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A Few Words on Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is, essentially, a fancy word for a skill set that relates to
getting things done. Whether you dream to be an entrepreneur and start a
venture, attend graduate school, go to work for an established company, or
join a non-profit (or anything else), you will want to have meaningful ideas
that solve real-world problems, and see your ideas become real. This goal of
getting things done – no matter what the realm – relies on 1) creating
“packages of value” that others want, 2) devising strategies and taking
actions to effectively deliver value with resources that are available to you,
and 3) communicating ideas and persuading others (e.g., customers,
partners, investors) that it’s in their best interests to help you to make your
ideas a reality.

Three Key Entrepreneurial Skills:

1. Entrepreneurial Thinking

Projects rarely fail due to a lack of ideas or innovation. Just consider how
many ideas you have and how few of them get realized! Rather, projects
fail because people don’t want what’s being offered. The process of
developing a product or service (and surrounding it with an organization)
that meets the needs of a group of people (e.g., customers) is best
achieved through a non-linear, iterative process that involves effectual
reasoning. This process of discovery and accomplishment is what we call
entrepreneurial thinking.

2. Resourcefulness

This is the ability to make the most out of the resources at hand. You can
be resourceful when you have nothing but a few dollars in your pocket
and a friend’s couch to sleep on, and also when you have millions of
dollars at your disposal. Resourcefulness requires an open mind and the
skill to identify, manage and creatively leverage existing resources.

3. Effective Communication

Many great ideas die (or languish) because the person with the idea failed
to communicate effectively with others. Effective communication involves
the clear and concise sharing of information, combined with an ability to
persuade others to take appropriate action.
Foundations of Business and Entrepreneurship
Steve Schiffman & Steve Gold
Fall 2009

Welcome to FBE. This syllabus provides an outline of our semester. As an overview,

the course is divided into four sections. The first section provides a foundation. The
second section is our Pre-Challenge that introduces you a few of the practicalities of
starting a business. The third section is the *FBE Challenge* where you will work
with a team to start and run an entrepreneurial business. Finally, during the last
weeks of class you will be challenged to reflect on your experience and use this to
learn even more – plus we’ll welcome several successful entrepreneurs and other
guest speakers to class.


1. Come to class and participate – both are essential to teamwork and a good

2. Courtesy is key:
a. Be considerate of your classmates, your instructors, and our class
b. Do not use laptops or mobile phones except directly relating to class
c. When an assignment is noted, you’re responsible for getting it done on

3. Help one another. FBE involves experiential learning. As we all know,

experiences are positive and negative, and there’s something to learn from
every success and failure. This means that while some of us are “learning by
succeeding,” others will be “learning by failing.” Let’s help one another out
by reminding ourselves that FBE is designed to allow you to test your limits
and travel beyond of your comfort zone – all in the pursuit of our educational


Graded assignments are noted in this syllabus by a *. These include written

assignments (e.g., papers, quizzes) and class participation (e.g., team performance,
class presentations). Each assignment is graded according to the instructors’
evaluation of your progress toward the course learning goals, which are:

1. Entrepreneurial thinking – your knowledge and demonstrated practice of

effectual reasoning
2. Resourcefulness – your persistence and ability to identify, manage and
leverage resources
3. Effective Communication – your ability to communicate clearly, concisely
and persuasively

Each of the nine graded assignments is 10% of your grade; class participation and
timeliness completing ungraded assignments accounts for 10%. If you have any
questions about grading at any time, just ask.

Section 1: Foundation

The first 8 classes are dedicated to providing you with a foundation – an

understanding of our definition of entrepreneurship (which, as you’ll find out, may
be different than what you think), and an introduction to three key skills:
entrepreneurial thinking, resourcefulness, and effective communication.

Class 3:
Class 1: Class 2: Class 4:

Welcome; Intro to Course &

What is Value?
Franklin W. Olin; Entrepreneurship Business Design

Entrepreneurship? (discussion of

 Value  Reading
  Letter to Self*

Class 7:
Class 5: Class 6: Class 8:

Business Design Business Design Speaker and
Skills Presentations
Team Activity Presentations*

 Presentation  Readings
 Presentation  Reading

*Graded activity


 Class 1 ( AUG 30 2009): Introduction to Entrepreneurship

○ Welcome to class
○ Meet your instructors
○ The New FBE – what’s changed?
○ Franklin W. Olin small group activity
○ What is entrepreneurship?
○ Handout: Course Syllabus


Please review the course syllabus – we will go over it at the start of next

Read “What Makes Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneurial?” and “The Bird-In-Hand

Principle” both by Saras D. Sarasvathy of The Darden Graduate School of
Business Administration (UVA). Note: clean copies may be purchased for
download at: or you can download for free

 Class 2 (SEP 08 2009): Defining Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial

○ Review the course syllabus – what the next 12 weeks will look like
○ Small group discussion about Entrepreneurship – the Sarasvathy

○ Small group (Lego) exercise relating to entrepreneurial
thinking/effectual reasoning
○ Discussion: Entrepreneurial Ventures as one way to apply


Write a 1-page letter to yourself describing the goals you seek to achieve in
this course. Based on your current understanding of entrepreneurship (from
the readings and discussion), provide specific entrepreneurial learning
objectives. Part of your final grade will be determined by i) the clarity and
ambitiousness of your goals, and ii) your achievement of them as
demonstrated by your observed performance and individual written
assignments in this course. We encourage you to speak with your classmates
and instructors. Provide us with a copy of your 1-page letter at the start of
the next class. Keep a copy for yourself. All letters will be considered private.

