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September 18, 19, & 20, 2020

Sponsored by CEFCU


3 Day Startup is a [virtual] 72-hour learning-by-doing campus program
that teaches entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme hands-on environment.


What happens at a 3 Day Startup Program?

Orientation (September 11th, 2020): Participating students meet, get introduced to key entrepreneurship principles, and learn best practices for maximizing the 3 Day Startup program experience.

Day 1: Participants arrive – with or without startup ideas – and a facilitator leads the group through dedicated brainstorming, preliminary pitches/feedback, and team selection modules. Some teams work late into the night and others prefer to rest up in preparation for day 2.

Day 2: Day 2 places heavy emphasis on business model generation. Teams focus on customer discovery (where they hit the streets –– or the phones –– and talk to potential customers), structured mentorship, intermediate pitches and feedback sessions.

Day 3: Continued execution (including pitch workshops) leading into final pitches/demos before a panel of mentors and investors.  


Ideal Participant


The best candidate for 3DS is someone with a desire to solve problems and is currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program. The only prerequisites are:

  1. Openmidenedness - Are you open to exploring new ideas or working on an idea even if it's not your own?

  2. Teamwork - Leadership and followership go hand-in-hand. Are you able to work well with others?

  3. Enthusiasm - Are you generally excited about seeing projects through to the end?

  4. Communication - Are you able to communicate your needs, provide support, and ask for help?

  5. Coachable - Are you able to receive feedback and apply lessons learned?


What Do Participants Get?
​The worst case scenario is that you will work with brilliant people from numerous disciplines toward the common goal of building real companies and products. Great connections happen at 3 Day Startup: cofounders meet, complimentary skill sets collide, and friends are made. The best case scenario is that you will be a cofounder of a wildly successful new startup.


the application period has closed for the Fall 2020 cohort.

3DS will begin on September 18, 2020, at 4:00 PM and end on September 20, 2020 at 2:30 PM


September 18


4:00 PM: Participants Arrive

4:30 PM: 3DS Introduction

5:00 PM: Ideation and Brainstorming Module

6:30 PM: Preliminary Pitches & Feedback

7:30 PM: Idea Voting & Team Formation

8:00 PM: Wrap up the evening

8:30 PM: Vote for best startup concepts


September 19


9:00 AM: Welcome + intro to Lean Canvas

9:30 AM: Customer Discovery Module

10:00 AM: Customer Discovery + Execution

12:45 PM: Rapid Prototyping Module

2:00 PM: Mentorship

4:45 PM: Intermediate Pitch & Feedback


September 20


9:00 AM: Welcome to Day 3 + Pitch Fundamentals Module

12:30 PM: Tech run-throughs + pitch rehearsal

1:00 PM: Final Pitches

2:30 PM: Finish Day 3 (Program Concludes)

the fine print.
Participation: The program is free but you must apply to get in. 3DS is open to grad and undergrad students of all years, majors, and experience levels. Admissions are rolling, so please apply ASAP to increase your chances of participating.



Fall 2020 Participant Concepts

We did it! We hosted our FIRST Virtual 3 Day Startup (3DS) Event @iSPI/UIS on September 18, 19, and 20, 2020. The 3DS program is designed to engage and connect university students to experiential learning opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation over the course of a three-day startup weekend.


The intended outcomes align with Innovate Springfield’s Strategic Compass goal to support students in pursuing and achieving their personal goals and to provide robust training, and other strong supports to student members of iSPI's business incubation program. 3DS served as a rich and vibrant virtual experience for those who participated.

The iSPI 3DS event included 14 students from UIS, Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL, and Mumbai University in Mumbai, India. The participants all pitched their individual concepts on day one, and teams were formed around the four leading ideas. Learn more about the four concepts below, and be on the lookout for even more great startup ideas from the 3DS @iSPI Alumni.

Plate Beacon.

Helping the restaurant industry get back on its feet while also helping to fight local hunger.

Plate Beacon connects restaurants with nonprofits in the Chicago-area to address the imbalance in the food ecosystem, reducing both food insecurity and food waste. Plate Beacon will offer lower commission delivery rates to restaurants in exchange for excess ingredients, with donation deliveries to food banks being funded by food deliveries to consumers.


The Relationship App.

When you're tired of dating around.

A hybrid solution to online dating apps, the Relationship Help App provides community-based coaching and counseling services combined with personalized matchmaking to promote meaningful and healthy relationships. Using research-based assessments, users will be matched based on their attachment styles, interests, and psychological drivers.


In Line.

Avoid in-person crowding and keep staff and customers safe!

Get In Line is a web-based application that allows users to reserve their spot in line anywhere they go. Take back your time, maximize your productivity, and never stand in line again. Get In Line is free to users and costs a mere 22% per transaction to venues, allowing for an increase in the venue's the volume of sales, while dually managing crowds.


Untitled DB.

Supporting artists, and making art accessible.

An open-access visual art database, Untitled DB connects aspiring artists with galleries, museums, and art enthusiasts. The platform aims to breakdown the barriers to exposure for artists, fostering a strong and diverse arts culture that is accessible to everyone.


Meet the Mentors and Panelists

Get to know the expert mentors and panelists who graciously volunteered their time and talent to support the 3 Day Starters in developing their concepts. Given we hosted the event virtually, we were able to convene experts from around the world including Springfield, IL; Austin, TX; College Station, TX; and Paris, France.

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