IDEA Week 2018 Highlights

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IDEA Week is an annual innovation festival hosting business, technology, and entertainment events to provide entrepreneurs, students, and community members in the South Bend-Elkhart region with the practical knowledge, creative inspiration, and social foundation they need to innovate within their own careers, studies, and communities.

Fueled by the burgeoning entrepreneurial spirt at the University of Notre Dame and in the South Bend-Elkhart region, the various competitions, panels, and entertainment events represent the very best in tech and innovation.

The inaugural IDEA Week was held April 20-29, 2018.



IDEA Week is split into four event types: LEARN, PLAY, MEET and COMPETE.

18,462 people attended at least one of the 49 IDEA Week events
7,638 people attended 42 LEARN and COMPETE events
10,824 people attended 7 PLAY events

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Friday, April 20

IDEA Week 2018 kicked o on Friday, May 20th with the Thomson Reuters MBA Tech Innovation Challenge. Four teams, composed of MBA and graduate students from around the country, competed for $10,000 in prize money. This year’s Innovation Challenge focused on blockchain technology. University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business took rst place followed by University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and Washington University’s Olin Business School.

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Saturday, April 21

IDEA Week hosted two events on Saturday, April 21st, the date of the 89th annual Blue and Gold game. At the rst event, the Notre Dame Pitch Rally, Notre Dame students pitched cutting edge technologies to alumni and other attendees. Later in the afternoon, Truman National Security Project President and CEO Mike Breen joined South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to discuss how innovations in security can lead to a more peaceful world.

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Sunday, April 22

Success Academy South Bend hosted the 2018 Maker Faire where local “makers” showcased their creations on Sunday, April 22nd. Attendees of all ages experienced a variety of technology demonstrations including robot arms, 3D printers, a virtual river and landscape simulators. The Morris Performing Arts Center capped o the day with a performance of Sorin, a one-person play depicting the University of Notre Dame’s dawning.

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Monday, April 23

IDEA Week’s rst full day of presentations began Monday, April 23rd at the Century Center in South Bend with sessions on local entrepreneurship, a panel discussion on smart cities moderated by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, plus tours of the Studebaker 113 building downtown. In the afternoon, Savage presented to the day’s largest audience in the Bendix Theater in the Century Center, sharing his unique perspective as a television personality on innovation and science. Comedian Gabriel Iglesias ended the day’s events with his world famous comedy to a sold-out audience in the Morris Performing Arts Center.

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Tuesday, April 24

Lippert Components and Salesforce began Tuesday, April 24th with a morning-long workshop on innovation in customer service. Sessions on manufacturing, banking and music, plus presentations on investment and funding tailored to local startups were held concurrently. Following these, a rescue drone demonstration over St. Joseph River was held. In the evening, Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee performed at the Morris Performing Arts Center and Notre Dame alumnus and founder and general partner of Peate Ventures, Dan Peate, spoke at the Gillespie Conference Center at the eighth annual 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award Dinner. At this event, Mike Bean, associate athletic trainer for the University of Notre Dame football team, was awarded $25,000 for successfully transitioning his ankle brace technology from the lab to the marketplace.

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Wednesday, April 25

Elkhart, Indiana hosted IDEA Week events on Wednesday, April 25th. The day began at the ETHOS Science Center with presentations on autonomous vehicles and innovations in healthcare. Attendees remained at ETHOS for the Northern Indiana Tech Expo where attendees viewed robots, augmented reality, and driverless car technology demonstrations. In the afternoon, Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, presented at the Lerner Theater on his company’s innovative approach to creating a world-class customer service business. In the evening, the Robinson Community Learning Center held the 10th Annual Youth Invention Convention where 10 middle and high school students representing six South Bend-area schools competed for best business plan and best presentation prizes.

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Thursday, April 26

IDEA Week returned to South Bend on Thursday, April 26th for its biggest day of events, including presentations from Nest Thermostat inventor Matt Rogers, IDEO’s Pete Boyle, and Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank. Matt Rogers provided his insights and recommendations to Notre Dame student entrepreneurs, professors and community members who were given more than 30 minutes of Q&A time with Matt. In the evening, Daymond John recounted his rags to riches story to a packed audience at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and encouraged attendees to follow his own steps to success in business and life. Other sessions held that day were Women and Minorities in Entrepreneurship, Using Business as a Force for Good and If I Can, You Can: How to Become an Entrepreneur.

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Friday, April 27

On Friday, April 27th, Daymond John and Matt Rogers, speakers from the previous day’s events, joined with Swati Mylavarapu, founder of Incite Labs; Dan Peate, Notre Dame alumnus, founder and general partner of Peate Ventures; Mark Foley, alumnus and managing director at RWI Ventures; and Tracy Graham, alumnus and founder and managing principal of Graham Allen Partners to serve as this year’s nal round judges at the 2018 McCloskey New Venture Competition. At this event, 17 area teams were awarded more than $400,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. Enlighten Mobility and SecurSpace split the $50,000 McCloskey Grand Prize, which is awarded to teams founded by Notre Dame students or alumni. Figuro3D and Healthy Points split the new $50,000 Startup South Bend-Elkhart/Elevate Ventures Grand Prize, which is awarded to the top community based teams. In the evening, IDEA Week’s headline entertainment act, The Chainsmokers, performed to a packed audience at the Joyce Center at the Purcell Pavilion.

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Saturday, April 28

Saturday, April 28th’s events began with JumpStart, a business venture generation competition co-sponsored by Elevate Ventures, INVANTI, and Startup South Bend – Elkhart. This event, which was held at Innovation Park, had participants take problems from local businesses and come up with solutions for these as teams. A few hours after the start of JumpStart, Notre Dame’s local TEDx speaker series kicked o at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. At this event, sixteen speakers, including students, faculty, alumni, and community members spoke on the theme “Dare to…” The days activities ended with an energetic Robot Football tournament in the Stepan Center in the northern part of Notre Dame’s campus.

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Sunday, April 29

Itzhak Perlman wrapped up IDEA Week with a fantastic performance Sunday, April 29th to another sold-out crowd at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

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