ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS An entrepreneurship class forscience and technology students La Salle University Marsha Wender TimmermanIntegrated Science Business and Technology
The Problem• Science and technology students have thecreativity and knowledge to generate newhigh technology product ideas • They do not understand business • They do not speak the language of business • They view the science and technology as the primary goal • Business is the secondary, much less important goal
The Solution• Prepare a course specifically for these students• Emphasize that the technology know how must be partnered with business know how • Real success requires good technology and good business• Devote equal time to the technical and business concerns• Teach the course using “technical” language, not “business” language
Specific Goals of the Course• To guide students through the process from idea recognition to reduction to practice.• To inform students about what intellectual property is and the best ways to protect it.• To teach students basic business concepts that will enable them to make good business decisions.• To help students understand organizational structures that will allow them to be the leaders of their ventures while surrounding themselves with individuals whose strengths complement their weaknesses.• To provide students with a road map that enables them to start their own ventures.
Class Discussion Topics• Introduction to Entrepreneurship• Confidentiality Agreements• Entrepreneur Profiles• Idea Recognition• Idea Feasibility• Corporate Entities• Business Plans• Marketing• Competition• The Team• Intellectual Property• Financial Management• Cash Flow Statements• Profit and Loss Statements• Balance Sheets• Ethics• Financing the Startup Venture• Operations• Managing Growth
Confidentiality Agreement• Most students are very concerned about someone “stealing” their idea• Make students comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas• Improve their understanding of what is confidential information and what is not• Learn to read and understand legal agreements• Understand the enforceability of confidentiality agreements
Entrepreneur Profiles• Bring in practicing entrepreneurs to tell their own stories • University professor creating a cancer diagnostic test • Software engineer who created a consulting company which helped pharmaceutical companies be more efficient • Electrical engineer making home automation products • Biologist making enzyme based diagnostic products • Serial entrepreneur in computer hardware• Students interview and report on entrepreneurs that they personally know
Idea Recognition• Ideas are the heart of the high technology enterprise • Encourage creativity • Encourage thinking outside the box • Need to be open minded to all new ideas • Keep a record of all ideas
Idea Feasibility• Requires all of their technical skills to make the idea a reality • This is what the technical entrepreneur worries about most• Ideas need to be more than technically feasible • There needs to be a customer • There must to be a need • There must be a way to get the product to the customer
Marketing• MARKETING IS THE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF THE VENTURE• Technology students do not appreciate or respect the value of good marketing • What is marketing • Why is it important • Who is the customer • How do you reach the customer
The Team• SUCCESS OF THE VENTURE DEPENDS ON MORE THAN THE TECHNOLOGY• Students must understand that they cannot create and build the entity by themselves• The Entrepreneur must surround themselves with people who have expertise in those areas where they are weak • Know their strengths and weaknesses• Creative approaches to compensating team members
Intellectual Property• A local intellectual property attorney leads this discussion• Discuss the pros and cons of intellectual property• What can be protected and what cannot• What does it cost• Is it worth the money• Enforcement
Financing the Venture• Most technology ventures require research and development • No revenue during this period • Large outflow of cash• Need to raise substantial money • Where does the money come from • How does one go about raising money • What are the risks to the entrepreneurs • What are the risks to the investors • What is an exit strategy and which are relevant to their type of business
Results• 125 Students have taken the class• Most have received a B or better• Students evaluations • Like the class • Willing to recommend it to their friends • Learned a lot• Types of ideas • Biotechnology and healthcare ideas • Computer hardware • Software
What is an Appropriate Assessment• Current Assessment • Class discussion and participation • Mid-term • Have students read and critique a business plan • Business Plan• Other Forms of Assessment • Creation of new business • Now • In the future • Filing of patents • Working for an entrepreneurial venture
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSpecial thank you to all the students whohave taken this course during the past 8years. I have thoroughly enjoyed their ideasand hope that one day I will see some ofthese potential products available for sale
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