Through the Race to Revenue program, five student-run startups received $10,000 in non-dilutive funding to grow their business during a 8 week summer “internship.” Rather than taking a more traditional internship with an established company, the funding allowed students to pursue their own business with experienced mentors who guided their progress throughout the summer.
The program was open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and the only requirement was that at least one member of each team was a current student. Additionally, each Friday the teams met at the IDEA Center in Innovation Park to update one another on the week’s progress and hear from speakers ranging from established entrepreneurs to investors on topics that helped them make more educated decisions moving forward.
The program culminated in pitch events for the teams to raise further funding and make meaningful connections as they continue to grow their businesses. Success for each company at the end of the summer meant something different - one launched their first product, another had met with potential angel investors and was discussing the financing needed to make their vision a reality, and another had developed their platform and had first users. The consensus among all student teams was that none of this success would have been possible without the Race to Revenue program. The ability to solely focus on building your business, not as a side gig but as a full time job, propelled their ideas forward faster than they thought possible. They experienced what life as an entrepreneur is truly like, bootstrapping their businesses where possible and tapping into the vast Notre Dame network for further support.
While Notre Dame is well known for propelling students into successful careers with Fortune 500 companies, the Race to Revenue participants experienced another side of being part of the Notre Dame family - creating companies and using business as a force for good.