IDEA Week in The Bend

From April 20 – 29, a whole new kind of festival will come to The Bend where you can LEARN, PLAY, MEET, and COMPETE. This week-long event will provide everyone with an opportunity to discover a new, unique way of experiencing innovation.

Standing for Innovation, De-risking, and Enterprise Acceleration, the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame has created IDEA Week to accelerate and celebrate the transformation of the South Bend Mishawaka community into a technology hub similar to Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; and Gainesville, Florida. This will be a week full of exciting and captivating workshops, speakers, social activities, and concerts.

Best of all, most of the events are free to attend! Other than the Blue-Gold Game, Gabriel Iglesias Stand-Up Concert, and the Chainsmokers Concert, every event listed below is free. All you have to do is complete the free registration and choose which you want to attend.

Start planning your trip to South Bend Mishawaka today for this can’t-miss festival.


Bring an open mind and collide with the ideas of top leaders driving innovation in business and technology.


Hear Daymond John Speak In Person!

April 25 | 3:15 – 4:15pm | The Lerner Theatre
After selling his company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million, Tony Hsieh joined Zappos as an adviser and investor in 1999 at the age of 24 and the rest, you can say, is history. He eventually became CEO of Zappos to grow it into the multi-billion dollar company it is today. Hear Hsieh’s story as he also explains how different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success and happiness.


April 26 | 8:00 – 9:00pm | DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
For 60 minutes, attendees will hear, first-hand, how Daymond John went from driving cabs and waiting tables to creating a global fashion empire with no formal business training at all. Today, his company, FUBU, has brought in retail sales that exceed four billion dollars to date. He does all this while being a featured cast member on ABC’s hit reality business show, Shark Tank. Listen to his true life stories as John motivates, inspires, and teaches you how to go after your own goals like never before.


April 28 | 10:30am – 4:30pm | DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
TEDx UND 2018 will spark conversation, connection, and community with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking video, and mind-blowing conversation. At TEDx UND, get ready to unleash new ideas, inspire, and inform.


Jump in for moments of serious PLAY with music, laughs, and one of college football’s most historic teams.


April 21 | 7:00 – 9:00pm | Notre Dame Stadium
Get your first glimpse at the 2018 Notre Dame football team as they take to the field in this annual scrimmage. Football season will be here before you know it. Gear up for Saturday afternoons in the fall with a day of tailgating, football, and fun.

The Chainsmokers Are Coming To The Bend


April 22 | 10:00am – 4:00pm | Success Academy South Bend
From engineers and artists to scientists and crafters, the Maker Faire is a venue for regional “makers” to show off their hobbies, experiments, and projects. This family-friendly event will showcase invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.


April 23 | 7:00 – 9:00pm | Morris Performing Arts Center
Come laugh with comedian Gabriel Iglesias at his “One Show Fits All World Tour” performance in downtown South Bend. As one of the nation’s most successful comedians, Iglesias has performed sold-out concerts all over the world, reminding every audience member, “he is not fat he’s fluffy.”

The Chainsmokers

April 27 | 8:00 – 11:00pm | Purcell Pavilion
The Grammy award-winning and Billboard chart-topping duo, The Chainsmokers, are on their way to Notre Dame. This musical force has released hit after hit with a diverse repertoire of songs, including their ever popular song, “Closer.” Order your tickets today to see one of music’s hottest recording artists.


Don’t just sit there – get out and MEET other locals, innovators, and entrepreneurs.


April 23 – 27  | 7:30 – 9:30am (April 23 – 26); 7:30am – 9:00am (April 27)  | Locations Vary

Make Connections At IDEAS After Dark

Grab a cup of coffee in South Bend and Elkhart with your colleagues before the first IDEA Week session of the day.


April 24 – 26 | 6:00 – 8:30pm (April 24 – 25); 4:30 – 6:30pm (April 26) | Locations Vary
Wrap up your day with some  acoustic performances, delicious food, and cold brews in South Bend and Elkhart while socializing with creative thinkers like you.


Think your idea is the next big thing? Debut it during IDEA Week and win thousands in cash at COMPETE events.


April 27 | 10:00am – 12:00pm | Rasmus Family Club – Duncan Student Center
This showcase is an opportunity for ​startups from the ​community and the ​McCloskey New Venture Competition to share their ventures with Irish Entrepreneurs, IrishAngels,​ McCloskey New Venture Competition judges, potential investors, and other guests attending events during IDEA Week.


April 28 | 8:00am – 4:00pm | The IDEA Center – University of Notre Dame
This competition will begin with individuals forming teams around a particular problem brief. Once teams are formed, they will sprint to research the problem and prepare questions for key stakeholders that will be available to interview. Afterwards, teams will define a specific opportunity by defining value propositions, customer segments, and market size. Finally, teams will brainstorm actual product/service solutions, develop high-level business models, and prepare venture pitches, to be presented to a panel of judges on April 29.

If this sounds like a festival that interests and excites you, be sure to go to IDEA Week’s official website. Here you will find a full calendar of events for IDEA Week as well as information on registration, travel, and volunteer opportunities.  We hope to see you at IDEA Week for an innovation celebration geared towards everyone!