The McCloskey New Venture 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. Eligibility will be determined at the sole discretion of the IDEA Center.

All undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni from the University of Notre Dame may enter the McCloskey Competition. Students from all Colleges, all majors and all programs are encouraged to enter.Local community startup ventures (St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties only) are welcome to participate. Students from other local universities (including St. Mary’s College, Holy Cross College, Bethel College, IUSB, Goshen College and Trine University) are also eligible to participate.
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.

Nonprofits may participate in the competition but must demonstrate income generation potential beyond traditional philanthropy. 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 New Venture 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 IDEA Center.