Mendoza School of Business

Notre Dame business plan competition moves to semifinal round

Published: December 22, 2008 / Author: Carol Business

The annual Notre Dame Business Plan Competition is advancing to the semifinal round, with 57 teams out of an original field of 64 moving forward. The competition, which is hosted by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Mendoza College of Business, awards prize money totaling up to $40,000. Finalists will be announced March 20, with the winning teams announced during the competition’s final event on April 17, 2009.

The competition consists of two major categories: The Ninth Annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition intended for traditional entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stages of being launched; and the Eighth Annual Sustainable Social Venture Plan Competition, which provides an opportunity to combine entrepreneurship with a social mission or purpose. Thirty-nine teams will contend for $15,000 grand prize awarded to McCloskey winners, while 18 semifinalist teams will compete for the $15,000 grand prize for Social Venture Plan winners.

The purpose of the Notre Dame Business Plan Competition is to provide would-be entrepreneurs with a real-world opportunity to test the validity of their ideas and innovations, and to develop skills directly transferable to the market. The Social Venture event also combines entrepreneurship with a social mission or purpose, often referred to as serving a “double- or triple-bottom line” of sustainable profitability and social purpose and/or environmental awareness. 

Students and alumni from all colleges within the University – all members of the Notre Dame Community – are invited to enter business plans.  At least one member of each team must be a full-time Notre Dame student or alumnus. Representatives from incubators and venture capital firms throughout the country will attend the final event in mid-April at Notre Dame. Members of IrishAngels, a select group of entrepreneurs within the Notre Dame community who support new venture creation, will act as judges and mentors for the competition.

Past McCloskey winners include SolarShade, an aftermarket product designed to make windows energy-efficient, and NatureCare, a line of proprietary organic lawn products. Winning Social Venture teams have been Por Fin, Nuestra Casa (PFNC), a business that converts shipping containers into affordable homes for impoverished residents of Mexican border towns, and PEPY Tours, a travel agency specializing in volunteer and adventure tourism in Cambodia.


For more information about the competitions or the entrepreneurship program at the University of Notre Dame, contact the Gigot Center at or (574) 631.3042.  





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