Entrepreneur teams enter semifinal round of Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions

Author: Carol Elliott

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A total of 76 teams have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2009-10 Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions, putting them one step closer to winning more than $40,000 in cash prizes.

The annual event, hosted by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will hold its final round of competition on campus on April 15 and 16, 2010.

“We are very pleased with the quantity, quality and breadth of our entries in the ND Business Plan Competitions this year,” said Karen Slaggert, program manager for the Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions. “From viable technical solutions for serious medical issues, to practical solutions to social inequities, to unique and exciting approaches to retail opportunities, the entries are varied and intriguing.”

The Notre Dame Business Plan Competition is composed of both the 10th annual McCloskey Business Plan for for-profit ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stage of launch, and the ninth annual Social Venture Plan for ventures with a social or environmental purpose. Eligible teams must have at least one member who is a Notre Dame student or alumnus. The aim of the competition, in addition to awarding prize money, is to help would-be entrepreneurs learn how to take an idea for a venture and write a feasible business plan, as well as to provide networking and feedback opportunities.

Of the 101 teams that entered business plans in the fall, 56 advanced in the McCloskey competition, while 20 moved forward to the Social Venture Plan semifinal round. Each team now will be matched with an experienced mentor who will work closely with them to provide feedback and advice. For the final round, teams travel to campus to present their business plans, where winners of the $15,000 cash prize for the McCloskey competition and the $15,000 prize for the Social Venture Plan will be announced, as well as other prize money awards. Members of IrishAngels, a select group of entrepreneurs within the Notre Dame community who support new venture creation, serve as judges and mentors.

“Teams receive great feedback about their business plans at each stage of the competitions,” Slaggert said. “Our mentors and judges include for-profit and social entrepreneurs, bankers, industry experts and private investors. They provide invaluable, real world perspectives and insights that are vital as teams prepare to move forward with their new ventures.”

One notable past winner of the competitions is Better World Books, a book reseller that BusinessWeek named as No. 1 in its “Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” survey.

More information about the Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions is available on the Web at http://nd.edu/~entrep/ or by contacting Karen Slaggert at 574-631-2714 or Karen.Slaggert.6@nd.edu.