Fifteen student-run startups sprung from a year-long immersion into entrepreneurship, courtesy of Emerson College’s E3 program, and demoed in front of a crowd Sunday morning for their shot at a piece of $20,000.

Launched by Emerson’s Director of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies Karl Baehr, E3 forces students to formulate their own ideas, build around them and then figure out the strategy necessary to bring them to market over the course of two semesters.

“E3 is not an exercise in writing a term paper,” Baehr said in a previous interview. “E3 is real.”

The program has seen a 35 percent launch rate, and 20 percent of the students who have gone through E3 are currently involved in a venture of their own creation. In the year to come, the test will be to see if Sunday’s three winning teams stick to their newfound startups.

Walking away with the first-place prize was Jon Allen of “Classic Red,” a bottled, all-natural twist on the classic Shirley Temple drink. He was awarded $5,000 in cash, $3,000 in legal services from New Leaf Legal and $2,000 in services from Leary & Company Public Relations.

Following in his award-winning footsteps was Tana Bramley, who took home second-place for “Real Investments,” a real estate investment firm and property management company. She won $3,000 in cash and $2,000 in legal services.

Third-place went to Siri Winter for FUME, an online art magazine dedicated to promoting up-and-coming young artists. She won $2,000 in cash and $1,000 in legal services.

The event came on the heels of last week’s Boston Marathon tragedy, and was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 20. Out of safety for the students, however, Baehr cancelled the event and rescheduled and restaged in less than 24 hours.

“In situations like these, we each respond according to our mettle,” Baehr said in a press release. “These entrepreneurs didn’t just curl up in a ball; they rose to the challenge.”

Emerson students Nick Reynolds and Chris Dobens were on hand at the event selling the Boston Strong t-shirts they created which have, so far, raised more than $350,000 for The One Fund.

More than 120 new business ventures have stemmed from Emerson’s E3 program, including Second Glass, creator of oenophiles’ beloved Wine Riot, and Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, who just announced they were opening a brick and mortar in Allston yesterday.

As Baehr has said: “Our outcomes are on par with the top programs in the country—we actually surpass most of them. The truth of it is, we’re doing some really cool shit here.”

The 2013 E3 Expo was proof.


Featured Photos Courtesy of Karl Baehr