This course is intended for students who are interested in starting new businesses with a lesser emphasis on working for or investing in start-up companies. The course focuses on the development of new enterprises from both a strategic and tactical, action-oriented, hands-on perspective. Students learn how to raise initial seed funding, compensate for limited human and financial resources, establish initial brand values and positioning, leverage a strong niche position, determine appropriate sourcing and sales channels, and develop execution plans in sales, marketing, product development and operations.
The emphasis is managerial and entrepreneurial. It could be described as a working model for starting an enterprise. Paralleling the course content is the YourCo. "game" in which teams of four to five students simulate building a new venture. At the beginning of the class, teams describe a product or service they would like to bring to market, determine the necessary seed funding amount, and outline current staffing and development status. Through the quarter, students explore the critical activities companies execute to engage customers, deliver products and services, scale operations and build teams. Companies range from high tech commercialization to retail concepts to small manufacturing firms. Each week, teams have specific written deliverables for their "company" based on the course material. Assignments include identifying key hires, choosing an initial target customer set, executing a marketing campaign, creating a sales pitch, completing a development/production plan, identifying important strategic partners, and determining next round funding requirements. "Game" points are awarded based on feasibility of actions, creativity of solutions, and adherence to seed budget constraints.
Through class lectures, "game" assignments, and real world cases, the course covers such topics as new product innovation; building a start-up management team; identifying target customers; inexpensive promotion/advertising techniques; professionalizing a sales process; and leveraging strategic partners. Emphasis is placed on marketing and sales for new enterprises, because this is a major area of entrepreneurial weakness.
Class limit will be strictly adhered to and adding this class after the first week is strongly discouraged unless all classes have been attended.