3DS program teaches real world business experience

Lauren Gorla

In only a 72-hour time period, 40 Georgia Southern University students across multiple disciplines will band together to create a new business and foster growth and creativity in that process. 

3-Day Startup, or 3DS, is a new program for GSU brought to campus by Dominique Halaby, Ph.D., director of business research and economic development, but has been going on nationwide since 2008.

“It’s just never happened at Georgia Southern, so we’re excited to bring a caliber program to our students to be able to participate and get that taste of what it means to start up a business,” Halaby said.

40 students will be selected for the event from applications reviewed by a selection committee.  Students can be of any major and any level of education, undergraduate and graduate included.

“We want it to be a very eclectic group. Entrepreneurs and business owners come from all different backgrounds and degrees,” Halaby said.  “It’s a great way to interact with people in other fields that may think of things a little differently than you might.”

Students will be placed into teams and will then work together to create an idea for a new business, which will be presented at the end of the event to a group of panelists including GSU faculty as well as some in the industry.

The business lessons learned through 3DS are things that can take a full year or possibly two to learn, but this event will give students a three day crash course in what it takes to form an idea for a startup.

“The big things that they get is a hands-on, a real strong understanding of what it takes to come up with a business, how to vet out ideas, how to come up with concepts, how to be able to be comfortable to pitch these to potential investors,” Halaby said.

Faculty and staff from the engineering and business departments will also be on-hand as mentors for students to bounce their ideas off of as they are being fleshed out and offer suggestions on how to refine their ideas

If the panel finds a really good idea, then there is the possibility of taking it further and creating a real business from the idea, Halaby said.

“We’re hoping that having that higher degree of faculty and staff interaction, they’ll be able to see ‘is there something there?’ Is there a possibility that that business idea that these group of students that didn’t know each other, is there something marketable?” Halaby said.

Halaby decided to reach out to 3DS about bringing the program to campus for students to participate in and gain real-world experience regarding business startups.

Highly regarded institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and University of Texas are just a few of the universities have participated in the program before.

“One of our big charges is to make sure we help change the culture not just at Georgia Southern, but the entire southeast of Georgia.  We want to make this really about innovation, about entrepreneurship, about creativity and we want to bring the right partners to our area to spur that cultural change,” Halaby said.

Applications can be found online and are due by Jan. 24.  The event will be at the Information Technology building from Feb. 14 to 16.