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Notre Dame entrepreneurship competition invites community for first time

NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The University of Notre Dame is hosting a startup and entrepreneurship competition, that for the first year ever, people in the community are invited to participate.

The application for the McCloskey New Venture competition closes at midnight on Monday. People living in Elkhart, St. Joseph, and Marshall counties are encouraged to sign up.

“Our rationale is we are all a very big part of this community,” said Karen Slaggert, director of student entrepreneurship at Notre Dame.

The competition gives out more than $200,000 in cash prizes to the winners in 15 categories. The highest award is $25,000 for the McCloskey grand prize. 

"The entire point of the competition to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship," Slaggert said. “It’s a great way for the community to be involved and it’s a great way to stimulate growth in this area.”

David Hardwick, won the competition last year and said it was an incredible process. He said he took home cash for his company, Structure Immunity, but was most changed by the experience of the competition. 

“I got to meet some experts people I would’ve never met before grew my network and had a lot of fun doing it as well,” Hardwick said. 

He said the competition is a series of rounds that includes drafting of business proposal, conducting meetings, and hosting presentations that lead up to a final showcase to get a winner. 

The competition is similar to Shark Tank, but Hardwick said the judges are a lot more supportive. 

“They’re giving you feedback that’s just there to help the company progress and not trying to knock you down a peg or anything like that,” he said. 

To apply or find out more about the competition, click here.

“I would say why not give it a try," Slaggert said. "If not this year, next year absolutely, but you will find the resources that are provided very helpful.”


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