Cherokee Announces 2012 Cherokee Challenge Winners

July 16, 2012

An important aspect in the development of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency strategies, and environmental reclamation projects is the sharing of ideas and leveraging of successes for the benefit of the broader environment.’s motto of “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t”™ emphasizes the need for our business partners and individual donors to first seek methods to reduce energy consumption, lower operational emissions and implement sustainable business practices.  Often, this requires leveraging the strategies and methodologies that have proven to be successful for other organizations.

Most environmentally-conscious organizations foster an environment of sharing systems and expertise that will benefit other businesses and communities. partner Cherokee Investment Partners is a good example of an organization actively leading the effort to identify start-up green tech enterprises and innovative concepts, and to help mentor and fund these fledgling businesses through its Cherokee Challenge program.

The Cherokee Challenge is a “greentech accelerator” through which the team at Cherokee solicits applicants with the potential to become high impact environmental ventures, and then helps to fund and mentor these ventures.  This year’s “inaugural class” of three start-up ventures was announced last Thursday.

“The quality of the applications we received was encouraging,” said the Challenge’s JT Vaughn, “We appreciate not only the effort made by all the startups that applied, but the high impact ideas they’re advancing. In an ideal world, all business models would be environmentally net positive, not just less bad. We don’t live in that world now, but we are thrilled to be working with an inspiring group of entrepreneurs who share our business and environmental ideals.”

The three North Carolina startups to receive funding are LYF Shoes and JouleBug of Raleigh and Sanitation Creations of Carrboro.The three ventures will each receive capital investment seed funding, office space and back office support at Cherokee’s Raleigh, NC offices, and mentoring from an advisory committee of experienced investors and entrepreneurs assembled by Cherokee.

As a partner, Cherokee has done its part to lead the way towards energy independence, by monitoring its own annual operational emissions, working to reduce those emissions, and taking steps to achieve carbon neutrality by investing in’s third-party validated renewable energy projects.

Cherokee has invested in more than 70 companies, ranging from clean tech, energy efficiency, software and healthcare.  And Cherokee Funds has raised over $2 billion of private equity capital focused on remediating brownfields, and has restored more than 550 brownfield parcels around the world.  In addition, Cherokee Gives Back, the philanthropic arm of Cherokee Investment Partners, focuses on activities thatadvance global improvements to poverty and focus on environmental sustainability.

We commend the team at Cherokee Investment Partners for creating this unique opportunity to support the innovations of the selected environmental entrepreneurs, and to help fight climate change and lead the transition to a stronger and more sustainable future.