3 DAY STARTUP - MOLDING STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS FOR FUN AND NON-PROFIT
1 University of Texas at Austin, Department of Computer Science (UNITED STATES)
2 University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business (UNITED STATES)
3 University of Texas at Austin, IC2 Institute (UNITED STATES)
4 University of Texas at Austin, Mechanical Engineering Department (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:3 Day Startup (3DS) is an academic program designed to teach entrepreneurial skills in an extreme hands-on environment. University students ranging from freshmen to freshly minted Ph.D.s, with diverse backgrounds in computer science, business, engineering, law, design, and communications are invited for an intense three day event with the explicit aim of launching viable technology startups. To date, there have been seven events in the U.S. and Europe; the initiative started and is headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin. The 3DS alumni have created ten technology companies that collectively have raised over $2 million in angel investments and venture capital. Each event is a case study in group productivity under severe time constraints (less than 60 hours), cross-disciplinary collaboration (a typical event invites 40 students from at least 10 different majors), brainstorming and ideation, as well as ad-hoc leadership and decision making (most participants are complete strangers to each other at the start of the event). In this paper, we share our key findings in teaching entrepreneurial skills at the university level, the most important being a relentless focus on execution (software engineers write code for a crude prototype, business students engage target customers for market validation, design students create branding and mock interfaces, etc.) in addition to keen use of the Pareto principle. Chemistry students have a laboratory for experimentation, architecture students gain practical experience designing in CAD programs in computer labs, and art students apply learned theory in drawing and painting workshops; we detail our experience with creating and running a university laboratory for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, technology, startups, accelerator, interdisciplinary.