Igniting Entrepreneurial Spirit Within Students

By Nami Nagaoka

The Williamson College of Business Administration hosted 3 Day StartUp, an entrepreneurship program where 12 students spent three days developing their business ideas, from Friday through Sunday.

Students were divided into four groups. Each group came up with their best idea and developed the concept from a business perspective by getting consumer feedback and trying to solve any problems that arose.

Joseph Angelo, director of the YSU Entrepreneurship Center, said this was the first time YSU sponsored the program. Joseph said participants have to do three months of work in just three days during the event.

“It’s intense because we want to push them to answer questions and do the investigation in the short time frame,” Angelo said. “We want to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in our students and let them experience high energy, collaborative environments to see if they can develop their ideas into opportunities.”

Angelo said he was excited to hold the workshop, since the students are hardworking and entrepreneurial.

“Most students, as they are progressing their careers, even if they work for a large company, at some point they are going to think about doing or starting a business on their own,” he said.

Sachith Kodikara, a freshman majoring in business administration, said the lean canvas model is one of the most useful tools he learned during the program. He explained lean canvas as a model with nine phases for developing a startup business. Lean canvas also helped him develop a pitch for his idea, he said.

“[This program] is long. It starts at nine [and] goes until 10:00 p.m., but it’s not tiring. It’s very fun, actually,” Kodikara said. “I [had to] come up with some new ideas, solve problems”

Kodikara said the experience helped the participants sharpen their team-building skills.

“I’m almost friends with all those people now,” he said.

Mi Le, a freshman majoring in business administration, said her team had changed their idea after interviewing customers.

“After this workshop, I noticed that I should have some knowledge in graphic design,” she said. “This program is not only for business students.”

After the competition, Angelo encouraged the participants to keep experimenting with their concepts.

Betty Jo Licata, the dean of Williamson College of Business Administration, joined the pitch presentations on the final day of the program.

“[The participants] obviously worked very hard on their ideas.” she said.

Licata also said the students worked hard and looks forward to seeing their next steps after this competition.

“I’m impressed that students were very dedicated to spend Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to be here to develop their business ideas,” she said.

Angelo said he anticipates this will be the first of many entrepreneurial competitions. In the spring, Angelo plans to give students the opportunity to develop their ideas more fully and compete for prizes.