Thursday, March 22, 2012

Notre Dame Startup Weekend

Startup weekends. You have seen them pop up all over the country. And seeing that I come from a family that brought to life their very own "startup" company, it is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Then throw in the fact that this particular startup weekend is being held in the brand new "Innovation Park" at my alma mater, I thought I'd take a moment to share the good news with you!

Startup Weekend is coming to Notre Dame the weekend of April 13-15, 2012. What is a "Startup Weekend" you ask? Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!

Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on events where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels can find out if their startup ideas are viable. Not only do entrepreneurs attend these startup weekends, but also people who do not necessarily have an idea themselves, but have the skills that could help a budding entrepreneur achieve their goals. Typically, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

The weekend begins with open mic pitches on Friday, where attendees are encouraged to bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Then, over the course of Saturday and Sunday, the teams design and develop business plans while constantly streamlining their startup vision. On Sunday evening teams demonstrate their prototypes, listen to judges’ feedback and in most cities, prizes are awarded.

Startup Weekends are specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in receiving feedback on an idea, looking for a co-founder, or who want to learn a new skill. Any and all are welcome to attend and test the entrepreneurial waters. Startup Weekends are risk-free environments where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startups.

Notre Dame's upcoming "Startup Weekend" will feature the following entrepreneurs & community leaders as speakers throughout the weekend: David Murphy, former President and CEO of Better World Books, and Chris Stevens, Vice President Corporate Relations, Keurig Inc. The judge’s panel is made up of Tim Braun, Elevate Ventures, and Dave Brenner, Innovation Park President and CEO. Mentors include Jeffrey Bernel, Director Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Joe Queenan, Treasurer of FISH, a social venture incubator, Wendy Angst, former CEO of CapMed, and Karen Deak, Master of Science in Patent Law Program, Director.

If you feel that this is something you are interested in ... either as a participant, or as a business mentor ... please visit their web site to register or get more information!

Here are a couple of videos two, that may help you wrap you brain around the concept of Startup Weekend!

Entrepreneurs Meet Here... at Startup Weekend! by Switch Video

Startup Weekend: Marc Nager, CEO & Co-Director

I'd also like to share a little bit about "Innovation Park Notre Dame" which is where this wonderful event is being held. Innovation Park Notre Dame was established to advance the University's research mission: to CONNECT aspiring innovators with Notre Dame faculty, students and resources; to COLLABORATE with industry experts; and support entrepreneurs to COMMERCIALIZE their venture.

Innovation Park's 12-acre campus is located across the street from the University of Notre Dame. The Park's state-of-the-art facility boasts 55,000 square feet of collaborative space that promotes creativity. Engage your ideas at Innovation Park.

Innovation Park's campus includes the following:
(Facility descriptions from

The Greenhouse
A business hothouse, only cooler — Picture eating a pizza while picking the great business minds of today. It's the space and technology you need to connect and collaborate with business advisors and market experts.

Private offices
Custom-built private offices — For more established companies who require private space for their employees and business activities, look no further than Innovation Park at Notre Dame.

Conference rooms
Well-equipped meeting spaces — Based on availability, the Park's meeting rooms are available for public rental or business meetings and events.
The ON Center, powered by Konica Minolta

The ON Center, powered by Konica Minolta
A business resource — Discover Konica Minolta's award-winning product lines and digital presses. The flexibility of options including quick print, centralized reproduction, commercial print equipment, and in-house expertise ensure you receive high quality yet cost-effective printing suited to your project need. Other services include document management strategies, high volume color critical products, and end-to-end services including design, production and delivery.

Laboratory space
Secure wet and dry laboratory space — We can customize specialized space for clients who need it, including the use of water, direct ventilation and specialized pipe utilities. Private offices can be built in tandem with laboratory space if required.

Shared analytical laboratory
847-square-foot wet lab — Innovation Park provides a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art instrumentation enabling a unique opportunity to prepare, store and analyze sensitive research samples... all in one exceptional space that is virtually unmatched in the region. In addition to the Park's equipment, IPND can offer facilitated access to a full range of mass spectrometry testing and analysis on the campus of the University of Notre Dame - with the expertise to assist with data interpretation, and Title 21 CFR part 11 compliant systems.

Fisher Coachworks Café
Don't forget the caffeine — If you're looking for a more casual spot to engage with colleagues and market experts, this is the place. The café's 47-inch LCD screen provides visitors with updates on the day's business news, weather and key Park happenings. A surface table for playing checkers or music, and bar stools, bistro tables and other comfortable furnishings make this an ideal place for unwinding.

Third floor balcony
The outdoors with benefits — You and your laptop are invited to work outside and experience some of the best views of the Notre Dame campus. And it's no secret - the balcony can be rented for tailgating parties. Complete with an outdoor grille, tables, chairs and festive lights, the patio adjoins to an interior space of movable furniture and a large drop-down screen for full game day coverage. A spacious catering kitchen allows you to store items and refrigerate. Impress, entertain and enjoy.

Eddy Street Commons
Time for a break? — Innovation Park is within walking distance to Eddy Street Commons — complete with shops, restaurants and a pub. Take your meeting off site and share a meal, have a drink, and think commercialization.

As you can see, Innovation Park is the perfect facility to house such an event as Startup Weekend. Where better to inspire and develop future entrepreneurs, than a place which is already a hot bed of entrepreneurial activity.

If you have any further questions, either leave a comment here on my blog, or you can contact them directly through their website!


1 comment:

  1. This sounds really interesting. I hope a lot of people take advantage of this opportunity. Thank you for sharing this will all your readers.