 Class 3 (SEP 11 2009): What is value?

○ Value and value exchanges

○ Small team activity – determine VEx between two entities
○ Team (informal) presentations


Write a single paragraph (no longer than a page) detailing “the values that I
value.” When you consider purchasing a product or service, what really drives
your decision? If you want you can select a specific product or service and
describe why you “exchanged value” to obtain/use it.

 Class 4 (SEP 15 2009): Business Design

○ What’s the exchange of “value” got to do with anything?

○ Small team activity – design a business based on selected concept
○ Team (informal) presentations


Read Crafting Strategy by Henry Mintzberg, Harvard Business Review, July-

August 1987. This article is available online (via Olin) and you can also read
copies on reserve in the library.

 Class 5 (SEP 22 2009): Team Business Modeling Activity

○ Discuss reading
○ Small team activity – select an Inventables™ object and create a
business design
○ Introduce FBE Challenge (coming soon) and start to establish FBE
Challenge teams


Prepare to present your business design (model) to the class.

 Class 6 (SEP 25 2009): Team Business Model Presentations

○ Team presentations to the class

○ Establish FBE Challenge teams


Harnessing the Science of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, Harvard Business

Review, October 2001

 Class 7 (SEP 29 2009): Communications

○ The Art & Science of Persuasion
○ TED presentations/analysis


Prepare a presentation (0-2 minutes) to persuade the rest of us of something!

Be creative. You can persuade us to think something, do something, be
something, etc!

 Class 8 (OCT 02 2009): Communications

○ Speaker: Lex Johnson – professional speaking coach
○ Individual presentations to the class


Read assigned chapters in the Lemonade Stand Accounting book

Introducing the FBE Challenge

Over the course of the next eight classes you will have an opportunity to put your
entrepreneurial ideas and skills into practice. The FBE Challenge is an educational
game and, as such, has both advantages and limitations. One advantage is that
your livelihood isn’t dependent on the outcome (although your grade is, at least in
part)! In terms of limitations, we’ve designed the game to focus on specific
entrepreneurial skills, especially “softer” skills relating to strategy, relationships,
marketing and sales. The reason for this is because you’ll have many great ideas in
your lives; being able to convince others to act on them will be the critical
difference between success and failure, e.g., your ability to make your ideas real.

Here’s the challenge:

For four weeks – from October 6 to October 30 – you will compete with your
classmates in teams to 1) put your newfound entrepreneurial skills to the test, and
2) see which team runs the most “successful” business (profits, stakeholder
satisfaction, etc.). During the “Pre-Challenge” (Section 2), you will:

• Conceive and design a business that sells one or more readily available
product(s). You can sell on the Babson campus (with permission)… and
beyond if you want (you get extra points).
• Negotiate for an investment of up to $250 per team. Since funding comes at
a cost (investors will own a piece of the business), this will have a significant
impact on your payoff.

During the “FBE Challenge” stage (Section 3) you will work with your team to
accomplish the following:

• Organize and manage your team – roles and responsibilities, systems,

motivation, etc.
• Physically build your business – selling “platform,” merchandising, marketing
materials, etc.
• Implement marketing plan – brand your business, package/price products,
promote them, etc.
• Sell, sell, sell – start selling your product(s) during the official selling dates
(see Section 3 notes)
• Optimize your business – live and learn each day, collect and analyze data to
maximize profits

• Abide by the Olin Honor Code regarding game rules, reporting income and
expenses promptly and accurately, acquiring resources, competing
honorably, respecting campus property, etc.

FBE Challenge goals:

• Learn about what it means (for you) to apply entrepreneurial skills in a real-
life setting
• Participate in an accelerated venture – from organization to actual operations
and sales
• Get introduced to some business disciplines: accounting, finance, marketing,
• Experiment, go outside of your comfort zone, and have fun working with your

Section 2: Pre-Challenge (Real-Life Business Mechanics)

In Section 2 of FBE, you will learn a few of the practical aspects of getting an
entrepreneurial venture up and running. This includes a basic understanding of the
legal organization and financing of a company, along with some knowledge of
marketing, and accounting. You will work with your FBE Challenge Team to create
related strategies and plans for your own FBE Challenge business.

Class 11:
Class 9: Class 10: Class 12:

Marketing &
FBE Challenge
Company Entrepreneurial
Basics Private Team
Venture Financing
Organization Presentations to
- the Professors*
Accounting: Part 3*
Accounting: Part 2
Accounting: Part 1

 Private  1-page Executive

 Brief/Reading;  Term Sheet;
Presentation to Summary*
Readings Readings



 Class 9 (OCT 6, 2009): How are companies organized?

