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Reflections from the 2017 3-Day Startup Competition

Three Reasons to Get Involved with Brandeis Entrepreneurship

WorkAround - The Winning Team from 2017 3DS

by Halley Saul, '17
March 15, 2017

Brandeis International Business School (IBS) plays host to many leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities across campus, from job fairs to the annual 3-Day Startup Challenge (3DS). This year, more than 30 students gathered to compete in the sixth annual 3DS event, which took place over the course of a full weekend. Ranging from first-year undergraduate business students to PhD candidates throughout Brandeis, teams of students worked together to develop innovative business ideas and put together a cohesive plan of implementation. 

At the end of the weekend, each entrepreneurial team formally pitched their concept to a panel of industry professionals. The winning team, WorkAround, aims to present opportunities for work and income to skilled refugees using remote microtasks assigned by U.S. companies. We sat down with them to hear their takeaways from the competition and to discuss the impact that 3DS can have on Brandeis students with great ideas. 

You learn very quickly how to turn an idea into a functional business model.
The 3DS competition is an opportunity to take your business concepts off paper and into reality. Through collaboration with diverse teammates and seasoned mentors and judges, it’s an excellent chance to hone your ability to pitch ideas, incorporate feedback and refine a business plan. Too often, brilliant ideas get lost in the details. “When you work with just business in mind, you lose sight of all of the issues and social impact,” the team noted,  “But when you are solely focused on your idea’s social impact, you often don’t have enough money to keep things going. Understanding the combination of the two is what makes things work.” 

It’s not just a weekend gig.
There are numerous rewarding aspects of 3DS, from networking opportunities to receiving feedback and insight from industry professionals. However, arguably the most compelling outcome is that many of these teams continue to pursue their ideas after the weekend has ended. For the winning team, this year’s 3DS competition paved the road to a second-round entry into MassChallenge. MassChallenge, a startup accelerator that provides entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful, will support WorkAround as they continue to develop their ideas and move toward market entry. 

Your view of campus gets a whole lot bigger.
While 3DS is housed within Brandeis IBS – an excellent resource for exploring issues related to business, finance and entrepreneurship – the competition highlights the breadth of Brandeis’ knowledge and resources in the innovation space. The Brandeis campus is teeming with inspiring chances to try your hand at new fields. Teams are often comprised of students from around the world and across disciplines. Whether you are halfway through your MBA or an undecided first-year undergraduate student, the 3DS competition will change your perspective on how you approach projects. “The way Heller students look at things is more focused on social impact, while Brandeis IBS students are more focused on the business side,” said a member of the WorkAround team. “The world right now needs the combination of both.”

The bottom line? Today is the perfect day for you to get started on changing the world.
“The journey is so rewarding in terms of people in the Brandeis community you get to speak with. The faculty, the staff – everyone involved in this – is incredible,” the team noted. Whether you already have an idea or you are just getting inspired, take advantage of all the resources the Brandeis campus has to offer. As team WorkAround put it, “Every one of us might have an idea, so do not underestimate yourself. Even if you fail the first or second time, believe in your idea and keep trying. There’s nothing to lose, and who knows? You might secretly be an entrepreneur. So don’t be shy.”

For more information on 2017’s competition, here are the highlights. For more about the winning team, contact WorkAroundPlatform@gmail.com.