McCloskey New Venture Competition open to regional startups

Author: Jessica Sieff

Idea Center
Idea Center

The University of Notre Dame’s newly named McCloskey New Venture Competition is calling for applications from entrepreneurs and startups in Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph counties. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 27 (Monday).


The competition, formerly known as the McCloskey Business Plan Competition, includes entries from Notre Dame students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as area residents and students from other area colleges and universities. This is the first time regional startups and entrepreneurs have been encouraged to apply. More than $200,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.


“We are excited to, for the first time, invite community entrepreneurs and startups to compete alongside students, faculty, staff and alumni from the University of Notre Dame,” said Karen Slaggert, director of the McCloskey New Venture Competition at the IDEA Center.


First-round applications are due Nov. 27 and can be found at


To qualify, ventures must have: 


  • Generated no more than $500,000 in cumulative revenue.
  • Raised no more than $500,000 in external financing.
  • Been in operation less than three years.


Those participating are encouraged to work in teams composed of members with a variety of strengths and skill sets.


Award categories include $50,000 prizes for Best Notre Dame Venture and Best Community Venture. Additional prizes include Greatest Social Impact, Best Undergraduate Student Venture, Best Graduate Student Venture, Best Female-Led Venture and Best Minority-Led Venture.


“We are thrilled to challenge entrepreneurs and startups throughout the region to give us their best ideas, and we look forward to supporting these ventures with significant cash awards provided by our generous sponsors,” said Gavin Ferlic, entrepreneurial engagement director with Elevate Ventures, a sponsor of the competition.


Other sponsors include Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Startup South Bend-Elkhart, Schurz Communications, Kem Krest, Horvath Communications, First State Bank, Fellow Irish Social Hub, Lavrock Ventures, Irish Angels, Palo Alto Software and Riddhi IP.

Contact: Karen Slaggert, director of student entrepreneurship, the IDEA Center, 574-631-2714,