The Three Day Startup participants

Three Day Startup arrives at Exeter

Three Days, five Universities, fifty students, six mentors, four guest judges, one facilitator, several crates of Red Bull, minimal sleep and seven amazing new businesses in the world! That, in a nutshell, is what took place at the Innovation Centre in Exeter last weekend when 3 Day Startup came to town.

3 Day Startup (3DS) is an international non-profit organisation that teaches university students how to start a company over the course of a weekend.  During the event, participants form teams, develop an idea, conduct market research, talk to customers, create a prototype and pitch to an expert panel on Sunday afternoon.  After receiving well over 200 applications to join 3 Day Startup in Exeter, 10 students were selected from each SETsquared partner institution – Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton & Surrey.

The event kicked off on Friday afternoon with a warm and energetic welcome from superstar 3DS facilitator Shayna Dunitz. All students had opportunity to deliver a 1 minute pitch to the group. 25 startup ideas were pitched and a group vote resulted in 7 final ideas selected to carry forward through the weekend. The students had opportunity to select which business team they would like to join and final teams ranged in size from 3 – 9. The 7 teams spanned a wide range of different business ideas ranging from Virtual Reality Interior Design to an online platform to support people with Type 1 Diabetes to a new app designed to improve efficacy of recording and distributing meeting minutes.

Friday night was dedicated to mapping out the core business idea and structure and developing a draft business model. On Saturday morning, teams then headed into town to gather feedback from potential customers to validate their ideas. Saturday afternoon welcomed a team of extraordinary mentors who spent time with each team providing critical feedback and advice and teams worked late into the night consolidating their business plans. Sunday arrived all-too-quickly and the focus was on final pitch decks. The creativity, enthusiasm and sheer hard work displayed by all teams over the weekend resulted in 7 teams delivering absolutely top-class pitches to a guest panel by 3pm Sunday. The final panel comprised of David Bird (Reginal Director, Santander Business), Kalkidan Legasse (Exeter Graduate, Founder of the Sustainable Clothing Company & Finalist at the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards 2017), Ian Hale (Director, Elan TLC Ltd) and Joel Stobart (CTO at Custodian Solutions). Pitches were followed by a celebratory cold beer and pizza from Exeter’s very own The Flat on Fore Street.

David Bird, Regional Director of Santander Business remarked on the event: “It was great to see so much energy from the participants and the collaboration between students from different universities. The pitching showcased some excellent business ideas and what they achieved in three days was most impressive.”

Everyone departed for trains and planes and motorways, waving a weary farewell but with new business ideas blossoming, new friends made and memories of a weekend that every person involved was proud of.

Date: 24 October 2017

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