5 Questions with Erika Haskins, CEO of 3 Day Startup

Oct 14, 2021

Erika Haskins, CEO, is an educator, community builder, and entrepreneurship enthusiast. She brings 14 years experience in education and workforce development serving as a high school principal, coaching social entrepreneurs, facilitating community led design, and supporting the launch of 65+ innovative public schools across the country. She received two advanced degrees in educational leadership and her MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

01. Give us the elevator pitch for 3 Day Startup.

3 Day Startup exists to create opportunity and build community through entrepreneurship education that is dynamic and inclusive. Our organization delivers experiential entrepreneurship and innovation programs for young people across the globe. Since 2008, 3DS has developed proven models to provide students with transformational learning experiences, engage business communities in meaningful ways, and advance local economies. By emphasizing learning-by-doing, rapid prototyping, resiliency, and customer empathy, participants are prepared to pursue innovation opportunities and be key contributors on entrepreneurial teams. Young people gain the skills required to establish new ventures and land jobs in innovation economies.

02. How does 3 Day Startup create a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem?

We believe all young people, regardless of social identity or zip code, deserve affirming spaces to leverage entrepreneurial thinking and experience democratic innovation. We serve marginalized communities with four core programs to realize our vision for the future: The Ultrapreneur Fellowship, Women & Nonbinary Founders, Rural Youth Initiative, and International Exchanges.

The Ultrapreneur Fellowship is a 12-week program serving disconnected young adults (18-24). Each participant acquires the skills to achieve gainful and/or self-employment in a global economy, completes two Google Career Certifications, and develops a UI/UX portfolio through their internship experience.

Women and Nonbinary Founders is an 8-week program that empowers cohorts of young women and nonbinary individuals with training, mentorship, and networking to build the advanced skills and social capital necessary to execute on their business plans.

Rural Schools Initiatives provide a capstone experience for 11th and 12th grade students in a partnership with public schools and CTE programs. Students work in teams to develop technology enabled solutions through design thinking, customer discovery, market research, lean methodology, and agile project management. Each capstone experience culminates in a student showcase engaging stakeholders from the local business community.

Exchange programs welcome young leaders to the renowned technology and innovation hub of Austin, TX. Participants are immersed in local culture and the thriving ecosystem with business executives and founders who share their experience and perspective from entrepreneurial journeys. Exchanges are designed to support participants' visions and voices and promote understanding of US entrepreneurial culture and methods for new venture creation.

03. How will support from the Techstars Foundation and the Techstars network further the mission of your organization?

Support from the Techstars Foundation and network will give 3 Day Startup a platform to engage more audience and share about the impact of our work. We are looking to develop new partnerships with like minded organizations and increase our organizational capacity by adding committed board members, advisors, and volunteers.

04. How did you come to do this work and why is it important to you personally?

The mission of 3DS resonates with me on a personal level; I stand firm in the belief that our work to 1) cultivate entrepreneurial skills & mindsets and 2) ensure starting a business is an endeavor accessible to everyone is central to achieving economic inclusion, advancing social innovation, and ensuring healthy futures for our communities.

05. What is next for 3 Day Startups?

Building on a decade of success, 3DS is uniquely positioned to frame a larger conversation about the support and investments required to truly make entrepreneurship equitable and inclusive. As an organization, we are ambitious and relentless in delivering programming that swiftly responds to ecosystem needs, uplifts new definitions for value, and demonstrates profound impact by nurturing the visions and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities and under-resourced entrepreneurs.

3 Day Startup was nominated by Jason Seats, Chief Investment Officer at Techstars, to be a participant in the Accelerate Equity program of the Techstars Foundation in 2021. Make a gift of any amount and the Techstars Foundation will match a portion of what you and Jason give! You are key to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Donate now and advance equity through entrepreneurship with the Techstars Foundation.