Student entrepreneurs at Georgia Southern University brought their business ideas to life during the Business Innovation Group's fourth annual 3-Day Startup program, held last month.
The 3-Day Startup is a world-renowned program that creates a living entrepreneurship laboratory that brings together individuals from various backgrounds and provides students with the tools they need to start successful companies.
This year's Startup facilitator from the Austin, Texas, program was Georgia native Ellyson Glance. Glance helped students from all majors across the university prepare for the weekend as they gathered to create business ideas to develop. Six ideas were presented during final pitches, ranging from hair care products to digital shopping, and students worked with and received guidance from mentors throughout the weekend.
"This is by far my favorite event to organize for the students," said Program Manager Suzanne Hallman. "It requires a lot of preparation, but the payoff is worth it. Every year we hear great ideas and see huge strides our students make over the weekend. I enjoy working with fellow Eagles and look forward to helping them launch their dreams right here at Georgia Southern."
Ultimately, panelists chose "Whipp," natural hair care products consisting of base cream and oils customized to each individual's needs and "whipped" together by consultants, and "Easy Bustle," a simple solution to complicated wedding dress bustling issues, as the most viable products to move on to participate in the FastPitch event in Savannah in April.
FastPitch allows entrepreneurs to make a three-minute pitch of their innovative venture and be assessed as to the viability of the ventures by local community leaders, academics, and investors. Coaching and feedback is provided before, during and after to better prepare presenters, their ideas and their presentations of that idea.
Other business ideas worked on throughout the weekend included:
• FlashBack - glasses that record what "just happened" by using a cache so users can live in the moment and relive unforgettable moments
• My Kid - a device that helps parents stay in range of kids to prevent losing them in crowded family theme parks and venues
• Versity - an ecosystem for student entrepreneurs to connect with each other and the community to offer goods and services
• Digital Shopper - groceries from the store delivered to the customer's door via a fast and reliable service
The intensive weekend event was filled with activities including workshops, business idea generation, customer engagement sessions and pitching the ideas to the judges. The Startup is a collaborative event that encourages students to cross-pollinate, learning from each other.
"The Business Innovation Group creates this great opportunity for our students to get real experience with the development of ideas into business models, and the students love it," said Steve Stewart, Ph.D., an assistant professor of management who teaches in the Entrepreneurship program.
"It's great when students get excited about seeing all their education come to life in real-world circumstance, and to have that validated by other mentors and judges...that's always an important moment in the educational process, and ultimately will lead to students starting companies that create jobs."