Mendoza School of Business

ND Business plan competition finals, venture fair open to the public

Published: April 1, 2016 / Author: Carol Elliott

Members of the public are invited to attend the final event for the 16th Annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition, held April 15 at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The competition is organized by Mendoza’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship.

Visitors can meet budding entrepreneurs and view new venture exhibitions as part of the McCloskey Venture Fair, which takes place 10 a.m. to noon at the Stayer Center for Executive Education on the Notre Dame campus. Live presentations by the eight finalist teams follows from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium, where more than $300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded. Audience members also will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite venture as part of the Sutherland Family Award for Best Presentation.

The finalists represent a broad range of industries and ideas, ranging from a new type of biodegradable packaging, to a suicide prevention mobile application, to an improved design for a laparoscopic catheter. See below for a full list of the finalists.

We are so very pleased with the diversity of ventures advancing to the final round,” said Karen Slaggert, the Gigot Center associate director who manages the competition.  “Our undergraduate and graduate students have done an outstanding job:  Seven undergraduate and seven graduate teams have advanced to the top 20 in the semifinal round.  Those students helping our alumni teams have added tremendous value, as well.”

New partnerships with Under Armour’s Cupid’s Cup Competition and the ACC InVenture Challenge also have created great energy and excitement, added Slaggert. Two teams with Notre Dame ties advanced to the Cupid’s Cup semifinals – menswear designer Ash & Anvil and performance dress shoe maker Wolf & Shepherd, who moved into the finals scheduled for April 7.

The McCloskey Business Plan Competition is intended for traditional entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stage of launch. This is defined as ventures that have earned less than $500,000 in cumulative revenue, received less than $500,000 in external financing, and have been in operation for less than three years.  

A total of 124 teams entered the McCloskey Competition last fall, with 20 teams advancing to the semifinal round, which takes place on April 14. From there, eight ventures will move to the finals on April 15, where they will present their plans live.

All Notre Dame students, alumni, faculty and staff may compete in McCloskey; however, each team must include a current Notre Dame student who is integrally involved in the business planning process.

Nearly 200 judges and mentors, including members of the Irish Entrepreneurs Network and the IrishAngels Investing Group, have worked with the teams to valuable feedback and mentoring.

For more information about the McCloskey Business Plan Competition, visit

McCloskey Business Plan Competition 2016 semifinalists are as follows:

  • AdLove LLC: an app that rewards users for checking into and rating commercials on live, online, and recorded TV
  • AI2OT – Artificial Intelligence for the Internet of Things:  an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that optimizes online to in-store marketing by serving locally targeted ads that drive consumers into brick and mortar retailers
  • BAP:  the Panama Food Bank, the first ever food bank created in Panama by raising about $300,000 of seed capital
  • Certus Therapeutics, Inc.: a novel precision nanoparticle drug delivery platform known as Lypos™ used in treating cancer
  • Chromanostics: a technology that allows the creation of low-cost, point-of-care diagnostics for nutrition status (vitamin or mineral levels)
  • Enza: a community-based crafting initiative dedicated to enhancing the lives of women across South Africa
  • Global Water Stewardship: an initiative to help resolve sanitation issues in the developing world by educating people and engineering sustainable centralized solutions
  • Hazel Green Holdings: a pay portable toilet, Pay-Potty, that uses surge prices to manage restroom lines
  • Heroes on the Go: a GoPro rental and editing service that helps young sports enthusiasts commemorate their experiences without the having to purchase a GoPro camera
  • Lap Poole: an ergonomic and efficient laparoscopic poole suction catheter for use in surgery that overcomes the limitations of the spot suction catheter for the common maneuver of suctioning bodily fluids
  • Lifelytic: a patent-pending readmission sensing system for the 25 percent of heart failure patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge
  • Nadi Leaf: a brand new computation engine for career planning that utilizes a proprietary algorithm and data analytics
  • Pillar: a prescription marketplace that allows a consumer to receive and price prescriptions on a mobile device
  • POINTS Test Prep: a premiere standardized test preparation curriculum company that specializes in ACT/SAT in-school prep for secondary schools
  • POLCO: a civic engagement and policy participation platform that allows citizens to participate in their city’s town hall meetings in a simple online and validated way
  • RNS Packaging: the maker of FunPak, the world’s first fun-shaped, biodegradable alternative to bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts and other toxic packaging
  • S.I.R.E.N.: a marine aquaponics technology aimed at developing a novel and innovative system for sustainable food production
  • Safetap: a suicide prevention mobile application that includes school-specific resources (for high school and college students), a therapist search, as well as crisis resources (including emergency hotlines and chat)
  • WINDMO: a wind-turbine technology that maximizes the amount of energy captured at any wind speed
  • WonderWe: a crowdfunding tool utilizing social media to raise funds for individuals, churches, missionaries, schools and nonprofits. 

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