MMM123-New Venture Start-Up

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Mr Keith Heron
Email: keith.heron@henley.reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

New venture start-up involves more than generating a creative idea…it involves starting-up or taking action.



In this module we expect a student to demonstrate how they would test out their start-up hypothesis idea in order to build their own and potential investor confidence, prior to venture launch.



This module will NOT require a Business Plan but it will require students to design ‘test and learn’ cycles of their Value Proposition thinking as an integral part of their progress towards start-up.



It is taught over 3 terms and often in parallel with Level 6 module, Entrepreneurial Project, to allow time for the discovery of the venture idea, its incubation and finally its feasibility-testing in Summer term with an audience of tutors and peer students.


Aims:

"The success of [a module] can be captured by the extent to which "it enables participants to behave like an entrepreneur, think like an entrepreneur, feel like an entrepreneur, communicate like an entrepreneur, organise like an entrepreneur and learn like an entrepreneur (Gibb, 2008).



 



This module will provide the knowledge, encouragement, and support for students to:




  • discover an opportunity for a business idea and generate their creative idea- this is the CUSTOMER’S PROBLEM to be solved

  • develop an idea stated as a ‘value proposition’ to solve that customer problem – the untested value proposition is a hypothesis at this stage

  • take some ‘risk’ in testing out their value proposition hypothesis in small groups of fellow students (Task 1) and with all the cohort order in order to receive feedback and reactions in a crowdfund test (Task 2)

  • Learn from crowdfund feedback to enhance the value proposition hypothesis and design a new customer engagement test (Task 3) in summer term.



The module aims to simulate the experience of entrepreneurs in start-up incubators who receive support from fellow start-ups alongside more formal coaching and mentoring.  



 



LIMITATIONS:

 



The limitations of this module are that we are not permitting you to develop a new App.



In real life the time for developing an App is extensive as it requires many cycles of ‘build-test-learn’ before it is effective, and the budget required is beyond the reach of almost every start up. It is therefore not reasonable to conceptualise this in the time and budget constraints of this module.



Instead, you are encouraged to be ‘entrepreneurially alert (Kirzner) and focus on identifying existing technology (including digital technologies) that can be adapted and combined into innovative combinations of existing technology/product/service.



These combinations of things already in existence are brought to life by you the ‘human middleware’ to provide new value to customers.



In this module we are challenging you to be the ‘human middleware’ in the way new software connects to important legacy software inside organisations through special software called ‘middleware’.



You need to be adaptive rather than inventive.


Assessable learning outcomes:

Theoretical Knowledge:

By the end of the module students should:

Be able to understand and use concepts in entrepreneurship to describe, discuss and appraise a customer problem and the business opportunity it provides

Be able to create the innovative idea matched to the opportunity

Understand what is a Value Proposition, with its component parts



 



Application of Theory:

By the end of the m odule students should:

Have demonstrated the application of theory into a testable Value Proposition

Have analysed and understood the results of the crowdfund test

Have demonstrated an understanding of the feasibility factors that support the VP- usually represented within a model known as the Business Model Canvas

Have created and then refined their original idea – modified by reflecting on feedback received- to produce a Value Proposition t hat they have more confidence in for Task 3 customer engagement test, and for possible start-up, post degree



 



Personal development:

By the end of the module students should:

Have acquired (in a portfolio) demonstrable evidence for potential partners and investors and enhanced their employability.



 



International Awareness:

By the end of the module students should:
< br /> Have interacted with students of different nationalities and exchanged and learned from cultural and market intelligence.


Additional outcomes:

Enhanced personal confidence and competence for ‘start-up’.



Organisation, competence and confidence in presenting to a large classroom cohort.



Demonstrated enhanced reflection capabilities which are essential at Masters (Level 7) learning.


Outline content:

Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship, sources of opportunity, personal alertness, creativity and idea generation, risk taking, hypothesis testing, marketing, selling, team building and team dynamics, business model analysis, crowdfunding as a source of customer interest.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This course is highly interactive and reliant upon personal initiative and action taking. Lecture classes are not traditional lectures as they are comprised of a combination of mini-lectures to stimulate interactive group work.



The Autumn lecture classes provide the theoretical information and resources to help in the discovery of the problem/opportunity and the incubation of your initial idea to solve the problem with a ‘value proposition’, which is to be pres ented in Task 1 as your individual business hypotheses- or version 1 Value Proposition.



