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Political Software Firm, 'Fair Trade' Wedding Site Win Carolina Challenge

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A web site for the "fair trade" of wedding merchandise and a group that has developed an online campaign manager for political candidates won the top prizes in the

Carolina Challenge

entrepreneurial business plan competition last weekend.

Competitors divided $50,000 in prize money in the second annual event at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of the Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative.

Entrants were required to have at least one UNC faculty member or one UNC student. The final day's competition included 16 teams. The Challenge opened with 149 teams.

TRG Online took first place ($12,500) in the commercial category with its online political campaign manager software suite. The team had eight members.

In the social track,

Zebra Crossings

took the $12,500 first-place prize. The two-person team launched a web site last summer that provides "fair trade" wedding gifts by artisans in economically disadvantaged areas. Zebra Crossings also received the $5,000 peoples choice award.

Health e-Lunch Kids, an online service offering healthy lunches delivered to children in schools and camps nationwide took second in the commercial category. Rival Magazine, a magazine for students at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University that aims to promote collaboration on service projects among students at the two institutions, was second in the social category.

Honorable mentions went to Campus Biodiesel, Height Courure, Lending Library and Resusitech. Campus Biodiesel and Resusitech also received the science awards.

Winners were selected by panels of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, philanthropists and foundation executives.

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