Business program holds inauguration during three-day Thought Lot event

Shippensburg University’s recently established Charles H. Diller, Jr. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership teamed up with 3 Day Startup (3DS) to give students hands-on experience not seen in the classroom.

3DS, a worldwide entrepreneurship educational program founded by college students at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, allows participants to gain vital skills at becoming a successful entrepreneur over the span of three days.

Saaket Dubey, a program facilitator who got his start in business as a 3DS participant, was in attendance at Shippensburg’s inaugural program. Dubey now runs a marketing firm in Austin, Texas, and helps set up new 3DS programs to ensure participants have everything they need.

“The goal is we take three months of learning a startup and condense it into three days,” Dubey said. “It’s a lot of work.”

Dubey said, in some cases, students may be working on the project well past midnight.

On March 31, four participants walked into The Thought Lot, not quite knowing how challenging the next few days would become.

During the course of the next three days, participants pitched business ideas, organized in groups and began to develop their business ideas.

One group, who called themselves “Ultra-Glow,” originally had the idea of developing a high-tech and revolutionary toothbrush, but quickly revamped their idea upon talking to the local market.

SU students, Jodie Megilo and Ethan Stratton found out how crucial this step in the process is.

Upon interviewing consumers, Megilo and Stratton realized an automated denture cleaner was in higher demand on the market than just another toothbrush.

“That’s when we realized that we could change that and actually offer it to people that had dentures,” Megilo said. “It was like a light bulb went off.”

The final day of the program culminated with a presentation of each group’s ideas in front of a panel comprised of local businessmen and women.

Because this is the first 3DS in Shippensburg, only two groups presented their plans to the panel.

According to Dubey, once the program becomes mature, there are usually 40–50 participants who present up to seven ideas.

Megilo and Stratton presented their denture company “Ultra-Glow” along with another group “Unir Training Solutions,” which is an educational website similar to Desire2Learn.

“It was great to get out of the classroom,” Stratton said. “I didn’t expect [3DS] to give me as much information as I learned.

Otso Massala, SU associate professor and director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, said he was optimistic about the future of 3DS in Shippensburg.

“I am very convinced it’s going to grow,” Massala said. “The reason I believe so is when I see those students who are involved, I can see how focused they are.”

Dubey said he believes the program will one day be able to benefit more than just SU students.

“I think it can be an excellent program for the entire region,” Dubey said.

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