|15 February 2016|

Edinburgh Research & Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of the University of Edinburgh, has established a global partnership with the University of Austin, Texas-based 3 Day Startup (3DS), a global entrepreneurship development programme, to host a number of programmes at universities across the UK and internationally.

Six members of ERI staff have been appointed as 3DS ‘facilitators’ to deliver a minimum of six programmes for Scottish university students before the end of 2019. Moreover, ERI has been appointed by 3DS to help universities in the UK and around the world deliver their own 3DS programme.

Sarah Scace, Enterprise Manager – Marketing and Communications, from ERI’s LAUNCH.ed student enterprise initiative, is helping University of Oxford deliver its first 3DS programme later this month at Said Business School.

3DS teaches entrepreneurial skills to the students in an extreme hands-on environment. It creates a ‘living entrepreneurship laboratory’ on a university campus by bringing together students with diverse backgrounds eager to gain experience in cross-disciplinary collaboration, brainstorming, idea creation, and group productivity, including ad-hoc leadership and decision-making under severe time constraints.

The University of Edinburgh was the first university to bring the 3DS model to the UK in 2013 and has a track record of growing the programme. The three programmes held at the University to date have seen 239 entrepreneurial participants from five universities in Scotland pitch 20 new business ideas to experienced business mentors. Last year, as an example, over the 72-hour programme, 115 students took part, eight brand new ideas were pitched and there are now companies under development.

The Edinburgh’s 3DS programmes have seen participation from first year under-graduate students to experience postdoctoral researchers, collaborating and developing promising company propositions over the 72-hours.

The two organisations have worked closely together to develop a keen 3DS community in Edinburgh. Alumni of the program receive ongoing support from LAUNCH.ed and Enterprise Campus, two programmes that are part of the ERI enterprise services portfolio, plus links to 3DS’s international community.

Grant Wheeler, ERI’s head of company formation is delighted with this new partnership forged from closer collaborative ties since the first 3DS back in 2013.

He said: “We are pleased to be working with this bright new international program that provides a very high level of support to participants and helps them tap into an international community of entrepreneurs. Our budding Scottish entrepreneurs will not only benefit from these international links but certainly also have something to offer that community. This actively supercharges entrepreneurship in Scotland like never before.

“The finished product of the 72 hour programe isn’t a full-fledged revenue-generating company – it’s a team with an idea that has enough momentum to become a real company. From there we can nurture the team into a successful business.”

Cam Houser CEO of 3 Day Startup added: “Working with ERI to help grow the UK entrepreneurship ecosystem has been a wonderful experience. The group has tremendous vision and a great team. We are proud to call them partners and we are excited to continue igniting the potential of student entrepreneurs throughout the region.”

For Fern Sinclair, a 3DS alumnus from Edinburgh’s first event in 2013, said the programme gave her a change of perspective;

“I am a scientist so my biggest challenge was thinking from a business perspective. However, I learnt that no matter how unique an idea is, it is useless in the business world if nobody wants to buy it.”

Since her 3DS experience, Fern has gone on to great success. After coming second in the 2014 Edinburgh BioQuarter Innovation Competition, Fern was a category winner at the 2014 Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) Fresh Ideas Competition and was one of the winners of SIE’s 2014 Young Innovators Challenge.

Edinburgh will also host an international leg of this year’s 3DS Global Roundup, set for July 2016, where entrepreneurs will travel from across Europe to meet and participate in entrepreneurial activity.

3DS was originally brought to the UK – and originally to Edinburgh – with funding from the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) Interreg IVB Open Innovation project that promotes innovating with partners by sharing risk and sharing reward.

Source: Edinburgh Research and Innovation press release