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SPOTLIGHT: 2013 JNO Award Winners

Every entrepreneur, no matter their interest or venture, faces the same daunting problem -- securing funds.  Each year, students in the E-Minor who have a stated interest in launching their own venture can apply for the JNO Award in Entrepreneurial Studies.  These awards ($3,000 - 5,000 per year) are given to students in the Minor who have applied and been selected by a committee that is appointed by the Director of the Minor.  This money can be used for research, travel, or internship opportunities, and the winners work closely with faculty and staff as they develop their business plans.

The 2012-2013 businesses that received the JNO awards are StatusQuo, Native Beverage Co., and traade. 

StatusQuo, developed by Hunter Gray, Sarah Carter, Evelyn Kahihu, and Viv, is a non-profit that seeks to educate and destigmatize STD testing among university students.  Gray, Carter, Kahihu and Viv want to create mobile testing units that provide low cost tests and on-site rapid results.  StatusQuo won the bake-off during the fall semester introductory course in the E-Minor.  “StatusQuo was encouraged by our professor Dana McMahan and internship coordinator Lizzy Hazeltine to continue pursing our project as a real-life venture.  The JNO grant was the first step in making our project a reality,” Carter said. StatusQuo has used the money so far to cover traveling and networking expenses, as well as for materials used while competing in the Carolina Challenge.  StatusQuo plans on hosting a sexual health awareness event on UNC’s campus in the fall, where they will introduce SatusQuo’s brand to the student body.

Native Beverage Co. was developed by Glenn Lippig and Rachel Atkinson, and is a company that produces pecan milk from North Carolina pecan harvests in an effort to support N.C. pecan growers while providing a milk alternative.  Lippig and Atkinson began working on their idea last summer.  They wanted to create a business that sold nut milk made from local pecans.  After meeting with Buck Goldstein to discuss their idea, Goldstein mentioned the JNO grant and urged them to apply.  Lippig and Atkinson plan to use the money this summer to test the viability of their product.  “We competed in the Carolina Challenge, which led us to work through our financials...production and distribution methods.  Now all that’s left is determining once and for all if consumers will buy our product,” Atkinson said.

traade was developed by John Groves and is a company that seeks to capture value from used consumer electronics and apply this value to social-impact projects at home and abroad.  traade partners with different social projects/campaigns -- they currently have 47 campaigns -- and helps these campaigns get extra funding through the money made from recycling electronics.  Groves always had a love for business, so he thought the JNO grant could be a great opportunity to get a startup off the ground.  “With the JNO award I hope to continue finding new ways to encourage responsible electronics disposal and further develop my business,” Groves said.  Check out what traade is currently working on at traade.co/