By Stephanie Courtright ’14 and Lauren Ragsdale ’11
Fifty students from around Texas A&M University spent a recent weekend working in teams to create tech startup ventures. The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School hosted the fourth 3 Day Startup (3DS) event the weekend of March 28.
The driving force behind 3DS is learning by doing — in this case, compressing three months of hard work into one weekend at Startup Aggieland in Research Park. The five- or six-member teams create logos, business plans and prototypes and work on developing a final pitch to investors.
Students get the experience of starting a business in a controlled, risk-free environment. They are provided with all the necessary tools to help them transform their ideas into sustainable business models. The over-arching goal of 3DS is to create a business that fills a market need and that can be a viable entrepreneurial investment lasting beyond the weekend.
The event started on Friday evening, when the students brainstormed startup ideas and pitched their ventures to one another. The top ideas were chosen, and mentors and students broke into groups depending on their personal interests. The rest of the evening was spent nailing down the details of each venture and product.
Participants returned to Startup Aggieland early Saturday morning and spent the day researching market viability, building business plans and honing their pitches. On Sunday, teams fine-tuned their prototypes and practiced their presentations before delivering a seven-minute pitch to an investment panel consisting of prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders. After each pitch, there was a seven-minute question-and-answer period. After all the pitches concluded, the investors provided feedback to each group.
This year’s startups were focused on social media and serving others. Ideas included:
â€¢ A phone app to connect fitness enthusiasts with dietitians and personal trainers
â€¢ A pen pal app connecting speakers of different languages
â€¢ A web service that helps people share rides around town
â€¢ A battery that can be charged through the user’s movement
â€¢ A device that can detect gunshots and alert emergency responders
As a result of the event, many groups were approached by possible investors and are looking into becoming Entrepreneurs in Residence at Startup Aggieland.
ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.
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