The following are eligible to participate in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition:

  • All undergraduate and graduate Notre Dame students may enter the McCloskey Competition. Students from all Colleges, all majors and all programs are encouraged to enter.
  • Notre Dame faculty and alumni may compete as long as a current Notre Dame student is leading the team effort: student(s) must be integrally in the business planning process, leading efforts to conduct market research, develop the business model, write the business plan and present/represent the venture in the semifinal and final rounds.
    • Faculty or alumni are welcome to enter the McCloskey Competition by submitting the required documents for Round 1. Those alumni/faculty teams advancing to Round 2 must be willing to integrate students into the process: in order to further our educational mission, these individuals transition into an advisory role for the purposes of the team competition, and will allow student(s) to lead the business planning process on behalf of the team. Please note at least 50% of your team should have an affliation to Notre Dame, as current students or alumni.
    • Please note that the “team” effort – for the purposes of competing in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition – is likely different than the management team of the venture as it moves into the market.
  • Notre Dame teams may include non-ND individuals as long as the team is led by a current student.
  • Participants may compete as individuals, but are encouraged to create teams (maximum of 7 per team) with a variety of different skill sets and strengths.
  • Individuals may participate on more than one team.


The McCloskey Competition focuses on ventures that have not yet been launched or are at their earliest stages of launch. An eligible venture is one that has generated less than $500,000 in cumulative revenues, has received less than $500,000 in external financing and has been in operation less than three years. Plans that are affiliated with an existing business are typically not eligible to compete. While these guidelines provide general parameters, eligibility will be determined at the sole discretion of the Gigot Center.


Nonprofits may participate in the competition but must demonstrate income generation potential beyond traditional philanthropy. While we recognize that startup funding and initial capital for operations may come from philanthropic funds/individual donations, we view a social enterprise – regardless of the type of entity formation – as designed to operate like a for-profit business, which must include a revenue-generating income stream in addition to traditional philanthropic sources (donations, grants, foundations, etc.). All entries in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition will be judged on their ability to become financially self-sustaining, that is, to generate revenue in excess of costs.


Past participants in the McCloskey competition may enter the same venture in subsequent McCloskey competitions only if the business model has changed significantly in response to feedback provided. Eligibility determination is at the sole discretion of the Gigot Center.