Third annual '3 Day Startup' kicks off

by Kristine Jiwoo Ahn | 4/7/17 2:05am

Today, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network will kick-off this year’s “3 Day Startup,” a 72-hour hands-on entrepreneurial workshop for students to create, share and develop their ideas. The program was created by MBA students at the University of Texas in 2008 to provide a space for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and has since expanded to 30 countries and 150 schools.

This year is DEN’s third year hosting the program, said Eileen O’Toole, DEN program manager.

Throughout the three days, teams of participants will brainstorm ideas, generate business models and pitch their ideas under the guidance of entrepreneurs and investors from the 3 Day Startup staff, according to 3DS program manager Ellyson Glance.

Participants come in with different skill sets and levels of experience in entrepreneurship. O’Toole said that participants do not need a concrete idea, adding that ideas change and evolve throughout the weekend through feedback and insight. She said the best asset students can have is an open mind.

“An idea is great to have, but an idea in and of itself is not the only important thing,” she said. “Students just need to have an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow over the course of the weekend.”

Glance emphasized the importance of teamwork and collaboration in the program and the field of entrepreneurship.

“You can’t really do it alone, and no one really does it alone,” Glance said. “The team is often the most important aspect for investors — ideas can change, but you want a team that is coachable. The program provides a really collaborative space and environment where people can exchange ideas and learn a lot from each other.”

3 Day Startup is much more hands-on, in-depth and experiential than many other DEN-sponsored events, O’Toole said. The program also provides one-on-one mentorship and guidance lessons with business leaders that most other events do not offer.

Nathan Yu ’19, who will be participating in this year’s program, said he is looking forward to applying his skill-set and startup knowledge through a hands-on experience.

In previous years, some teams have developed their ideas further to participate in “The Pitch,” a termly “Shark Tank” style entrepreneurial competition hosted by DEN and the Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation Lab.

While not all ideas will progress to a formal pitch, participants will still gain general startup business knowledge and a vast network of entrepreneurs and past 3 Day Startup participants, Glance said.

“There are different definitions of success in entrepreneurship,” Glance said. “Success at the end of the weekend is when you’ve learned a lot that you can apply to this idea or other ideas in the future.”