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How Notre Dame’s IDEA Center Took University Start-Up Formation from Puny to Powerhouse: A Case Study in Performance Improvement

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: September 11, 2018

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For 175 years, Notre Dame’s start-up statistics were pretty grim: Over that period of time, only 33 companies were formed. Fast-forward to 2017 when Notre Dame crushes their old record by creating 27 start-up companies. In one year.

That’s a drastic uptick, and one that is attributed not only to new research funding, but also to a new entrepreneurship center that is having a huge impact on the school’s commercialization activity. The IDEA Center (Innovation, De-Risking, and Enterprise Acceleration) is a campus hub that provides space, services, and expertise for idea development, commercialization, business formation, prototyping, entrepreneurial education, and student entrepreneurial efforts.

Under IDEA’s watchful eye, the 27 companies launched last year — 17 of which are student-led — raised more than $4 million, created 83 new jobs, and have generated more than $500,000 in sales to date, and the center is working hard to build on that success. 

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has teamed up with Notre Dame’s Vice President for Innovation and its Director of Student Entrepreneurship for this detailed case study webinar. They’ll reveal how the IDEA Center was conceived, implemented and coordinated to attract record numbers of entrepreneurial-minded students and faculty, and how projects are vetted and supported.

How Notre Dame’s IDEA Center Took University Start-Up Formation from Puny to Powerhouse: A Case Study in Performance Improvement

Please join us as they discuss:

  • IDEA’s conception and formulation
  • Where does IDEA’s funding come from?
  • Insight into the daily management of the Center
  • Criteria for participation in IDEA
  • Review of faculty-related issues: University stake, IP ownership, facility use, etc.
  • Review of student-related issues: outreach, engagement, programs and contests that draw students in
  • What is the Center’s role within the university and its commercialization pipeline?
  • Understanding how IDEA achieved a dramatic increase in start-up formation … and the plan to continue the upswing

Meet Your Session Leaders:

James ThompsonJames Thompson
Associate Vice President for Innovation;
Executive Director, Commercialization Team

James has over 17 years’ experience in management, business development, marketing, biotechnology research and quality systems.  Most recently James was the Interim Executive Director of the Technology & Venture Commercialization office (TVC) at the University of Utah.  While at the TVC, James helped to develop and implement a stage-gated, milestone-driven commercialization process called the Utah Model of Commercialization, affectionately known as the Commercialization Engine.  The Commercialization Engine is a system to assist companies with licenses to university-owned technologies successfully commercialize the licensed tech (providing assistance in the areas of strategic planning, funding, problem solution fit, product market fit, recruitment of leadership and more).  The system substantially improved both internal and external customer service while increasing the commercialization activity of technologies developed and owned by the University of Utah.

Karen SlaggertKaren Slaggert
Director, Student Entrepreneurship

Karen has 35 years of experience in academia including leadership roles at Rollins College, Babson College, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Notre Dame.  Karen served as an Associate Professional Specialist in the Mendoza College of Business, teaching in the areas of management, entrepreneurship and strategic foresight.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Karen has also provided oversight for all student entrepreneurship initiatives, including the University of Notre Dame’s annual McCloskey New Venture Competition, a year-long event celebrating entrepreneurship at Notre Dame and awarding nearly $300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to aspiring Notre Dame entrepreneurs. She has also managed experiential learning opportunities related to entrepreneurship, providing outstanding opportunities for MBA students to immerse themselves in the real world of venture capital, investing and consulting.

In her current role as Director of Student Entrepreneurship at the IDEA Center, Karen manages all entrepreneurial programs for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame.  She provides oversight for the student commercialization pipeline, and she plans and executes all student competitions and events, including the annual McCloskey New Venture Competition.  Karen also oversees the internship process, with the IDEA Center hiring more student interns than any other unit on campus.

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