The following are eligible to participate in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition:
The McCloskey Competition focuses on ventures that have not yet been launched or are at their earliest stages of launch. An eligible venture is one that has generated less than $500,000 in cumulative revenues, has received less than $500,000 in external financing and has been in operation less than three years. Plans that are affiliated with an existing business are typically not eligible to compete. While these guidelines provide general parameters, eligibility will be determined at the sole discretion of the Gigot Center.
Nonprofits may participate in the competition but must demonstrate income generation potential beyond traditional philanthropy. While we recognize that startup funding and initial capital for operations may come from philanthropic funds/individual donations, we view a social enterprise – regardless of the type of entity formation – as designed to operate like a for-profit business, which must include a revenue-generating income stream in addition to traditional philanthropic sources (donations, grants, foundations, etc.). All entries in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition will be judged on their ability to become financially self-sustaining, that is, to generate revenue in excess of costs.
Past participants in the McCloskey competition may enter the same venture in subsequent McCloskey competitions only if the business model has changed significantly in response to feedback provided. Eligibility determination is at the sole discretion of the Gigot Center.
Participants submit the required document, and optional video, through this site along with a 50-100 word public summary for their new venture. The overview will outline the business concept, target market, competitive landscape and financial potential for the venture.
Judges will review business overviews and optional video and provide detailed feedback to teams in this round. Feedback from the judges will be used to select the teams that will advance to the round 2. The round 1 overview is due October 30; those advancing to round 2 are announced by no later than December 2. Seefor specific dates; see for a detailed outline of the requirements for the round 1 . Alumni and faculty participants selected to advance to round 2 may continue in the Competition as long as a current Notre Dame student is invited into the process to lead the team effort for the purposes of the Competition: student(s) must be integrally involved in the business planning process, including the development of the business model, writing the business plan and presenting at subsequent rounds of the Competition. The alumni/faculty essentially become advisors to the team as the students develop the business model. The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship will help facilitate the “matching” process, assisting these faculty/alumni participants identify student(s) who would like to work with these faculty/alumni teams.
Teams will develop a 10-page “transitional” business plan (with up to 5 pages of appendices) for their new venture, including sales, pricing and production strategies, detailed financial projections and other relevant business details. Each team advancing to round 2 may request a mentor from the Irish Entrepreneurs Network or Notre Dame entrepreneurial community. This mentor will provide helpful feedback as the team develops the business model and writes the business plan. Round 2 business plans are due mid-February; semifinalist teams will be announced mid-March. Seefor specific dates; see for a detailed outline of the requirement for the round 2 business plan. At this stage of the competition (round 2), ALL teams must be led by students: faculty/alumni participants will work closely with students to allow the students to lead the business planning process, developing an understanding of the business model, writing the business plan and presenting the venture in subsequent rounds.
Semifinalist teams will be required to come to the Notre Dame campus in April to give oral presentations before a panel of judges. Students will be leading/presenting for all teams advancing to the semifinal round. Finalists will be identified and announced at the end of the semifinalist presentations. At this point teams will be allowed to revise their business plans in response to the feedback provided by judges; however, the primary emphasis at this point should be placed upon the oral presentation. Seefor specific dates.
In April, all finalists will present LIVE in Jordan Auditorium in the Mendoza College of Business. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the final day of judging at the awards banquet. The final round of judging takes place on a Friday in mid-April. Seefor specific dates.
All Round 2 teams will be invited to participate in the Startup Showcase. Held on the Friday morning of final round judging in mid-April, this forum will provide networking opportunities for teams with competition judges, mentors, investors and others with significant experience with new venture creation, including members of Notre Dame's Irish Entrepreneurs and IrishAngels Networks, faculty, staff and members of the University of Notre Dame entrepreneurial community at large.