Gigot Center Partners with NFL to Offer Unique and Exciting Program in Entrepreneurship

Author: Mendoza College

In October of 2011, Gigot Center benefactor Gary Gigot was approached by two former Irish football players who have had successful careers in the NFL:  Jeff Faine, currently playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, and Brady Quinn, of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Their idea?  Their passion?  To help players learn how to build a solid financial foundation, and to help them learn more about how to invest their money wisely and with impact.

In April of 2013 this program will become a reality as 30 current and former NFL players come together on the campus of the University of Notre Dame to participate in the NFL’s newest Business Management & Entrepreneurial Program: Investment for Impact.  Partnering with the NFL and Notre Dame’s Center for Executive Education, and building upon ND’s top ranked business program, one of the most progressive and successful endowment management organizations in the country, and a wealth of entrepreneurial expertise (Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and the Irish Entrepreneurs Network), we have created a curriculum whereby NFL players (current and former) can create and improve their aptitude and skill at pursuing entrepreneurial ventures by providing a solid accounting and personal finance framework.  We also will introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship as a serious investment option.  This program is ideal for players who are passionate about giving back and want to learn how to do so through sound business practices.

The National Football League has a strong history of efforts to continue the professional development of its current and former players.  Currently, a range of programs are offered under the Business Management Entrepreneurial Program track, by such esteemed schools as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Northwestern, and most recently, the University of Notre Dame.

This exciting new program leverages several unique opportunities at Notre Dame, including Entrepreneurship Week (featuring the McCloskey Business Plan Competition), the Irish Entrepreneurs Network, hands-on action learning opportunities, and individual mentoring. One of the ways to immediately apply what they learn is by leveraging the McCloskey Business Plan Competition where they will evaluate real investment opportunities as they are pitched live while utilizing an investor’s analytical tools.  This will provide them with experience evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities and assist them better develop their own investment presentations.  Attendees will attend select events during Entrepreneurship Week, including the Venture Fair and the McCloskey Competition final events.

Classroom instruction will be led by both Notre Dame faculty and experienced, successful investors and entrepreneurs.  Learning is brought to life through real world examples and experiential learning will give the players a solid foundation from which to grow.  Each participant will have the opportunity to bring in a business or social entrepreneurial idea which will provide both a live case study and a personal mentoring focus.  Participants will submit ideas or existing business plans prior to the start of the program. This will allow time for our mentors to review and be ready to provide feedback during the time on campus.  Players will revise the plans throughout the program as well and immediately apply the tools and concepts presented by the faculty.  Given our focus on investing in – as well as starting – new ventures, particularly social ventures, those who do not have their own ideas/business plans will still have the opportunity to develop and discuss ideas with their mentor during the program.

Establishing relationships with mentors will provide ongoing support as the players leave the program and begin to evaluate and implement their next steps. 

For additional information about this program, please contact Karen Slaggert at