IBS hosts 3 Day Startup for aspiring entrepreneurs

5 ideas + 35 students + 54 hours = fine workshop for future in business

Photo/Ashley McCabe

PBS NewsHour anchor Paul Solman, a 3DS panelist, critiques a pitch.

What do you get when you combine five entrepreneurial ideas, 35 sleep-deprived students and only 54 hours to bring those business concepts to fruition? It’s a question that Brandeis International Business School (IBS) was happy to solve.

This past weekend the school hosted its second-annual “3 Day Startup” (3DS), a rigorous entrepreneurial workshop that encourages student teams to brainstorm, plan and pitch new tech-based companies under a weekend time-crunch.

Co-sponsored by the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship and organized by the Technology and Innovation Management Club (TIMC), the event expanded on last year’s success by soliciting collaboration with additional organizations, like the Entrepreneur Club and the Business and Economics Club.

“We also marketed it really aggressively, which created a buzz across campus that led to a 40 percent increase in applications,” said TIMC President and Program Moderator Raja Roy, MBA ’13. “The result was amazing.” 

The weekend began on Friday afternoon, when participants met and began brainstorming possible business plans. Over the next two days, they had individual consultations with mentors, including both Brandeis IBS faculty and visiting entrepreneurs, and reached out to local businesses and students to get input on their ideas.

“It’s about starting with an idea, trying to implement it, and constantly talking to the market to get feedback on whether things are going right,” said Roy. “It’s a 54-hour non-stop entrepreneurial extravaganza.” He noted that the school even had pillows and blankets on hand for students who needed to catch some shut-eye between marathon working sessions.

Participants included both graduate and undergraduate students, with academic interests ranging from finance to biotechnology to English. Students embraced their varying skills and experiences, applying them to the diversity of entrepreneurial ideas.

The final products included:

  • BeanSprout, a game-based mobile app that rewards users’ eco-friendly food purchases
  • KartNav, a smartphone app that consolidates a consumer’s shopping preferences onto a single interface 
  • Seekr, an online service that provides a one-stop destination search engine for job listings
  • Sizl, an app to assist groups with meal decisions by scheduling dinners and recommending restaurants 
  • vShare, a comprehensive website that serves both as a sharing database and social-networking site to match students with similar college necessities

Pooja Gandhi, MBA ’14, a member of vShare, said that bringing a full business idea to completion in the space of just over two days initially did not seem possible. 

“When we started off on Friday, it felt like a daunting task and we didn’t imagine we’d be able to see ourselves through Sunday,” she said. “But when we sat down on Saturday, we were determined to break our individual barriers and make a collaborative business to help the community as a whole.”

Despite the stressful nature of the event, students were ultimately happy to have participated. “It was intense and super-busy,” said Josh Hoffman-Senn, BA ’13. “But we were able to focus on projects we were passionate about. It was a terrific way to learn about company creation.” 

Categories: Business, Student Life

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