Law Students Thrive in Business Plan Competition

Author: Lauren Love

A group of Notre Dame law students put their lawyering skills to practice last week in the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship’s 16th Annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Master of Science in Patent Law student Brittany Butler partnered with Rebecca Shute, ’16 ESTEEM, Kevin Schneider, ’16 M.S.A., Michael Schneider ’16 M.S.A. and Charissa Quinlan, ’18 Ph.D., formed the winning team — Cetrus Therapeutics — and together took home the grand prize of $25,000.

“Certus offers a precision nanoparticle drug delivery platform known as Lypos,” wrote Butler. “We have engineered cancer drug formulations with enhanced tumor-targeting technology that lead to increased drug efficacy and improved patient outcomes.”

Butler received her doctorate in biomedical sciences with emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Florida and received a dual B.A. in biology and chemistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Butler said she’s interested in working as a patent agent; connecting with a range of lawyers to patent compounds, antibodies and biotech devices.

Gavin Phelps and Jennifer Brougham, both 2Ls, and Amma Addai, ’16 M.S. Patent Law, also represented Notre Dame Law School well in the competition and were a part of teams who received honorable mentions.

Phelps’ team POLCO, a civic engagement and policy participation platform that allows citizens to participate in their city’s town hall meetings in a simple online and validated way, won the $5,000 McCloskey Runner-Up Prize. Phelps led the company’s legal team and said he intends to serve as its in-house counsel after graduation.

The McCloskey competition was hosted by Notre Dame’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business. The competition is an opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded members of the Notre Dame community to come together to fostering new business development.

The competition began last October and started with 124 teams. Through a series of eliminating rounds, the teams were narrowed down to eight finalists who presented their final plans last week in the Jordan Auditorium.

Members of the Irish Entrepreneurs Network and the IrishAngels Investing Group – two select groups of Notre Dame entrepreneurs who support new venture creation – served as judges and mentors for the competition.

“This was an incredible competition, filled with many observations of ‘best ever’ in terms of the quality of the ventures pitched,” said Karen Slaggert, associate director of the Gigot Center, who manages the competition.
“It was rewarding to see so many of our students lead these teams and present in such an impressive way. Our students represented Notre Dame in a powerful way.”