Finalists selected for Notre Dame business plan competitions

Author: Carol Elliott


More than $40,000 in total prize money will be awarded to finalists in two business plan competitions sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Twelve teams – six for each competition – were chosen among 57 semifinalists.

The final business plan competition event, which is open to the public, will take place Friday (April 17) at 1:30 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business. The top three finalists from both the McCloskey Business Plan Competition and the Social Venture Competition will present their ventures, and the winners will be announced.

“In some ways, the competition is less about winning than it is about encouraging students to apply innovative ideas to solve problems,” said Patrick Barry, senior director of the Gigot Center. “In these challenging economic times, it is that ability to work as a team to solve problems and launch ventures that is most needed, whether it be to create value in the marketplace or to address a social inequity. This competition helps prepare our students to pursue both of these critical ventures.”

Barry further noted that this year’s competition set a record for student participation, with 200-plus involved. Also a record, some 150 individuals from the IrishAngels network and other alumni groups served as mentors and judges.
The two business plan competitions vary in the type of venture that can enter. The McCloskey Business Plan Competition is intended for traditional entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stage of launch.

The McCloskey Business Plan finalists are as follows:

Collegiate Funding Solutions, a provider of integrated, Web-based college planning technology solutions for the financial services industry and college planning organizations
GreenYard-ReRev, a sustainable business venture that recycles cars sent to scrap yards and through ReRev, remanufactures and resells quality, low-priced, repaired vehicles, a company that provides an affordable, repaid and secure technology for the transfer and sharing of personal medical records
Mobile User Interfaces, a developer of user interfaces that allow mobile phone users to use text message-based services for finding useful information
ModMarket, a fast-casual dining venture targeting a younger demographic, with emphasis on customer experience, high-quality foods and sustainability
Mom’s Helpers, an in-home service that pairs new mothers with various helpers (retired nurses, midwives, experienced mothers and lactation experts) to ease the transition of bringing home a new baby

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 competition puts a distinctively Notre Dame “spin” on entrepreneurship, pairing it with the Gigot Center’s history of social mission.

The Social Venture Plan finalists are as follows:

AGRASUN, a new energy company looking to produce second-generation biofuels from non-food organic material
Eco-Zone Inc., a venture that curbs deforestation in the Amazon through a combination of sustainable recycling technology, low-emission manufacturing of fertilizer and fair trade policies
HANDS – Helping Others Help, an organization that matches students in the United States with social organizations in Guatemala to address economic underdevelopment
MicroEnergy Credits, a social enterprise seeking to encourage better energy choices through a new carbon offset market for microfinance clients
SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises), a venture that franchises female-run companies that manufacture and distribute low-priced, high quality and environmentally friendly sanitary pads in developing countries
Sprout learn-n-grow, an enterprise that brings age-appropriate science programs to pre-school and early elementary children

The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies was established in 1998 for the purpose of fostering innovation among current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Through a unique curriculum, business plan competitions and mentoring opportunities with Notre Dame alumni, students gain vital experience and the skills necessary to build successful businesses or to apply entrepreneurship skills within an existing organization.

For more information about the Notre Dame business plan competitions or the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, contact the Gigot Center at 574-631-3042.