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Winners announced in Notre Dame business plan competition

by Carol Elliott, Director of Newswriting

May 17, 2009

Business Chart


A vision for the next evolution in fast-casual dining won its creators the grand prize and $15,000 in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame. During the same event, a plan to manufacture and distribute feminine sanitary products in developing countries took the grand prize and $15,000 in the Social Venture Plan.

The results were announced Friday at the close of the two-day final event held at the Mendoza College of Business, where six teams competed for the top spots in the two competitions. The McCloskey Business Plan Competition is intended for traditional entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet been launched or are at the earliest stage of launch. The Social Venture Plan Competition is an opportunity to combine entrepreneurship with a social mission or purpose, often referred to as serving a “double or triple bottom line” of sustainable profitability and social purpose and/or environmental awareness.

“There’s been great energy, great enthusiasm. The quality of the plans and presentations this year is an all-time high,” said Patrick Barry, senior director of the Gigot Center. “Particularly these days, it’s great to have students from across the University be involved in entrepreneurial efforts. And we’re very grateful for the IrishAngel alumni network that served as mentors and judges.”

McCloskey winner modMarket, founded by Robert McColgan (BBA 2002) and Anthony Pigliacampo, looks to provide on-the-go dining that offers high-quality foods. ModMarket will target a younger demographic and emphasize customer experience, sustainability and technology. McColgan and Pigliacampo, who both have considerable experience in restaurant consulting and brand design, expect the concept to take advantage of major cultural and demographic shifts occurring in the United States. They plan to launch ModMarket in 2009.


The runner-up position was won by GreenYard, a sustainable business venture aimed at reclaiming lost land and raw materials consumed by modern-day auto scrap yards. Using new recycling technology, the venture will be able to reuse nearly all of the parts and materials from scrapped cars. A branch of the business, ReRev, will remanufacture and resell quality, low-priced repaired vehicles. Teammates included Bradley Shervheim (BSME 2007), Jon Melvin, Kyle Chaykowski and Phil Weber.

Social Venture grand prize winner Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) aims to promote the education and employment of women in developing countries by providing inexpensive, quality feminine sanitary products. Currently, girls and women in these countries miss school or work – up to 50 days per year – due to lack of access to affordable products. SHE also intends to establish female-run franchises that manufacture and distribute the products through a sustainable, market-based approach utilizing local, inexpensive raw materials. The SHE team included Elizabeth Scharpf (BBA 1999) and Notre Dame MBA 2009 candidates Anielka Munkel, Eddah Okuthe and Vanessa Rodriguez.

The runner-up in this category was Sprout learn-n-grow, which brings age-appropriate science programs to children in pre- and early elementary school. Funds raised through the sale of the program and corporate donations will be given to the Aurora Project, an outreach program of Sprout learn-n-grow for children who live in poverty. The Sprout team consisted of Chana Roschyk (MBA 2003), Ryan Gorman (BBA 2009), Richard Willson (BBA 1958, EMBA 1991), Mary Studer (BA 1974) and Terri Kosik.

The Gigot competition began in the fall with more than 200 students participating. Fifty-seven  business plans advanced to the semifinal round, with 12 teams – six for each competition – moving to the finals. Some 150 individuals from the IrishAngels network and other alumni groups served as mentors and judges. Teams must include participation by at least one Notre Dame student or graduate. Prize money this year totaled more than $40,000.

The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies was established in 1998 for the purpose of fostering innovation among current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Through a unique curriculum, business plan competitions and mentoring opportunities with Notre Dame alumni, students gain vital experience and the skills necessary to build successful businesses or to apply entrepreneurship skills within an existing organization.

For more information about the Notre Dame business plan competitions or the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, contact the Gigot Center at (574) 631-3042.

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