Case Study: 3 Day Startup Hosts First Organizer Training Workshop in Bogota, Colombia

3 Day Startup partnered with REUNE – ASCUN, a consortium of universities across Bogota, to host a 3 Day Startup Organizer Training Workshop with professors and administrators from 14 different universities. The hands-on workshop provided educators from across the REUNE network the tools and know-how to better support student startups and experiential entrepreneurship education outcomes through developing 3 Day Startup programs for their respective universities.


  • Cross-university collaboration among administration to lay the foundation for the larger student startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bogota
  • A better understanding of real problems student entrepreneurs are facing across the REUNE university network
  • Educators learned first hand how to develop and execute more experiential learning opportunities, such as  3DS, for their university students

Duration: Two days

Objective: Provide professors and administrators the capabilities of the 3 Day Startup “learning by doing” model to increase hands-on entrepreneurship initiatives and student-launched startups at each educator’s respective university.

Key Problems for Student Entrepreneurship at Universities in Bogota

  • There is a lack of physical space in Bogota for students to collaborate and incubate their ideas.
  • Current incubator and accelerator infrastructure is poor. While there are entities in Bogota that are referred to as incubators, the offerings and expertise of these institutions function at a much smaller scale than that of a traditional incubator.
  • The entrepreneurship and business curriculum are heavily oriented around business plans.
  • There are insufficient hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in the practice of entrepreneurship.
  • The university is disconnected from the larger startup ecosystem.
  • Most professors have extensive academic and research backgrounds, but not many have applicable entrepreneurship experience.

Key Insights into the 3 Day Startup Program

  • 3DS programs break down traditional university silos by combining 40-45 students from diverse backgrounds in one room to cross-collaborate and start companies.
  • Due to the fast-paced nature of 3DS programs, students accomplish 3 months of progress in a period of a few days.
  • The importance of building a viable, revenue-generating startup is heavily emphasized at 3DS. Students are pushed to validate their ideas by taking the streets and talking to customers.
  • Students do not work on business plans but instead deliver investor pitches and working prototypes.
  • 3DS programs are extremely hands-on and follow a unique “learning by doing” model. In this model, students do not listen to lectures, take tests, or write papers during the three days — much of the program time is spent on real-world execution.
  • Experienced entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and startup gurus from the larger community are invited as mentors and panelists to every 3DS program. This increases community engagement and exposes students and the university to the larger ecosystem.

Day 1: Understanding the Current Ecosystem

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14 professors and administrators from the REUNE university network were introduced to each other on the first day of the workshop where they discussed the current entrepreneurship ecosystem at their universities. Despite having similar challenges on their campuses, most of the professors had never met or collaborated before meeting at the workshop.

Professors were then introduced to the 3 Day Startup Program and provided the necessary tools to help them develop successful 3DS programs that fit the different needs of their universities.

3DS Organizer Toolkit
Program Manager & Facilitator

The 3DS Program Manager advises organizers remotely throughout the organizing process and the 3DS Facilitator assists organizers during the program weekend.

3DS Organizer Kit

A dynamic resource that covers the complete process of organizing a 3 Day Startup program

Bootcamp Creation & Instruction

A bootcamp prepares selected participants for the 3DS program weekend. Participants are given an overview of the weekend schedule and tips to better prepare their ideas for the program.

Promotion & Recruitment Training

3DS shares best practices in promoting and recruiting student participants for the best outcomes.

3DS Global Network Benefits

The 3DS Global Network has connected organizers and participants to cofounders, mentors, investors, and even future employers.

Day 2: Mini 3 Day Startup

In the spirit of the 3 Day Startup “learning by doing” model, professors and administrators participated in a short form 3DS program to experience the model firsthand.

Brainstorming and Team Formation

In exactly the same manner as their student counterparts, 14 professors and administrators from various universities in the REUNE network split into three brainstorming groups where they discussed various startup ideas they wanted to pursue over the course of the day. After pitching ideas to each other, the groups voted and chose the top three ideas they wanted to work on.

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Just like their student counterparts, professors voted on the ideas to pursue over the weekend.

During this process, all of the educators bonded and collaborated with each other in a way that would never have been accomplished through a sit down lecture. This type of interaction among the different universities promotes an entrepreneurship ecosystem ripe for collaboration with new insights and perspectives.

“The workshop was a space where we could generate ideas and experience the role of entrepreneurs. Likewise, we also learned the methodology of 3DS and how this program contributes to the creation of entrepreneurship culture at universities.” – Andrea Solangie Avila Tinoco, Universidad del Rosario

Customer Discovery and Market Validation

Professor Orlando Tarazona Morales, Universidad El Bosque, gathers customer feedback.

Professor Orlando Tarazona Morales, Universidad El Bosque, gathers customer feedback.

Instead of developing a business plan — which is stressed in the current curriculum at universities in Bogota — educators engaged in customer discovery and market validation. The 3DS model stresses the importance of building a viable startup and educators embraced this experience by getting out of the building and talking to their customers.

Final Pitches

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Professor Jairo Romero, Universidad Central, presents his idea

After customer discovery and market validation, each team presented their findings in a pitch. This exercise stressed the importance of “learning by doing” and running lean to accommodate potential pivots. This experiential learning component of the workshop was complimentary to the heavy research and academic backgrounds of each respective educator. At the end of the workshop each professor and administrator left armed the tools and expertise to develop 3 Day Startup programs at their own universities.

The following day, participating professors and administrators compared their own experiences at the workshop by observing their own students participate in the first inaugural 3DS Bogota. Read more about the program here.

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