Tech Talk: Revving Up the Engine at ND


The University of Notre Dame is known for excellence in many things – insert your own list here. One might soon need to add entrepreneurship and innovation to that roll.

We told you earlier about last month’s IDEA Week, featuring a number of regional partners but led by the university’s IDEA Center. In the current episode of the EchoChamber podcast, we chat with Bryan Ritchie, associate provost for innovation and leader of the IDEA Center.

Before sharing a few highlights, consider this brief synopsis of his background: software industry executive, start-up founder, private equity/venture investor, 15 years of academic experience (Michigan State and Utah) before Notre Dame and consultant for Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Navy, among others. In other words, he knows of which he speaks.

By the way, at one point Ritchie says his wife referred to the various elements of his career as “a mess.” A year later, a student termed it a “brilliant career path.” No matter, he is bringing expertise and enthusiasm to the campus, community and region.

Listen in as Ritchie describes:

  • The process that led to the creation of an expected 26 companies this academic year; previously, the high was three
  • One hundred twenty student invention disclosures in the first 60 days of the year
  • The IDEA Center closing in on a $20 million investment fund
  • Development of a broader innovation community that could compare to the likes of Provo, Utah; Boulder, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; or Madison, Wisconsin

“In the next 10 years, South Bend could be the next big data capital or the venture capital capital of the Midwest,” he shares. While money is always a factor, the “trick is to create more opportunities. We’ve tapped into a latent and stored up pool of energy around entrepreneurship.”

Listen to Ritchie and check out our new episode (out today) with Becky Skillman, former Indiana lieutenant governor and passionate advocate for south central Indiana.