Notre Dame College Receives Grant to Advance Campus Enterprise Development Center

Notre Dame College has received its third grant in less than a year—and its second from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation—to advance a culture of entrepreneurship on campus.

This new $100,000 grant from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation will support the expansion of entrepreneurship-related academic and experiential programming over the next two years and the creation of a dedicated space for the Enterprise Development Center at Notre Dame College, called the EDC@NDC.

“We are grateful to The Burton D. Morgan Foundation for its continued and generous support of our entrepreneurship program,” said William L. Leamon, MBA/MOD/MHR, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and director of the EDC@NDC. “It was their initial belief in our proposed growth plan, combined with a grant of $15,000 in early 2015, that sparked our program’s momentum and helped position us for sustainable success.”

Half of the funding from the foundation has been designated for use this year to renovate the former student lounge area in the Connelly Center building. Initial design plans, developed as an in-kind donation by Paul Deutsch and his firm, Bialoskly + Partners Architects, call for a flexible-use, modern-industrial space with a 60-person capacity networking and pitch stage area, a 36-person capacity smart classroom and an 8-person video conference room, as well as a state-of-the-art 6-station graphic design and digital marketing computer lab.

This renovation of the Connelly Center area into the EDC@NDC will provide the necessary modern co-working space and new computer equipment to support students who will be working and learning side-by-side with local startups, according to Leamon.

“Notre Dame College believes that this unique space will provide a focal point to foster a robust entrepreneurial culture on campus, inclusive of all academic disciplines, helping contribute to our students’ development, both personally and professionally,” Leamon said, noting that the space will enable the College to house dozens of entrepreneurship events on campus.

The remainder of the grant, $25,000 this year and $25,000 next year, will help the College launch several new entrepreneurship-related courses in support of a new cross-disciplinary major and minor in entrepreneurship. The new classes are expected to cover such topics as the entrepreneurial mindset, social entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, digital marketing, new venture finance and entrepreneurial leadership.

In addition, over the next two years, the grant will enable the launch of new, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students, from business planning and presentation preparation to graphic design and digital marketing support for area startups. The grant also provides for continued student participation in the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund and Pitch competitions.

“The skills learned through exposure to entrepreneurship are not only vital for the success of any business—large or small, public or private, corporate or not-for-profit, local or global—but are just as vital to and integral in the success and the ability of our students, regardless of major, to land their first job post-graduation,” Leamon said.

This most recent grant of $100,000 follows the funding awarded last year by the Cleveland Foundation of $150,000 that enabled the establishment of the EDC@NDC’s innovative internship program, currently in the process of creating over 100 paid, on-campus internships in support of over 50 startups in the next two years, in partnership with community partners such as FlashStarts and StartMart.

“This signature program of the EDC@NDC provides real-world, hands-on learning opportunities for students through paid, on-campus internship experiences,” Leamon said. “Not only will students help start, scale and sustain new ventures, and thus contribute to Northeast Ohio’s economic development, they will also develop the 21st century skills needed to make a successful and seamless transition from college to career.”

For more information regarding the EDC@NDC, contact Leamon at


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.

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