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IDEA Center initiates Launch Weekend for entrepreneurs

| Friday, October 5, 2018

Both students and other entrepreneurs in South Bend can participate in the first New Venture Launch Weekend, which is the effort of a partnership between the IDEA Center, Elevate Ventures and Startup South Bend/Elkhart. The event will run from 4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Patti Reinhardt, the student entrepreneurship engagement program manager at the IDEA Center, said anyone can benefit from the workshop, even if they do not have an idea themselves for a startup.

“It’s for anyone who wants to learn the process of problem-solving and validating an idea,” she said.

Reinhardt said the event will start with individuals who have ideas giving a short pitch. Five or six ideas will then be chosen, and participants will be broken up into teams.

“It doesn’t mean that their idea isn’t valuable [if an idea isn’t chosen],” Reinhardt said. “It just means that this is what we’re going to do this weekend.”

Participants will also listen to a speaker Friday and begin to learn about the lean business model canvas, which involves learning about how to develop an idea in terms of the problems, solution, key metrics and competitive advantages.

On Saturday, the teams will have time to validate their idea, which will likely involve leaving the building.

“They learn all the steps they actually need to launch a business,” Reinhardt said.

As the final step in the workshop, the teams will come together on Saturday and pitch their ideas again to investors. Reinhardt said the teams can win almost $2,000 in prizes.

The facilitators for the workshop are members of a startup called INVANTI.

“They’re actually a student startup that came out of the competition a few years ago,” Reinhardt said. “They’re all about teaching entrepreneurs how to look at a problem and then figure out a solution based on that problem.”

Reinhardt said 75 people are currently registered for the event, and they represent a mix of undergraduate and graduate students from Notre Dame and local universities as well as members of the South Bend community.

“What we’re hoping is that they come to this and they realize they have a good business concept and they enter that into our pipeline at the IDEA Center and the McCloskey New Venture Competition,” Reinhardt said.

Regardless of whether participants take their ideas any further, Reinhardt said the experience of the event will be the most valuable aspect of the weekend.

“They’re going to be put together in a situation where they might not have their own idea, but they’re going to get put on a team and for them to realize their own value that they’re going to give to that team is something that you’re not going to get out of a textbook, you’re not going to get anywhere else,” she said. “I think realizing how to look at a real problem in the world and figure out the steps to get yourself to a product that could be sustainable and turn into a business is invaluable.”

The event is free, but registration online is required. Registration will close at noon on Friday. All meals will also be provided at the event.

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame senior majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

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