Finalists selected for the 2010 Notre Dame Invention Convention

Author: Carol Elliott

Robinson Community Learning Center

The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, in conjunction with the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC), has announced seven finalists who will advance to the eighth annual Invention Convention Youth Business Plan Competition.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend this free event, which will be held March 30 (Tuesday) from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Giovanini Commons of the Mendoza College of Business.

Invention Convention participants are students at South Bend Community School Corporation high schools and will compete for $1,000 in cash prizes. Notre Dame undergraduate and MBA students participate as mentors and event judges. The youth finalists will present business plans of their own design.

Finalists and their plans are:

  • Phoebe Wangui Njoroge, Clay High School, “Voice of the Community”
  • Tanashia Mudzimurema, Edison Intermediate School, “Tanashia’s Snuggles”
  • Michael Cwidak, Clay High School, “Sweetak Videos”
  • Sarah Bright, Clay High School, “SomeBrightIdea”
  • Tarek Al-Zoughbi, Clay High School, “Ewii Gewii’s”
  • Ahmad Abu-Gdairi, Clay High School, “BoB Comics”
  • Kyle Sera, Washington High School, “Exciting Excursions”

Throughout the year, the Gigot Center and RCLC work with youth from South Bend high schools to enhance their business, academic and life skills through an entrepreneurship curriculum provided by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). The program cultivates a spirit of entrepreneurship by providing innovative learning experiences relevant to the entrepreneurial world. The students learn the basics of starting their own business and engage with Notre Dame mentors to develop a unique business plan of their own. This year-long program culminates with a business plan competition, where students have the opportunity to showcase their work.

The Invention Convention is facilitated with the help of Notre Dame student coordinators.

“This program encourages creativity and innovation while allowing the high school students the opportunity to develop self-confidence and ownership of their ideas, things from which they will benefit immensely in whatever path they choose to follow,” said Notre Dame senior Chelsea Slaggert.

Junior Cody Borgstrom added, “Student involvement with the program epitomizes the Notre Dame spirit. We as mentors work with students to create viable business plans that directly affect the South Bend community. It doesn’t get any more proactive or rewarding than that.”

Contact: Jessica McManus Warnell, program manager, 574-631-9182,