A team of students shares their startup idea with a mentor during the 3 Day Startup.EDWARDSVILLE - An integrated luggage system, a drone-based security system, a hydro-electric energy harvesting product - the next great startup idea may have been conceived on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Those were just three of five products pitched during the 3 Day Startup (3DS) hosted by the Schools of Engineering and Business Friday-Sunday, Feb. 7-9 in the Grady Foundation Innovation Loft.

Led by a 3DS-certified facilitator, the 72-hour entrepreneurship program challenged 32 SIUE student participants to ideate a concept and develop it into a viable and scalable business model in an extremely hands-on environment that emphasized brainstorming, prototyping, customer discovery and mentorship.

“3 Day Startup runs hands-on entrepreneurship programs to teach students the skills they need at the early stages of founding a company,” said 3DS CEO Alexis Taylor. “These skills matter, because an entrepreneurial mindset and approach to your future opens doors that students might not have known were there before. All they need to do is unlock their potential. 3DS provides that opportunity, and helps them develop lifelong connections along the way.”

“Dean Cem Karacal and I have been discussing ways to encourage entrepreneurial activity among our students for quite some time, and we believe that hosting this 3DS event on campus will serve as a catalyst for this,” said School of Business Dean Tim Schoenecker, PhD. “The interdisciplinary nature of 3DS perfectly fits what we hope to accomplish.”

“As we are trying to establish an entrepreneurial mindset among our students and build a startup infrastructure in the School, this event was timely and provided a great learning experience for students,” added School of Engineering Dean Cem Karacal, PhD. “The nature and format of the 3 Day Startup strongly aligned with the objectives of our Grady Foundation Innovation Loft, located in our new Fowler Student Design Center.”

The program engaged students pursuing a variety of majors, including industrial, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, computer science, computer management and information systems, business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship, art and more.

“This opportunity has been beneficial to me, because I’ve been able to network with students and professionals and build a community of support, while gaining numerous entrepreneurial skills,” said junior business major Sophie Tremblay, of Taylorville, whose team proposed an integrated luggage system featuring a backpack with a built-in lunch box.

“I’ve learned that launching a product or company is not as impossible as I thought,” added senior industrial engineering major Sarah Almutairi. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration involved in the 3 Day Startup. People have ideas I would have never thought of. I’ve enjoyed watching our concept grow. I can see its potential!”

Eight successful mentors, including SIUE alumni, offered their insight and recommendations to each of the project teams during day two of the 3DS. Their backgrounds in entrepreneurship, investing and education provided ample opportunities for students to advance their ideas. Additionally, five industry professionals volunteered their time to listen to the teams’ final pitches and offer feedback and guidance.

“The mentors were extremely helpful,” said junior electrical engineering major Cameron Sutter, of Millstadt. “My dream is to start my own company using aspects from both electrical and mechanical engineering.”

Sutter’s team pitched a system that collects water from downspouts to create energy.

“It’s an idea I’ve been mulling around for a couple months,” Sutter explained. “Water is one of the most powerful sources of natural energy, and we should try to harness that any way we can.”

Other product pitches included digital business cards sharing software and a room reservation and tutor search app.

“The 3 Day Startup has enhanced my perspective and adaptability,” said junior computer management and information systems major Michael Brown, of O’Fallon, Ill. “I’ve learned there is so much background work involved in the startup process. I’ve learned that all ideas are worth tossing out, and that feedback and criticism are important for development.”

Sponsors for the 3 Day Startup held at SIUE were J.F. Electric, Boardwalk Inc. and the Martinson Family Foundation.

For more information on the 3 Day Startup, visit 3daystartup.org.

The SIUE School of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the region. It offers comprehensive and affordable engineering programs with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research, and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. Students gain hands-on experience in the School’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the new Fowler Student Design Center.

SIUE’s School of Business and the accountancy programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, representing the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review lists SIUE as one of the top 252 business schools in the U.S. for the 13th consecutive year. Undergraduate degrees are offered in accountancy and business administration, with specializations in computer management and information systems (CMIS), economics, entrepreneurship, finance, human resources, international business, management and marketing. Graduate degrees include accountancy, business administration, CMIS and marketing research, with specializations in tax, project management and business analytics. More than 26,000 alumni have earned degrees from the SIUE School of Business. For more information about the School of Business, visit siue.edu/business.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=kWZI9m4P1lQ&feature=youtu.be

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