A photo of the 3 Day Startup participants at DEN this past weekend.
A photo of the 3 Day Startup participants, including Kolleen Burbank '09 (center, back row), at DEN this past weekend.

Ever had a million dollar idea? Probably.

Ever turned it into more than an idea? Probably not.

Most of us don’t realize our inventions and innovations because we keep our ideas to ourselves. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid others will think it’s only a ten dollar idea. Maybe it’s a crisis of confidence. Or maybe we just don’t know where to begin.

Because of some combination of these, I’d been sitting on an idea for almost three years. I’d drop it casually into conversation, and feel validated when others showed interest. Yet, I never committed to making something of it, so the idea just kept circling in my head, along with the uncertainty of what to do with it.

Then I got an email from the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN). They announced they were hosting a 3 Day Startup weekend. I no longer had the excuse of not knowing where to begin.

3 Day Startup is an event that teams students, alumni, staff, and community members up for a long-weekend iteration of the start-up process. Dartmouth students showed up ready to test ideas to change the way we sleep, drive, shop, speak, learn, and play.

Despite being presented with more than 20 great ideas, we had to narrow it down to four and break into teams. It ultimately didn’t matter if you worked on your own idea. Going through the process of turning someone's idea into something larger can take away the bewilderment of doing it with your own idea in the future.

My team worked on a creative challenge game idea and in the course of just three days we interviewed potential customers, designed a prototype, ate a lot of snacks, created a business model, drew all over whiteboard walls, ate some more snacks, pitched our idea, and got real feedback from some of the leading entrepreneurial minds in the Dartmouth community.

A lot of people in entrepreneurship say that you “just have to go for it.” There may be some truth in that, but it’s also scary. Fortunately, DEN is a place that can help you figure out
how to go for it. So next time you’re on campus, swing by DEN. It just might be the place where your million dollar idea becomes your million dollar company.

-Kolleen Burbank D'09
At Dartmouth Kolleen majored in English and Psychology. Since graduation, she has worked in education - as a researcher, teacher, and now she is at an edtech company.

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