Dustin Mix, a master’s degree recipient in civil engineering and entrepreneurship, and Maria Gibbs, a PhD candidate in civil engineering, partnered at the University of Notre Dame to implement the Venture Founders Program. The program is a partnership between Notre Dame’s ESTEEM master’s program and the city of South Bend’s enFocus fellowship program, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing impactful local ventures.
Mix and Gibbs built the program around a simple principle: talented people will focus their entrepreneurial spirit on positively impacting their local communities, if they are encouraged and supported, understand great ideas often stem from trying to solve a problem, and have access to resources in the earliest stages of a venture. Although this program is still in its infancy, current ESTEEM graduate students are already tackling critical issues: the skills gap, barriers to chronic health treatment, antibiotic resistance, and bridging the gap between limited internet access and digital literacy.
The Notre Dame ESTEEM program is an interdisciplinary program between the College of Engineering, the College of Science, and the Mendoza College of Business; its core values are collaboration and the business of innovation. To learn more about Dustin, Maria, and the Venture Founders Program, visit the University of Notre Dame website.
**Photo Credit: ESTEEM
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