Entrepreneurial Immersion

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Beyonce—individuals who started out with an idea that transformed the way people think, act, and operate. At Notre Dame, we ask the question: how do you use a vision to advance the common good and make the world a better place? 

This course will focus on three key elements: 

(i) Developing early-stage concepts; 

(ii) Testing customer interest in early-stage concepts; and 

(iii) Understanding how to pitch for initial funding from investors to develop those concepts. 

The method you will be taught is Google Ventures’ Design Sprint. This is a five-day process to answer business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Learn more about Google Ventures' Design Sprint.

Academic Directors

John Henry

John Henry

John Henry, MBA is the Director of Student Startups at the University of Notre Dame's IDEA Center. Henry’s professional experience spans a decade of launching startups and consulting for private companies and government organizations. Henry’s entrepreneurial experience focuses on the web-based startups. He co-founded his first company, RateMyStudyAbroad.com, in 2006 and sold it to GoAbroad in 2013. He also founded an online retail business (Shipping Entertainment) and an online learning platform (CODEinCLASS). Prior to his current position, Henry worked as Manager of Customer Success for a venture-backed web startup in South Bend, Vennli, that was founded by ND professor, Joe Urbany. Henry’s consulting experience served both private and government clients. His consulting experience at private companies centers on new-product development and launch for companies such as Zimmer-Biomet and The Corporate Executive Board. His government consulting work focused on developing new intellectual property for the Navy while working at Booz Allen Hamilton. Henry’s creativity and passion for entrepreneurship has resulted in multiple grants and awards, including Elevate’s High Performance Startup Grant, winner of Booz Allen’s Ideas Festival, two-time semi-finalist for Notre Dame’s McCloskey competition. He also supported international entrepreneurs by establishing the Notre Dame Haitian Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition.

Benjamin Hoggan

Benjamin Hoggan

In his current role managing the Problem Validation team, Ben Hoggan is currently running the IDEA Center's Problem Validation team that uses primary research to validate customer pains in the market before any investment is made in a potential company.  Problem Validation is the first stage that technologies passing the risk assessment process at the University advance to for de-risking and consideration for the potential to launch a new startup. Prior to his work managing the Problem Validation team at the IDEA Center, Hoggan served as the managing partner of this small real estate investment company, overseeing the daily operations of the company. This included managing employees and contractors, performing strategic analysis, job costing, market research, business development, and new process implementation. Prior to this, Ben has substantial entrepreneurial experience including serving as a co-founder of Infinite Air and the Founder of Brain Bucket Technologies. Ben Hoggan holds a Masters in Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship from the ESTEEM Program at the University of Notre Dame. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from UVU.