From the Desks of Corey and Becca

Author: Corey Robinson and Rebecca Blais

From the Desks of Corey and Becca

Cultivating innovation: introducing two startup, venture proposals

This fall, we wrote our Board of Trustees report on changing the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. We, as student government, do not think that innovation and tradition are fundamentally opposed to each other. Our university community can sustain our pristine tradition while it continues to live the mission Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C. originally intended for Our Lady’s university: to be disruptive agents for good. Sorin, perhaps Notre Dame’s greatest entrepreneur, risked everything and did the impossible in Indiana. As a 27-year old, he and a small team of seven built what is today the premier Catholic research institution in the world through a combination of hard work, courage of conviction and an unwavering and innovative vision.

Our illustrious tradition informs our current perspective, but we must allow our students to build their own traditions by allowing them to think critically and creatively — by allowing them to take risks and be world-changers. In order to do this, we proposed the creation of two new structures: the start-up-in-residence program and a Notre Dame Venture Incubation Program (NDVIP). A start-up-in-residence program would bring a small to mid-sized start-up to campus for one semester or an academic year. If Notre Dame offered a start-up from Silicon Valley residence work space in the Mendoza College of Business, we could attract top business talent due to our extensive resources as well as low cost of living. The NDVIP would help student founders further develop their business plans, provide space for members to work on their companies, look for funding from venture capital firms and groups such as the Irish Angels and connect their members with mentors. A strong mentorship network will ameliorate the lack of diversity within the current entrepreneurial landscape. Student members of the NDVIP would also have access to technology workshops and early access to technologies (drones, 3D printing, sensors, virtual reality etc.) to stay on the forefront of innovation. By bolstering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, we can continue to do what Notre Dame does best: produce socially-aware, well-rounded citizens who change the world.

Go Irish,

Corey, Student Body President

Becca, Student Body Vice President