Subsequently in Spring, students are required to be proactive in risking their personal credibility by presenting their VP hypothesis, in order to receive feedback and reactions from fellow students and tutor and respond to that feedback by enhancing their VP.



The majority of the learning will be self-guided in response to the particular needs of the chosen project unde r the guidance and mentoring of your lecturer/module convenor.



Task 3 will be undertaken in Summer term providing time for students to produce thorough primary research and engage with potential ‘early adopters’ to infirm the design of their Task 3 specification. This will involve a classroom test to an audience of tutors and peer students. 



 The majority of the learning will be self-guided in response to the particular needs of the chosen project under the guidance and mentoring of your lecturer/module convenor. 


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 12 2
Seminars 1 1
Practicals classes and workshops 6 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 49 30
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Peer assisted learning 10
    Preparation for presentations 21
    Preparation of practical report 20
    Group study tasks 10
    Essay preparation 10
    Reflection 6
       
Total hours by term 60 85 55
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 60
Oral assessment and presentation 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Entrepreneurs have limited resources and this module aims to replicate the experience of limited resources.  



To repeat:  



We are challenging you to be the ‘human middleware’ to create a novel concept that can be tested with your intended target customer audience within the financial limits that are provided for your Task 3 customer engagement test (£3000).  



It is recognised that more than £3000 will usually be required to fund the actual launch, but this module is intended to build confidence, through demonstrated tests, to go on and launch the idea post-module completion prior to risking greater levels of investment if you continue into a real life startup.  



Hence £3000 is the budget for ‘conceptually’ creating a prototype and designing a customer engagement test of your product/service/experience.  



The specification for the VP and the engagement test will be informed by learning from Task 2 and from primary research prior to Task 3. 



In real life, a successful customer engagement test, showing your risk of £3000, should produce confidence for investors to multiply your risk capital by 3x for the next (beyond this module) test. 



 



3 assessment tasks: 



 



Task 1 (0 %). Peer to peer feedback.

It involves the testing of your initial business idea (value proposition).

At this early stage of development, receiving feedback from the tutor and fellow module members helps you gain different perspectives for you to refine this into a Task 2 Crowdfund test.



This is an individual task.



In Class in Spring Week 1.



 



Task 2 (40 %) is an ‘offline’ crowdfund campaign.

This can be completed in teams of up to 5 people.



Task 2 involves 10% of the marks based upon a ranking from other students’ allocation of funds and 90% from tutor evaluation of the campaign. The VP that you showcase in the crowdfund campaign must be testable in Task 3 within a £3000 budget.



Submission Spring term Week 8 for viewing in small seminar groups in week 9 and 10.



 



Task 3 (60 %) is a short report.

You must design a specification hypothesis for your enhanced final version of the Value Proposition within an imaginary budget of £3000. You do not actually test the design hypothesis.



This is an individual task.



Submission Summer Term in presentation in week 38



 



Formative assessment methods:



Lecturer and peer observation and comments from informal presentations made in classes.

In addition there are self-reflection learning opportunities:



1-Reflecting on the words you used in your presentation of Task 1 and your Task 2 campaign and your immediate and delayed responses to those words- this is actually the most important of your feedback. You need to practice your words until your confidence grows and you are authentic in your communication- when under pressure.



2- Reaction from your peers is the second type of feedback which indicates if your Value Proposition was understood. Unless they understand it, they can't support it, or buy it, or invest in it.



3-There is feedback based on the ranking order

Formative assessment methods:

Lecturer and peer observation and comments from informal presentations made in classes. 

In addition there are self-reflection learning opportunities: 

 

1-Reflecting on the words you used in your presentation of Task 1 and your Task 2 campaign and your immediate and delayed responses to those words- this is actually the most important of your feedback. You need to practice your words until your confidence grows and you are authentic in your communication- when under pressure. 

 

2- Reaction from your peers is the second type of feedback which indicates if your Value Proposition was understood. Unless they understand it, they can't support it, or buy it, or invest in it. 

 

3-There is feedback based on the ranking order from the votes of other students. 

 

4- There is feedback from the tutor in the form of summative marks and formative comments. 


Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx 

 



 


Assessment requirements for a pass:
50%

Reassessment arrangements:

By individual submission of a new task, by September of the same year. 


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Specialist equipment or materials -  up to £100. For video editing software for Task 3 – although free versions with fewer capabilities are available.


Last updated: 6 April 2022

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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