○ Official welcome to the FBE Challenge

○ Company structures and legal mechanics
○ Accounting: Part 1


Team brief relating to your proposed legal structure due at the start of
next class: state your assumptions, select a legal structure, and provide a
rationale (2 page limit)

Familiarize yourself with the NVCA sample term sheet

( then click on the link for “Model Legal Documents”
and download their sample Term Sheet)

Accounting readings – to be assigned

 Class 10 (OCT 9, 2009): How are entrepreneurial ventures financed?

○ Venture financing/Term sheets

○ Negotiation activity
○ Accounting: Part 2


Negotiate a term sheet with one or more investors (one of your

professors/course assistants who controls the cash): approach us, meet or
negotiate via email; negotiate the very best terms you possibly can; play
the parties off one another to get the best deal possible, etc.

Accounting readings – to be assigned

 Class 11 (OCT 13 2009): What are the basics of marketing a product or


○ Marketing Basics presentation

○ Accounting: Part 3


Team marketing plan (summary of intended marketing activities) due at
start of next class

Prepare team presentations for next class – each team will make a 10-
minute private presentation to your professors/mentors that describes
what you plan to do over the next two weeks. We want to see/understand
your business mission, organization, branding, marketing plan, sales
strategy, pricing strategy, and more. Important: you also need to tell us
how you are going to monitor and improve the business during the 2-week

In addition to your presentation, start writing a 1-page Executive

Summary. You will receive feedback during your presentation (next class)
that you should incorporate into your 1-page Executive Summary. The 1-
page Executive Summary is due at the start of Class 13.

Accounting Quiz – to be assigned

 Class 12 (OCT 16 2009): Pre-Launch Presentations

○ FBE Challenge Team Presentations (made in private)

○ Teams can work on their own when not presenting


1-page Executive Summary is due at the start of Class 13.

Section 3: FBE Challenge

Stage 3 marks the start of the FBE Challenge! This is your time to create a business
that you’ve designed with your team, and to operate it in an effort to optimally
deliver returns to your stakeholders.

Class 15:
Class 13: Class 14: Class 16:

Launch/Operate Operate
Business* Shut Down*

No assignment No assignment
No assignment No assignment

*Graded (single grade issued for FBE Challenge team performance, e.g., revenue,
profits, teamwork, marketing, customer satisfaction, etc.; single grade issued
separately for presentation in week 18)


 Class 13 (OCT 20 2009): Build/Pre-Market/Operate your business


8:00 AM

 Class 14 (OCT 23 2009): Operate your business (cont’d)

 Class 15 (OCT 27 2009): Operate you business (cont’d)

 Class 16 (OCT 30-2009): Operate your business (cont’d)



Section 4: Reflection & Research

In Stage 4 of the course, we provide you with an opportunity to reflect on your FBE
Challenge experience, and to work individually and in small groups to learn more
about specific entrepreneurial topics.

Class 19:
Class 17: Class 18: Class 20:

Individual Research
Individual Research
FBE Challenge FBE Challenge Week

No Assignment  Written Report*

 Prep No Assignment

Class 23:
Class 21: Class 22: Class 24:

Small Group
Small Group
Small Group Small Group Research/Projects
Research/Projects Research/Projects

No Assignment  Prep
No Assignment No Assignment

Class 25: Class 26:

Final Final

Presentations* Presentations*

No Assignment No Assignment



 Class 17 (NOV 03 2009): FBE Challenge Reflection

Today is a team work day to provide you with time to prepare a presentation
about your FBE Challenge experience. Each team will prepare an engaging
and informative presentation that will be given to the class during the next
class period. Presentations should tell a story about what your team
achieved, and what lessons you learned.


Finalize your team presentation and upload it by 12:00 midnight of the day
before next class. (If you do not have slides/visuals, please upload a narrative
summary of your presentation)

 Class 18 (NOV 06 2009): FBE Challenge Team Presentations

 Class 19 (NOV 10 2009): Individual research week

○ Overview of business topics

 Class 20 (NOV 13 2009): Individual research week (cont’d)


Individual research written reports due next class.

 Class 21 (NOV 17 2009): Small group research/projects

○ Student Rocket Pitches to pull together small teams

○ Grouping of students into research teams

 Class 22 (NOV 20 2009): (cont’d)

○ Class time for research and/or assistance from professors/mentors

 Class 23 (DEC 01 2009): Small group research (cont’d)

○ Also: Read “Best Available Charitable Option” paper and discuss non-
○ Student preparation of small group research for final presentation

 Class 24 (DEC 04 2009): (cont’d) – team written reports due (with

presentations next week)

○ Also: Discuss public securities; fraud/Madoff, etc.

○ Student preparation of small group research for final presentation

 Class 25 (DEC 08 2009): Final Presentations

 Class 26 (DEC 11 2009): Final Presentations & Awards