The IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame will become the outsourced commercialization office for Saint Mary’s College under a new collaboration that is part of a wide-ranging acceleration of programming to support innovation and entrepreneurship at Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s faculty and staff will be able to access resources at the IDEA Center to take their research and ideas and turn them into businesses. 10 Saint Mary’s student workers will be hired to work as analysts and startup coaches at the IDEA Center and will be involved every step of the way in the commercialization process.
“This is a mutually beneficial win that further strengthens the ties between Notre Dame and Saint Mary's,” said James Thompson, the University of Notre Dame’s associate vice president for innovation. “Saint Mary's will be able to synergize the promising research and discovery being conducted there and provide their students with hands-on experience in entrepreneurial endeavors while the IDEA Center will be able to work with 10 of the college's brightest students.”
Saint Mary’s is elevating its broad focus on innovation under President Katie Conboy, building on 10 years of work with local women entrepreneurs through the SPARK women’s business accelerator, main street businesses and small commercial hubs as well as high-potential startups.
“This collaboration nurtures a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Conboy said. “We’re encouraging faculty, staff and students to learn about the resources and startup ideation ongoing at the IDEA Center. This partnership really complements our existing efforts and is a great enhancement of resources. Students working at the IDEA Center will develop highly-sought after skill sets that are very attractive to companies, and their involvement will really pay off.”
Willow Wetherall, director of the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative at Saint Mary's College, will advertise the opportunities at the IDEA Center and help coordinate the hiring of student startup coaches and technical market analysts.