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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Thomas E. Eckmann
Seattle Campus

Business Plan Practicum

Gives student entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with the founders/CEOs of companies, explore their entrepreneurial aptitude, and work through the details of their own start-ups. Provides structure, tools, and resources to start of company, and compete in the UW Business Plan Competition. Credit/no-credit only.

Class description

This course prepares students for success in the 2014 UW Business Plan Competition (BPC). The scope of the course includes the development of a new venture from idea generation through business planning, funding and startup. Students will learn from assigned reading, class discussions, and guest lectures delivered by some of Seattle’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts.

Student learning goals

1. How the Business Plan Competition works including entry requirements, stages of competition, judging criteria, and prizes for winners.

2. How to craft a business plan that makes sense and attracts investors (BPC judges).

3. What it’s like to start a new company and some pitfalls to avoid.

4. What life as an entrepreneur is like and some of the pros and cons as a career path.

5. How to build a network of contacts within the entrepreneurial community.

General method of instruction

Lecture, guest speakers and panel discussions

Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

Required Reading: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Grading ENTRE 440/540 is a 2 credit, Pass/Fail course. Passing performance will be based on the following criteria.

Attendance and Class Participation (25%) To receive credit for this course, students must attend at least 8 of the 10 classes. A sign-in sheet will be distributed at every class and your signature is required to confirm attendance. Students are also expected to be conversant with the required reading and prepared to participate in class discussions. Business Opportunity Assessment (75%) A Business Opportunity Assessment (BOA) is a precursor to development of a full business plan. It addresses all the key points of a business plan but at a lower level of detail. Its purpose is to gain an early assessment of an idea’s feasibility and identify major weaknesses and risk factors. The BOA assignment consists of two parts: 1) Written answers to each question in the BOA assignment (7 pages max) (50% of grade) 2) BOA presentation in class (10 PPT slides) (25% of grade) A more detailed description of this assignment will be emailed to enrolled students the first week of class. An advance copy may be found on Canvas (“Business Opportunity Assessment Assignment”). Write-ups will be evaluated on the basis of completeness (addressing all questions) and the depth of thought communicated. Students may do this assignment alone or with 1-3 other team members (max team size is 4). • Preliminary submission (questions 1-3) due: January 31 • Written Business Opportunity Assessment (7 pages maximum) due: March 10 • Five (5) minute in-class presentation (10 PPT slides): March 13

“AHA!” Emails (optional but encouraged) Students are encouraged to submit a brief email after each class describing their most important take-away or “aha” from the class. What did you learn? Did a particular comment or thought surprise you or open some new avenue of thinking? Are you puzzled by something, or do you have questions? These emails help the instructor communicate with students one-on-one and respond to questions or requests for clarification. Include “AHA email” in the subject line and send to:

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Thomas E. Eckmann
Date: 12/10/2013