Notre Dame College Leads Social Entrepreneurs, Develops Students via Regional Pitch Contest

Notre Dame College continues its leadership in developing Cleveland-area social entrepreneurs—and in educating civic-minded students—with its support of an annual Northeast Ohio community business pitch competition.

College President Thomas G. Kruczek will serve as a judge in the “Educating Tomorrow” section of the Accelerate 2018: Citizens Make Change civic vision contest sponsored by the Cleveland Leadership Center Wednesday, February 21, at the Global Center for Health Innovation, which is part of the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland.

In addition to his role in higher education administration, Kruczek is a successful business executive and entrepreneur who is inspiring student-centered, career-focused education at Notre Dame to help create a new generation of civic-minded, global citizens. He is a member of the Cleveland Leadership Center Class of 2015 and remains active in the organization.

This is the second year Kruczek is serving as a member of an evaluators’ panel for the Accelerate event, and the College has helped social entrepreneur applicants hone their business proposals prior to the annual contest for four years now. Competitors practice their pitches on campus in front of current Notre Dame students and faculty, who provide valuable feedback.

The innovative learning experience develops Notre Dame’s business majors, many of whom are aspiring entrepreneurs themselves. By analyzing the work of others, students better prepare their own pitch presentations. The scholars also build their professional networks through contact with regional business owners, all while providing the service of aiding Accelerate competitors contending for startup funds.

Contestants in categories other than education practiced their presentations for the 2018 event in front of students, faculty and staff at Notre Dame in January. At least two contestants who have worked on their pitches at the College in the past have been selected as finalists at previous Accelerate competitions.

A total of 25 Cleveland-area social entrepreneurs across five different categories vie for finalist positions during each Accelerate. The overall winner of the five finalists receives $5,000 in startup funds, while the remaining four each earn $2,000 toward implementation of their project.

At Accelerate 2018, Kruczek is featured on a panel of five who will select a finalist in the session on initiatives that advance prekindergarten through college education, including literacy, numeracy, access, readiness and success. Kruczek, representing higher education, is joined by community leaders from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Great Lakes Science Center, as well as representatives of business from Bernie Moreno Companies and Nordson as judges for the education category.

The other sections in the Accelerate civic pitch competition are Community Change, Economic and Workforce Development, Health and Wellness and Quality of Life.

In addition to offering online and on-campus degree programs in numerous areas of business, Notre Dame also provides an entrepreneurship minor and is in the process of finalizing an entrepreneurship co-major, which can be earned in conjunction with another degree program at the College.

The campus also is home to Notre Dame’s Enterprise Development Center, or EDC @ NDC, an interdisciplinary initiative that connects students with internships at Cleveland-area startups and supports eligible social enterprise entrepreneurs.

For additional information on Notre Dame degree and EDC programs, complete the College online inquiry form.

Details of the Accelerate event also are available online through the Cleveland Leadership Center website.

February 2018

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


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