CHARLOTTE:  Two enterprising students, both women in the UNC – Chapel Hill Entrepreneurship Minor program, are the inaugural recipients of the LeighDeux Scholarship awards.  Adele Bernard and Rachel Atkinson are launching their own separate beverage companies and will use their scholarship money to cover start-up expenses.


Adele Bernard, from Asheville, N.C., will graduate in the UNC class of 2016 with a B.S. in Public Health Policy and Management and a minor in Public Health Entrepreneurship.  Adele’s company, Pitt’s Craft Beverages, offers affordable and healthy low sugar beverage alternatives.  Upon product certification, the beverage line is ready to be sold in retail stores.


“The LeighDeux scholarship will positively impact Pitt's Craft Beverages' operations.  It will truly be making all of the difference for us.  The award will be used this summer to cover local certified kitchen expenses, and start the certification process to have our own kitchen space and acquire new equipment,” said Bernard. 


Rachel Atkinson, a 2015 graduate and native of Durham, N.C., is majoring in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development with a minor in Entrepreneurship in the field of Geography.  Her company, Native Beverage, produces a line of pecan-based milk alternatives local to the Southeast. The business provides customers with a delicious, dairy-free milk alternative and supports Eastern NC farmers pursuing a native, environmentally sustainable crop.


The LeighDeux scholarship will help Native pay for equipment and ingredient purchases in preparation for launching at the end of the year.  Atkinson said, “I want to thank LeighDeux. This award was a life-saver for me.  I learned I had won just as the main business competition season was ending, and I was still short of my fundraising goal. This award goes a long way in bridging that gap and will allow me to keep on my launch schedule!”


UNC Alumnus Leigh Goodwyn and her business partner Leigh-ann Sprock of Charlotte, N.C., co-founded LeighDeux in 2012.  Their company, a textile design and manufacturing company producing fabrics, bedding and interior décor designed originally for students living on campus created the scholarship program as a key component of their mission to inspire women to pursue entrepreneurship.


The LeighDeux scholarship awards are given to female students enrolled in the Minor in Entrepreneurship through a competitive process. The recipients were selected by a committee, and based on the candidate’s interest in launching their own ventures, whether while enrolled at the University or following their graduation.  The scholarship awards provide support for research, travel, internship opportunities or initial start-up funding.  Recipients will receive advice from LeighDeux and will have the opportunity to meet with the LeighDeux  founders for regular mentoring.

 

 Partners Leigh Goodwyn and Leigh-Ann Sprock of Charlotte, North Carolina, launched LeighDeux after Goodwyn’s oldest daughter had difficulty sourcing sophisticated bedding in the XL twin size. The two Leigh’s quickly realized there was a demand for upscale dorm furnishings. Recognizing the challenges of living in a small space, they set out to create a line that would prove functional, as well as capture the essence of a professionally designed space. 

 

 LeighDeux decided that it was not enough to launch a dorm collection, they wanted to build a brand that stood for something more.  “We want to make more than chic dorm décor.  We want to make a difference,” said Goodwyn.  

 

 Sprock said a core component of their mission is to encourage young women to start their own businesses and promote female entrepreneurship. “Our goals are really very simplistic.  Our décor is pretty with a purpose.  We want to help reinvigorate the textile industry in the Carolinas, create jobs and give back.”  

 

 With those goals in mind, LeighDeux decided that a portion of their proceeds would go to fund scholarships for deserving students.  Goodwyn said their mantra is simple: Deck a dorm, prep a mind!  “When you shop LeighDeux (www.leighdeuxdorm.com), you are helping to further a young woman’s education.”