Notre Dame College Receives Grant to Launch Campus Enterprise Development Center

Notre Dame College will create the Enterprise Development Center, to be called EDC@NDC, on campus this year with funding awarded from the Cleveland Foundation.

Over a dozen community partners and startup accelerators, including Jumpstart, Bizdom and FlashStarts, wrote letters in support of the program and said they would refer clients to the student experiential learning initiative.

Over the next two years, the $150,000 Fenn Educational Fund grant will help create more than 100 paid, on-campus internship experiences for Notre Dame students in all majors, while supporting more than 40 high- and low-tech startups and small businesses.

“The focus of this grant is to help our students prepare for life after Notre Dame. The grant will provide real-world, hands-on learning opportunities for students to develop the skills needed to position themselves for future career successes,” said Notre Dame President Thomas G. Kruczek. “In the process, the students will develop the 21st century skills they will need to help make a successful transition from college to career.”

The interns will work and learn side-by-side with both commercial and social entrepreneurs to help successfully start, scale and sustain business ventures—and contribute to the economic development of Northeast Ohio.

The Fenn Grant provides students up to a $500 stipend and three class credits per internship experience. 

“I firmly believe that one of the richest learning experiences for our students, regardless of their course of study, is to be gained through an internship with an entrepreneurial venture,” Kruczek said. “Students are exposed to all facets of an enterprise in a very significant and tangible way, teaching them the entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in their chosen careers after graduation.”

As a result of making personal and professional connections within the local entrepreneurship community, the College also expects a greater percentage of its students will pursue careers in Northeast Ohio, by either starting their own businesses or joining existing, growing enterprises.

Long-term goals for the project include for 50 percent of the students involved to be non-business majors, for 50 percent of the students involved to be women and for 50 percent of the overall student population to participate in at least one activity of the center.

“By bringing early stage startups to campus and surrounding them with teams of motivated students who are eager to help and learn, the EDC@NDC will create the ultimate win-win scenario—and at no cost to the entrepreneurs,” said William L. Leamon, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and director of the EDC@NDC.

The EDC@NDC will conduct many of its operations and activities in the College’s new student center. Plans to build a dedicated space in the future depend on funding.

According to Leamon, this Fenn Grant to Notre Dame is one of the largest the Cleveland Foundation has awarded and one of the few it has granted over a two-year funding cycle.

Entrepreneurs seeking intern project support, ranging from 45 to 135 hours over 15 weeks, from the EDC@NDC can complete a forthcoming online application. Students interested in working as interns with startup companies also can complete an online application when it becomes available in the next few weeks.

Questions can be directed to Leamon at

August 2015

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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