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BDIC 397A: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Where & When: Tuesdays 5:30-7:15pm, Location: E Lab II
Join us after class at Rafters at 7:30 pm for our weekly social and networking session. Note: Rafter's is for ALL AGES.  We provide food; you provide your own drinks.  Come and enjoy learning in an informal environment.

Registration: To register on SPIRE for the EI courses "Intro to Entrepreneurship" and "Leadership and Networking," use Bachelor's Degree w/ Individual Concentration as the academic department.  If you need help registering, contact Linda Roney at [email protected]

Class Mentors:  Kwong Chan (Marketing Dept.), Bob Lowry (UMass alum), Paul Silva (UMass alum)

Instructors of Record: Bob Hyers (Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) , Dan Gordon (Professor, History and BDIC)

Student Assistant:  This position is now open for applications. Contact us if you have interest.

Course Description: In this 1-credit course, students explore the entrepreneurial career path. Those with ideas will learn how to attract a team and turn ideas into reality. Those seeking ideas will be shown how to create and evaluate opportunities. Students will be encouraged to form real companies.  The course is also designed to teach leadership skills that will be useful in any profession.  By the end of the class student will have completed an executive summary suitable to be shown to mentors and advisors.

Key Course Requirements

  • Attending class regularly.
  • Quizzes on reading: Getting Started as an Entrepreneur
  • Written executive summary

Executive Summary Writing And Submission

Required Course Reading

Getting Started as an Entrepreneur

Calendar of Events (5:30-7:15pm in E Lab II)

9/7 | 5:30 pm | E Lab II | Orientation & Kickoff Event - What is an entrepreneur? What does this class offer? Meet the EI team and former EI students.

Homework for 9/14: Read "Opportunity" in Getting Started as an Entrepreneur and be prepared for brief quiz.  Be sure to read all 9 sections of "Opportunity."

9/14 Idea Creation & Evaluation (part I) - Don't have an idea?  Learn two ways to come up with great ideas.  Then we'll show you how to evaluate which ideas are worth exploring.
Guest Speakers: Bob Lowry, Paul Silva

Homework for 9/21: Draft your own elevator pitch describing the need, solution, and market opportunity in <100 words. Bring to class.  Be prepared to deliver it and discuss it with other students.  For sample elevator pitch click here.

9/21 Idea Creation & Evaluation (part II) - Some students will pitch their ideas to the rest of the class to solicit advice and recruit team members.

Homework for 9/28: Read the "Market" section of Getting Started as an Entrepreneur and be prepared for brief quiz.

9/28 Marketing for Innovations - Learn how to identify, segment, and reach your target market (AKA "the people you hope will buy your stuff").  Learn how to answer THE marketing question: "How many dollars have this problem?"
Guest Speaker: Prof. Kwong Chan

Homework for 10/5: Read the "Money" section of Getting Started as an Entrepreneur and be ready for brief quiz.

10/5   Startup Financials & Flavors of Capital - Learn about the fundamentals of financials, income statements, projections, and calculating investment needs for a startup.
Guest Speaker: Paul Silva   

Homework for 10/19: Read "Team" and "Plan" sections of Getting Started as an Entrepreneur and be ready for quiz.

10/12 No class.  Follow Monday schedule.

10/19 The Art of Entrepreneurship TED Talk - A UMass Alum, entrepreneur, and angel investor shares his TEDx talk on the creativity and skills needed to be an entrepreneur in IT or the Arts.
Guest Speaker: Frank Peters

Homework: see assignments under 10/5.

10/26 Speaking Investorese: Executive Summary - The key document to get your foot in the door with investors, bankers, and partners is the Executive Summary.  Learn how to write one here!
Guest Speaker: Paul Silva

11/2 Entrepreneur's Panel - Four successful entrepreneurs share their stories and answer yoru questions.
Panelists: Nancy Urbschat, Sarah Maggi Morin, Lisa Ekus-Saffer, and Marjorie Feldman-Wood

Homework: First draft of executive summary (Template | Sample: All inPlay) due 11/9 in class, bring 3 printed copies. 

11/9 Polishing Your Executive Summary - This class session is dedicated to helping each team improve their executive summary. Be sure to bring 3 copies of your draft!

Homework: Final draft of executive summary due friday 11/12 @ 9:00 am, submit here

11/16 Polishing Your Pitch - A detailed, interactive event aimed at helping improve all aspects of a live pitch to potential investors.

11/23  No class.  Happy Thanksgiving.

11/30 (4:30-7:30pm) UMass EI Exec. Sum. Competition - Our top five teams will compete for cash prizes awarded by a panel of real-world entrepreneurs, investors and bankers. Learn more about the competition, how to compete, and how to fulfill your executive summary submission requirement for the class.
Note: as this event runs late, the after-class social doesn't start until around 8:00 pm.

12/7 The Entrepreneurship Initiative Banquet | Marriot Center (11th floor of the Campus Center) - An end-of-semester celebration and mixer for our students, faculty, and friends.  Free food!



Scott W. Killoh