3 Day Startup: Unlocking creative entrepreneurial potential over a weekend

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Group photo of participants and mentors in 3 Day Startup in November.

Full house at the first 3 Day Startup for Creatives at the UT College of Fine Arts

A first at UT College of Fine Arts, the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship hosted the 3 Day Startup for Creatives from Nov. 1 to 3 and brought together a cross-section of creative student thinkers for a 72-hour intensive journey to take ideas and build a framework for a startup. Students from different disciplines came together, formed groups to learn and turn their ideas into action. The event itself was very much like the challenges that are natural to a startup environment and brought forth creative solutions from the teams behind the scenes.

On Friday, Nov. 1 on the heels of Halloween, students started checking in after 4 p.m. and met with Jan Ryan, executive director of the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, and Maia Donohue, senior program manager for 3 Day Startup, to talk about the goals of gaining new skills, developing ideas and building a community.

Don’t put yourself (or others) in a box

The theme of the program was that everyone benefits from an entrepreneurial mindset. Startup ideas need not be cool, unique, free of competition, first to market, high tech, secret, complex or based on a patent. By worrying about these things, we often miss the boat and never get started.

Without wasting time, the group was asked to bring their ideas to the table and give one-minute pitches that allowed for feedback from the audience. Their peers then voted anonymously by closing their eyes and just raising their hands for the ideas that resonated.

Students bow heads for anonymous vote on most effective pitches at 3 Day Startup.

This exercise was particularly effective in allowing for fairness and cordiality, while removing the harsh competitive strain. After introducing the Lean Canvas model, the evening ended late with groups forming around ideas and building out plans.

Dean Doug Dempster and Jan Ryan look on as students participate in 3 Day Startup.
“The experience of entrepreneurship unlocks the human potential in unique and powerful ways.” ~ 3 Day Startup
Understanding your customer

Day 2 was focused on business model generation, target market segmentation, mentorship, intermediate pitches and feedback. The morning was devoted to customer discovery where teams left the building to go outside the building and interview potential customers and receive authentic feedback.  This helped them define and discover who they wished to serve and to understand their beachhead target market. They were tasked to “identify a small market with specific characteristics that make it an ideal target to sell a new product or service.”

After lunch, students had the opportunity to work with mentors who were experts in their field. Set up like business speed dating, each mentor spent time with each group, hearing their input and dispensing advice and guidance.

A big shout out to our mentors:

  • Erik Culver, CEO, ArtStartArt
  • Manu Rehani, entrepreneur in residence at Capital Factory
  • Cam Houser, founder, 3DS, Actionworks
  • Edgardo Irizarry, manager of Extended and Executive Educatio projects, UT School of Design and Creative Technologies
  • Neal Daugherty, associate professor of practice, UT Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies
  • Nick Spiller, CEO, GrandLand, Genesis
  • Courtney O’Donnell, Flo Recruit, Genesis
  • Anuj Jajoo, Genesis
  • Jen Heitler, director of experiential solutions, Double A Labs
  • Jan Ryan, serial entrepreneur

Groups continued to work late with their teams to surface insights as well as come together as a cohesive group. Teaming with strangers is no easy task, and one of the most critical skills in any startup includes the ability to collaborate effectively.

Recognizing the creative entrepreneurial potential
Students present their ideas at 3 Day Startup

We were lucky to get back an hour as daylight saving time ended on Sunday!

All teams learned the fundamentals of pitch preparation and delivery and practiced fine tuning their content, presentation and got additional mentoring from Jan and Maia.

It was showtime for six teams gathering in front of a panel of industry leaders that included

  • Michael Feferman, MeowWolf, Indeed
  • Fred Schmidt, serial entrepreneur, Capital Factory Board Director of International
  • Doreen Lorenzo, assistant dean, UT School of Design and Creative Technologies
  • MJ Johns, assistant professor of practice, UT Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies
  • Cam Houser, founder, 3DS and Actionworks

Teams from OneVibe, CultureQuik, Our Fair Market, 3DM, Companion and Chance presented a range of concepts: connection through music, enabling cultural understanding, bridging rural farmers with an international ecosystem, using 3D printing to solve students’ needs, solving for eldercare and loneliness and connecting people with shared interests.

Kudos to everyone who came together to make this 72-hour journey a success.

It was great to see students activate their entrepreneurial potential, learn how to put their ideas in action and practice business concepts for the first time in a fun environment.  All the while bonding with new friends who could become an active part of their future.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.”
Group photo of participants and mentors in 3 Day Startup in November.

Check out the pictures from our 3 Day Startup here.

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