Forty students from across the Texas A&M University campus convened at Startup Aggieland April 15 to experience a high-impact, fast-paced entrepreneurial experience over a 72-hour period.

3 Day Startup, hosted by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, connects student entrepreneurs with mentors. It challenges students to work in diverse teams of students from various majors, classifications and backgrounds. Budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas on Friday, hoping to be chosen by the other participants as one of six teams to participate in the weekend event. From the 22 pitches, six were chosen for the three-day adventure.

26432293002_5460a3e264_zThe teams formed on that Friday afternoon to work on business models, customer validation and prototypes of their infant businesses. On that Friday evening they researched their idea through the night, hoping to understand their concept and their customers. With the Lean Canvas business model as their guide, they focused on the problems, solutions, key metrics and competitive advantages.

Team leader Austin Thompson ’19 said he found the Lean Canvas model helpful in developing the idea. I felt as though it really made us not only evaluate the design, but go into depth as to why our idea was going to be successful.”

To help with student business ideas, mentors from the local community came to give feedback, input and pivot points to teams. Mentors included business professionals, attorneys specializing in intellectual property and Texas A&M faculty and staff. 3DS team leader Hannah Cartwright ’19, said, “I learned so much from the mentors at 3DS. They were all so willing to help and guide us in the right direction. I value all of their advice so much.”

On Saturday the teams went out into the field to discover what potential customers thought about their idea. Thompson led a startup that ventured to create the best coffee maker on the market. He says, “At first I felt very awkward walking up to random people and asking them about their coffee-drinking habits. Most people were very happy to help, however, which made me more comfortable with the process.”

Overall, 3 Day Startup gets students to be creative, start something new and dig deep into their entrepreneurial roots.

The weekend culminated in a showcase of the six startups, in which they each gave a 15-minute pitch to six pro panelists. The pro panelists consisted of businessmen, entrepreneurs and startup enthusiast from the surrounding area. Startups ranged from integrated home audio solutions to a healthy sweets company offering cookie dough balls for consumers with a desire to eat a healthy, all-natural sweet snack.

There isn’t any monetary prize involved. The winners have earned the opportunity to work with mentors in the business world to further advance their ideas.