Catch top student startups pitch Aug. 28, 2018 at 36|86: Student Edition
Calling all student entrepreneurs! Are you interested in an opportunity to get feedback from expert mentors and pitch your idea to a panel of elite judges for the chance to take home funding that could catapult your business? Then learn more and apply today for 36|86: Student Edition, our annual mentorship and pitch competition for students enrolled in Tennessee universities. Applications are open through June 4.
If you aren’t already convinced as to why you should apply, see what these 2017 winners had to say about their experience and where they are now.
Q: How would you describe the 36|86: Student Edition experience and why is it a good opportunity for student entrepreneurs?
A: The 36|86: Student Edition experience was wonderful for multiple reasons. It provided serious motivation to organize the company and deliver a good pitch. It showed us an amazing example of other companies at our stage. We got to meet a lot of great people. And of course, the prize money really helped us sustain the business long enough to reach breakeven.
A: 36|86: Student Edition was such a wonderful opportunity to pitch an idea in a low-risk, supportive environment. The mentors and judges were incredibly helpful in providing feedback and expert advice. Talking with other teams was beneficial as well; everyone understood the struggle of balancing school with a startup and the unique challenges that come with that.
A: The 36|86: Student Edition event is a high energy, inspiring experience that offers a great way to expand your network, hone your pitch, and test your idea. It is ideal for student entrepreneurs because it is an opportunity to put your idea out there, get helpful feedback, and keep moving toward commercial success.
With The Band
A: 36|86: Student Edition 2017 was my first experience watching students pitch outside of Belmont. I really enjoyed getting to meet other student entrepreneurs from around Tennessee, and it was very helpful to get feedback about my company from the judges, who are some of the leading business executives in the United States.
Q: How has winning 36|86: Student Edition impacted Gigamunch?
A: We have used the prize money to keep us afloat long enough to become profitable. We also met a lot of great connections thanks to it.
A: 36|86 was Leaf’s first real test with the startup and investor communities. Winning was incredibly validating in addition to giving us momentum and credibility. The funding allowed us to register the company, create a website, and build our blockchain platform. It also contributed towards our first pilot in Rwanda! LaunchTN has continued to support us through providing invaluable publicity and connections even after 36|86.
A: Winning 36|86: Student Edition has significantly helped PATH EX in many aspects. One of the most important things for PATH EX after winning 36|86: Student Edition was getting connected with key mentors through LaunchTN. Mentors have played a tremendous role in helping PATH EX progress. Also, LaunchTN has provided investor and corporate connections, which has been very beneficial.
With The Band
A: Winning gave me the confidence and the funds to start building the foundation for With the Band. Before 36|86, I knew that the Belmont community thought With the Band was a good idea; however, 36|86 was the first time I had ever talked to people outside of my school, family, and friends about the company. Winning helped validate the fact that I needed to devote more time into forming this company. Looking back, 36|86: Student Edition made me realize that With the Band was no longer just an idea, but it was a company.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring student entrepreneurs?
A: My advice for aspiring student entrepreneurs is to make sure this is something you really want to do. Right now, starting a business is kind of a fad and it’s glamorized as being really cool. The truth is it’s not for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with working for a business you are passionate about. You really need to evaluate your personal style to see if it’s a good fit. To sum it up – know thyself!
A: Take advantage of all the resources your university provides! Even if it’s outside of your department or standard use of resources, most universities provide a great environment in which to incubate ideas. Use the talent around you (students, professors, etc.) and take advantage of the general generosity towards students. People want to help you. Learn from them. Don’t let the fact that you’re a student get in the way of pursuing a great idea.
A: My advice for aspiring student entrepreneurs is to attend the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival. It is an opportunity to surround yourself with ambitious people and get inspired. Also, the event is a great place to network and meet potential mentors.
With The Band
A: Get involved! My first sounding board for With the Band was the Belmont Business Plan Competition. First, I started getting involved at Belmont through the Belmont Entrepreneur Center and then the Belmont Accelerator Program. Then, I got involved in a broader sense with Nashville student entrepreneur groups and even national student entrepreneur organizations. Also, get involved with your city’s entrepreneur center! I have been involved at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center for about 8 months now, and it has been such a useful source when it comes to learning and networking.