McCloskey Competition

McCloskey New Venture Competition

The McCloskey New Venture Competition is a signature event in the innovation ecosystem at Notre Dame. It serves as an opportunity to test the validity of ideas and innovations and allows students to develop skills directly transferable to the commercial market. The competition is open to all current students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary's, as well as faculty and staff, alumni, and local community leaders. Participants are encouraged as entrepreneurs to create business plans and pitch decks, receive mentorship, serve as team leaders, and compete for prizes that include resources and funding. The competition is designed to strengthen startup skills by providing participants with insight from mentors and judges that includes a mix of angel investors, venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs, and other startup experts. Teams are provided with proven strategies and a process to build a solid foundation to launch ventures. 

Submission Requirements:

  • Round 1: Submit an executive summary and short video pitch.
  • Round 2: Choose to partner with an experienced mentor or hire from a pool of interested Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students to help write and submit a transitional business plan.  
  • Semifinals: Present a pitch deck at Notre Dame in front of a select panel of judges to qualify for several sponsored prizes. 
  • Finals: Finalists are selected to pitch in front of a live audience to earn the $50,000 grand prize. 

Hear from Notre Dame participants by reviewing the 2021 McCloskey Program. Throughout the program, find comments like the one below from Anthony Esplin, founder of Sleep Easy, one of six finalist teams and recipient of $10,000 for Best Graduate Student-Led Team sponsored by Lavrock Ventures. Esplin graduated from the ESTEEM graduate entrepreneurship program in 2021.

Working as a team leader helped me grow professionally and learn how to mitigate risk. We connected to strategic partners that have connected us with sleep labs and distributors that provided guidance and ways to successfully bring the product to channel.

Look for 2021-22 dates soon. Email Patti Reinhardt to sponsor or serve as a judge, mentor, founder, or contributing student team member.

Join Student Connections if you are looking to add students to your team or you are a student looking to join a team.