Last month, 3 Day Startup (3DS) partnered with REUNE – ASCUNE to host the first 3DS Bogota program in Colombia. REUNE – ASCUNE, a consortium of universities across the city of Bogota, promotes entrepreneurship education at the university level through collaborative initiatives. The 3DS Bogota program provided 56 student entrepreneurs from 14 universities with the additional tools and resources found beyond the classroom to help spur the budding university startup scene as well as the larger startup ecosystem.
The entrepreneurial spirit is particularly dynamic among university students in Bogota. Students are extremely passionate about building and creating new and interesting products. In fact, many participants already had experience building extensive prototypes prior to the program. Some of these impressive prototypes range from safer cars to new formulas for hand sanitizer. Educators say the problem is not getting students to build things, but rather the insufficient outlets available for students to validate and turn their ideas into viable startups. “The university is really good at pushing out traditional research, but there is very little opportunity for students to partake in hands-on learning,” says Julian Gutierrez, Coordinator at REUNE – ASCUNE.
“Students from different disciplines are also not used to working with each other,” says Gutierrez. The insular nature of the university and the current entrepreneurship curriculum does not allow for regular interaction with mentors and the larger startup community. For these reasons, starting a venture as a student at the university is challenging. “Without a strong support system, students still have a fear of failure,” adds Gutierrez.