Finalists selected for 2009-10 Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions

Author: Carol Elliott


The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business has announced 12 teams that will advance to the final round of the Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions this month. The final event takes place on April 23 (Friday) at 1:30 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business. Winners take home more than $40,000 in prize money.

“Some judges report that they’ve seen the best plans ever – this from seasoned judges who’ve read quite a few plans,” said Karen Slaggert, program manager for the Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions, noting that quality is up this year over previous years.

More than 140 judges and mentors – comprised of members of IrishAngels, a select group of entrepreneurs within the Notre Dame community who support new venture creation – have participated in evaluating competition entries and providing teams with feedback.

The number of teams increased as well, up by 55 percent compared to the previous year. A total of 101 teams entered the Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions last fall, with 76 teams advancing to the semifinal round in February. Each team must have at least one Notre Dame student or alumni as a member. The finalists include undergraduate, graduate and alumni teams.

“Competitors have much to gain by participating,” Slaggert said. “Many seek exposure to potential investors; others simply need the jump-start to formalize their ventures, and appreciate the mentoring and feedback provided by the judges.”

The Notre Dame Business Plan Competition is comprised of two contests: the McCloskey Business Plan Competition and the Social Venture Plan Competition.

The McCloskey Competition is intended for traditional entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stage of launch. This is typically 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.

McCloskey finalists are:

  • EmergeU, a plan to reduce the college dropout rate by providing emotional intelligence training to high school juniors and seniors in order to better prepare them to be successful in college.
  • Eptics LLC, a venture intended to develop and commercialize Progenitex™, a laboratory process that rapidly expands progenitor bone marrow cells collected from umbilical cord blood.
  • Mileage Revolution, Inc., a fuel distribution system whose patent-pending technology effectively and simultaneously combines the use of diesel fuel with natural gas in heavy-duty diesel trucks and diesel pickup trucks.
  • ProMazo, a talent management software tool that helps companies recruit and retain the next generation of employees.
  • Virtual Pet Finders, an innovative web-based Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking solution targeting the small pet market.
  • Weekend Student Adventures (WSA) Europe, a travel service catering to the American college student studying abroad.

The Social Venture Plan Competition is an opportunity to combine 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. The Social Venture Competition puts a distinctively Notre Dame spin on entrepreneurship, pairing it with the University’s history of social mission.

Social Venture Plan finalists are:

  • cleaND Water, a water decontamination process that uses a simple UV bulb.
  • labeling people, a scalable process to legitimize independent craftspeople in the marketplace and spark a vibrant artisan economy.
  • Lacuna Footwear, a footwear design that has particular benefit for those who suffer with sensitive and degenerative skin conditions often associated with diabetes.
  • Morph & Thro, an American eco-active wear company created by professional athletes for the modern active person.
  • Popsicles with a Purpose, a unique frozen taste made of fresh tropical fruit and healthy components – with a social twist.
  • Red Carabao, a low-budget hostel that aims to transform communities and travelers by promoting responsible travel, sponsoring community service trips, and developing the local economy.

Contact: Gigot Center, 574-631-3042