Notre Dame IDEA center launches 27 companies in first year • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
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Notre Dame IDEA center launches 27 companies in first year

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A program launched by the University of Notre Dame in its first year has successfully helped 27 new businesses get off the ground.

Notre Dame’s (Innovation, Derisking and Enterprise Acceleration) IDEA Center had an initial goal of creating 16 faculty and student startup companies between July 2017 and June 2018. Before the program, the university helped launch 33 startups in its entire 175-year history, the university said.

“The IDEA center and its team members have done a wonderful job during their first year translating faculty, staff and student ideas into innovation success stories,” said Thomas G. Burish, the Charles and Jill Fischer provost at Notre Dame. “In the process, they also worked with others at the university and throughout the South Bend-Elkhart region to create tremendous energy and enthusiasm among those with the passion and drive to see their ideas through to successful launch.”

To qualify as a startup, companies must be licensed as a business, have a business plan and management team, and have completed the IDEA center’s “de-risking” process, which assesses innovative ideas for their market potential.

Among the 27 startups are companies involved in health care, information technology, law and media, the university said. Collectively, the companies raised more than $4 million in investments or grants, created 83 new jobs, launched 23 products and generated more than $500,000 in sales.

“The success of the IDEA center’s strategy indicates that a strong focus on startups in the South Bend-Elkhart region will lead to the potential for significant economic growth, such as that seen in other technological hub cities in the country,” said Bryan Ritchie, associate provost and vice president for innovation. “In time, we believe this region will retain and attract even more of tomorrow’s brightest, most innovative minds.”

The IDEA center opened in early 2017 with a mission to find commercially viable, early-stage product ideas and innovations from Notre Dame faculty, staff and students and shepherd them to the marketplace.

“Startups are one of the main driving forces behind the U.S. economy in the 21st century,” Ritchie said. “They are responsible for nearly all net job growth in the country, experience growth rates substantially higher than other firms, help create wealth and have a profound impact on overall economic productivity in our economy.”

The IDEA center has a goal of creating 30 startups for its 2018-19 fiscal year and plans to increase the number annually.

Additional information about the 27 startups and the IDEA center’s website.  


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