with Cherokee for the 2014 Cherokee-McDonough Challenge.  The intent of the competition for startups is to identify high impact environmental business ventures to help fund and develop. Up to five of the top ventures will be invited to participate in an intense three-month accelerator.  Additionally, top ventures will be offered $20,000 in seed funding.

Launched in 2012 by investor Tom Darden, William McDonough joined the program in 2013.  Darden has previously collaborated with McDonough on the Cradle To Cradle Products Innovation Institute, as well as the Cherokee Gives Back program.  McDonough explains why he supports The Challenge:

“Concern for the future can represent the worst of our fears and greatest of our hopes. What I love about the Cherokee McDonough Challenge is that everyone involved celebrates the greatest of hopes for principled human innovation. The Challenge makes things exciting because entrepreneurs can rise to high occasion with their brilliant business and technological solutions to urgent human and natural needs. This is the essential work of our time and it’s not just nice to see, it’s delightful to support.”

Involved with several organizations, William McDonough also serves as a Charter Member on the U.S. Green Building Council.  In the summer of 2013, the firm that originated Cradle to Cradle framework and certification protocol, MBDC, LLC, co-founded by William McDonough, announced the U.S. Green Building Council would incorporate the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Program, now administered by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (also co-founded by McDonough). The program is included in the latest version of its LEED ® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Version 4 rating system, effective November 2013.

The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge is a great opportunity for environmental entrepreneurs to obtain investment funding, as well as free office space, office support and advisement from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Additionally, top ventures will be able to showcase their ideas at a public promotional event.

The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge strives to create a positive impact on the world.  The Challenge has raised over $2 billion of private equity investment focused on remediating brownfields.  Brownfields, land formerly used for industrial purposes and contaminated by pollutants, still have the potential to be reused once it is has been cleaned. Funds raised by The Challenge have contributed to the restoration of over 550 brownfields around the world.

Entrepreneurs face challenges toward implementing their ideas and to develop into a profitable, rapidly scaling business.  The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge provides these innovators with the potential to reach a huge audience.  All of the concepts entered in the contest have the potential to help the planet.  As William McDonough believes, we need to do less bad and do more good; together as a society we need to be doing more than reducing our carbon footprint.

Internationally recognized designer and leader of the sustainable development movement  William McDonough is also the co-author of  Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance, as well as the author of many other texts noted for their influence in the sustainability movement  A full list of William McDonough’s published works can be found on his Amazon page.

Visit The Cherokee McDonough Challenge website for more information and details on the program. Application deadline is April 15. Applications are available online now.

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Follow William McDonough on Twitter at @billmcdonough.