A record number of aspiring entrepreneurs are vying for prizes totaling about $300,000 in the University of Notre Dame’s 2012-2013 McCloskey Business Plan Competition, which seeks to place worthy ventures on the path from research to reality.
More than 140 alumni and student teams entered the 13th annual contest, submitting overviews of their ventures, which must be in the planning phase or the earliest stage of launch. Officials said the entries cover a spectrum of proposals, from projects to develop cancer-detecting technology and smartphone apps that track consumer actions to a plan to assist underprivileged women in India.
The list of entrants will be winnowed to a dozen semifinalists, who will make oral presentations at the Notre Dame campus in Notre Dame, Indiana, on April 18, 2013. The winners will be announced the following day after the finalists make live presentations. The competition is sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Almost half of the business plans submitted relate to a pressing environmental or social need, according to Gigot Center Associate Director Karen Slaggert.
“We’re so pleased that social enterprises continue to make such a huge impact,” Slaggert said in an article on the Mendoza College of Business website.
Competition rules require each team to include at least one Notre Dame faculty member, alumni or student, either undergraduate or graduate. The overall winner will receive the $25,000 McCloskey Grand Prize, while the $15,000 Klau Family Prize for Greatest Social Impact will go to a business plan with a social or environmental impact.
Numerous in-kind prizes also will be awarded, including software, coaching and consulting services. Additionally, many of the entrants will be eligible to exhibit at the Venture Fair, which will be held on April 19, 2013, at the Mendoza College of Business.
The 2011-2012 McCloskey Business Plan Competition attracted 131 teams and the grand prize went to Next Payment Solutions Inc., which specializes in online consumer promotion redemption and fulfillment. The Klau Family Prize was awarded to the developers of a therapy toy for children with autism spectrum disorders.
The college consistently ranks at or near the top of Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings of the Best Undergraduate Business Schools in the United States.