Update from the Director

Author: Samuel Miller

Greetings from the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship.  It has been a busy season for the Gigot team and it is with real pride that I offer this update on the progress of the center.  With a renewed emphasis on the student experience, and a clear mission to build entrepreneurial confidence, we are making steady progress on all fronts: academics, business plan competition, social entrepreneurship, and alumni network engagement.

The academic experience is at the center of all we do, and I can share progress in several areas.  At the MBA level, based on input from students, recruiters and others, we have repositioned the concentration track as “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” and modified the course offerings to better serve our MBA students.  At the undergrad level, we are completing the transition to the Minor from the Major and the enrollment numbers look very promising – more than doubling between the 2015 and 2017 cohorts.  And our commitment to immersive learning remains strong, with Karen Slaggert leading the charge to extend the options for our students.  Details on these enhancements can be found on our new web site at http://gigot.nd.edu/academics/.

Another exciting initiative that will help enhance the Gigot Center’s engagement with our alumni network is the extension of our Entrepreneurial Insights speaker series to include participation from off-campus alumni.  We will be testing a pilot version of this speaker series beginning in the fall semester.  The aim is to share expert perspectives and emerging best practices in entrepreneurship across the ND network.  This pilot launch will be done in the MVP spirit, with an eye towards learning what works and what the market prefers.  Watch for future news on the website on the specifics.

The Mendoza Dialogues video series ran a recent installment on Trends in Entrepreneurship.  Special thanks to Gary Gigot and Pooya Ghiaseddin from Vennli for sharing their perspectives and insights in this, the fourth installment of the Mendoza Dialogues video series.  You can view the full discussion by visiting the web site at http://gigot.nd.edu/multimedia/.

Regarding the business plan competition, there is a lot to report.  Several enhancements were put in place for the 2015 competition (see Karen’s report below) and a series of new collaborations are in the works for the upcoming season (See collaboration report below).  First round entries are due by November 1st and alumni are encouraged to enter.  For more details, visit the web site at http://gigot.nd.edu/mccloskey-business-plan/.

The fourth installment of the Irish Impact Conference is scheduled for October 29-30.  The theme for this year’s conference is Impact Investing and the lineup of presenters is world class.  See Melissa’s report below and visit the website for further details.  http://gigot.nd.edu/social-entrepreneurship/

Finally, a quick word of thanks to all of you who lean forward to support the Gigot Center.  From the Gigot Advisory Board to the Entrepreneurs in Residence to the Irish Entrepreneurs Network – you make the programs of the Gigot Center possible.  Also a huge shout to the Gigot Center team is in order.  Karen, Melissa, Patti and Elisa: I cannot express how valuable you are in influencing the future of the aspiring entrepreneurs that are touched by the Gigot Center.