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An Intensive Experiential Entrepreneurship Program (3-Day Startup)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Robert Gettens Western New England University

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Rob Gettens is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Director of the First Year Engineering Program at Western New England University.

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Andrew Zimbroff University of Nebraska, Lincoln


Harlan E. Spotts Jr. Western New England University

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Professor of Marketing in the College of Business

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Cameron Houser 3 Day Startup


Alexis Taylor 3 Day Startup

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Alexis Taylor is a program manager at 3 Day Startup where she guides organizing teams through the program creation process and helps foster entrepreneurial communities through leadership development. Alexis is also responsible for new program generation, leading the organization’s program assessment initiative and building cross-university ecosystem knowledge through the 3DS Academic Council. Before joining 3 Day Startup, Alexis was the former Lead Organizer of 3 Day Startup Creighton, a locally run 3DS program where she was instrumental in launching the first program in the Midwest. She has also worked in the nonprofit sector for four years, in venture capital advising and vetting startups, and with an international startup called Appconomy.

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Mary G. Schoonmaker Western New England University

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Dr. Schoonmaker is an Assistant Professor at Western New England University. She co-teaches a product innovation course with Dr. Gettens and two other WNE University engineering professors. Recently, Dr. Schoonmaker completed KEEN training and has used methods from this training in the product innovation course. Dr. Schoonmaker's research interests are innovation, entrepreneurship, and marketing. She and her husband have co-founded an entrepreneurial venture. Dr. Schoonmaker holds degrees from UCONN, University of Maryland, and The George Washington University.

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3 Day Startup: An Intensive Experiential Entrepreneurship Program

Abstract 3 Day Startup (3DS) -- a three-day, experiential entrepreneurship program, was conducted at Western New England University. Twenty-six participants were surveyed before and after the program in order to determine the impact of the program in terms of several entrepreneurial skills and mindsets including idea generation, pitching an idea, idea selection, primary and secondary consumer research, engaging customers, prototype fabrication and engaging potential business partners. Students from the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Pharmacy and Engineering participated in the event with approximately one-half of the participating students being engineers. Students ranged from first year engineering students up to Pharm. D. candidates. The 3DS program was run in coordination with 3DS Global – the parent organization which oversees curriculum design and delivery. A volunteer facilitator trained by 3DS Global delivered the content, with assistance from an organization team of students and faculty from Western New England University. Throughout the experience, students were coached and guided by mentors and panelists from the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. A large portion of the event was held at a local business accelerator, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM). The event began on a Friday afternoon. All students involved with the event were required to arrive with one idea written on a piece of paper. Students worked in small teams to discuss ideas prior to voting on the most interesting idea for further development. Self-formed student teams spent the remainder of the weekend further developing the remaining ideas. By Sunday evening student teams delivered well pitched viable business opportunities and gained real interest from potential investors. The benefits of holding this experience partially off campus and with a non-faculty outside facilitator will be explored and emphasized. Instead of focusing on a set of concepts or terms, the program teaches a problem solving methodology that can be applied to a range of business settings. This methodology is more robust than theoretical education, which often cannot anticipate the highly variable nature of business creation. The paper strengthens the argument for the use of experiential programming for entrepreneurship education. Additionally, the methodology used in this study can be reproduced to effectively evaluate other entrepreneurship programming. The paper demonstrates the need for future research in this area to further understand the impact of experiential entrepreneurship education.

Gettens, R., & Zimbroff, A., & Spotts, H. E., & Houser, C., & Taylor, A., & Schoonmaker, M. G. (2016, June), An Intensive Experiential Entrepreneurship Program (3-Day Startup) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26218

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