Gigot Center

NASDAQ Competition Support Sessions

To view past NASDAQ sessions, click here.

1. Social Entrepreneurship
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Just as a traditional entrepreneur identifies a business opportunity, develops a business model, and galvanizes resources, so too does the social impact entrepreneur - with a focus on creating long-term systemic change.  The social impact entrepreneur attends to the financial sustainability of the venture AND the social impact.  This workshop will highlight examples, most notably that of Better World Books as well as other Notre Dame social entrepreneurs, and provide criteria for you to consider as you examine your own social venture idea and evaluate your organization’s potential for social impact, including:

  • Does your existing venture or proposed new product/service demonstrate financial and social/environmental sustainability (also known as the double- or triple-bottom-line)?
  • Does your venture serve the community/public good in an innovative way?
  • Are all stakeholders considered and empowered by your venture, and engaged in its delivery?
  • Is your solution a short-term or short-sighted response to a market need?  Or is the solution one that has the opportunity to create significant social/environmental value, as well as scale?

Led by Melissa Paulsen, Social/Microventuring Programs Manager, Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, and David Murphy, former President and CEO of Better World Books and member of the IrishAngels network.


2. Creating a Competitive Advantage:  Defining Your Customer, Market, and Competition
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Who will buy my product/service?  How do I get it to them?  Who else is trying to sell them something similar? Participants will gain insight into determining their target market (how broadly or narrowly do you focus), their competition (who their major competitors will be, both direct and indirect) and also the demographics of their target consumer (how and where their idea will fit within the marketplace). This session is essential to the entrepreneur who wants to launch an idea into reality – we will address the following questions:  Do you really understand who needs your product?  Are invention and innovation the same thing? What is customer centric marketing?  How do you create a business plan with just an idea without selling a product? What are the competitive alternatives?  What is your segment of the market? Where are you expecting to sell?  What skills have made you successful?  How do you create a competitive advantage????

Panel discussion to include: Mike Reardon, CEO Triwater Holdings and member of the IrishAngels network, and John Anthony, founder and CEO of Anthony Travel and member of the IrishAngels network.


3. Business Plan Writing
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

You're ready to move forward with your new venture – and now you need to write a business plan.   The business planning process requires a lot of time, work and effort and can be overwhelming and stressful.   Do you really need to spend time and effort developing a business plan? Should you even bother? Yes!!!  Planning is one of the most important, yet often underestimated, parts of starting a business.  Many businesses fail from lack of research, goals and a thorough plan.  A business plan gives you direction, helps you qualify your ideas and clarifies the path you intend to take with your business.  This session will explore the essential elements addressed in every good business plan, and will also highlight some common business planning pitfalls, with tips on how to avoid mistakes.

Led by David Brenner, President and CEO of Innovation Park at Notre Dame and member of the IrishAngels network.


4. Business Models, Financials and Valuation: Determine Your Worth by Understanding What Investors are Looking For.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Angel investors tell me that they want to see a financial forecast of my growth and earnings over the next three years.  How in the world do I know how much my business is worth? Setting a concrete value for a business not yet in existence is a struggle for many entrepreneurs.  This session will help participants define their business models and formulate a reasonable valuation, and will cover all of the topics necessary to create an initial set of financial statements. Particularly crucial for any team participating in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition, this session aims to prepare participants by providing them with a proper understanding of how and what investors are looking for.

Led by Robert A. Moore, Adjunct Instructor of Entrepreneurship and Principal of RAM Capital Partners, a financial advisory firm focused on working with privately-held, entrepreneurial companies and their capital and strategic issues.  Bob is also a member of the IrishAngels network.


5. IP and Legal Issues
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Intellectual property and legal issues can be among the most critical concerns for your new venture.  This session will cover the legal issues surrounding intellectual property and its importance throughout a company’s lifespan.  Dick Cox, Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Laura Hollis, Director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, will provide a “crash course” on patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets; discuss IP issues commonly faced at the time of forming new businesses; explain how IP is exploited during the business development stage of a new business; explore the role of IP when a new business raises financing; and consider the impact of IP on an acquisition of the business.  This session will also cover additional legal issues not specifically related to IP, including choice of entity, tax concerns, etc. We will explore the decision-making process in forming the start-up, including timing, documents, and issues in determining the capital structure of the business organization (licensing, patents, choice of entity, tax concerns, etc.).

Led by Dick Cox, Director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Notre Dame, and Laura Hollis, Director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship.


6. Sales and Go to Market Strategy:  My business plan is final, now it’s time to LAUNCH!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

As good as a new product or service idea is, "nothin' happens until somebody sells something!" Every entrepreneur must become fearless and impervious to one word: "NO." “No” doesn't mean, "no, I don't want to buy; "no” means, "you haven't given me enough reasons to say "YES"!  All entrepreneurs must understand that "no" is when the sale begins. All kinds of obstacles have been overcome to get your dream to the launching pad. Now it is time for lift-off. You have built in the contingency plans financially and the beta testing is complete. The preseason is over. Let the games begin. Selling your idea requires planning, anticipating objections and the ability to convert your unique product features into measurable benefits for your targeted buyer. The ability to convey the value of your idea and create the need where your buyer believes this is a must purchase requires strong communication skills. Lou Holtz once said, "When all is said and done, more is said than done." When you take your dream to the street, under-promise and over-deliver.

Led by Chris Stevens, Vice President Corporate Relations and Customer Development, Keurig, Inc.


7. Presentation Skills
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Effective oral presentation skills are essential in pitching your new venture. What makes one presentation stand out from another?  What will the judges – or potential investors – expect in your presentation? Are you worried that you haven’t had enough experience giving presentations to be effective?   Making a good oral presentation is an art that involves attention to the needs of your audience, careful planning, and attention to delivery. This session explores the basics of effective oral presentation, focused specifically on setting you up for success in presenting your new venture.

Led by University of Notre Dame Business Communications Professors Sandra Collins and Elizabeth Tuleja.


8. Funding Your Venture:  Bootstrapping and Other Creative Approaches to Funding
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
5:30 pm EST in Mendoza 161

Getting a start-up funded isn’t easy. Raising money is one of the entrepreneur’s biggest challenges. “Can I bootstrap? Should I?”  Bootstrapping is an essential technique for many start-ups and can provide the most profitable long-term results and the greatest return on investment for its entrepreneurs. Friends and family, angel investors and venture capital are other common ways of raising money.  “I’ve heard that venture capital firms want to take too much equity and control of my business, and angel investors aren’t taking enough interest – so how do I raise enough capital to start my business? What’s appropriate for me and where do I begin?” Funding Your Venture will explore the various ways in which an entrepreneur can seek funding or resources. Join us to hear our panel share from their unique perspectives on fundraising.

Panel discussion to include:  Jim Larkin: Founder and President, Scientific Methods, member of the IrishAngels network; Tim Connors, VC and member of the IrishAngels network; Joe Queenan, Consultant, Innovation Park at Notre Dame.