This course provides the student with the skills necessary to create a business plan for a proposed new venture. This new venture can be either small business or venture based but must be the original idea of the student or group developing it. Examples of venture types not allowed include: franchises, real estate development or financial services firms, consulting, importation of venture concepts successfully launched in other areas or licensing plays where the proposed venture adds little or no value to the core technology or idea. The business plans produced in this class are designed to attract external financing from banks or angel investors.
Business plans can be prepared either individually or in groups up to a maximum of three people.
This class is based on the principles of Market Validation, i.e., proving a market exists for your proposed venture before creating a prototype or developing a minimally viable feature set and the Lean Process, i.e. failing fast and cheap. These two processes were selected as they represent the current state-of-the-art development processes for new ventures. Both these processes have been used by thousands of companies around the globe and have proven to be successful with ventures of all sizes. In addition, this course is based on exposing your proposed venture to as wide an audience as possible to seek the input of more experienced entrepreneurs and representatives from organizations supporting entrepreneurial development. In both these respects, the course takes a West Coast view of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial development.
The course uses a hands-on philosophy that incorporates lectures, guest speakers, case studies, exercises and student-led projects. The goal is to ensure students both understand the mechanics of venture development and how to effectively present this information to outside parties both in a written plan and orally. At the core of the direction is the concept of providing students with an opportunity to apply knowledge presented in the textbook in ways they are likely to encounter along their entrepreneurial journey.
2019 marks the beginning of Rob Warren’s 25thyear as a university instructor. During this time, Robert has taught at universities in Canada, North Dakota, Texas and Thailand. His students launched over 400 businesses ranging from landscaping to medical devices. Several of these businesses including Hip Hop DX, Crackberry.com, NovaDAQ, BeatBox Beverages, Seismos Technologies, Beyonic and Siam Organics have gone on to enjoy tremendous commercial and fundraising success. His students have also gone on to win a record 54 graduate level business plan competitions around the world. Robert has also worked with groups in such countries as Bosnia, Vietnam, Philippines, Israel and the West Bank to develop new businesses and products and lectured at universities across the US, Europe, Asia and South America. Robert’s accomplishments as an instructor have garnered him awards from several universities, Canada’s National Post and the Society of Management Accountants.
In addition to teaching, Robert has been appointed by Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce to the North Dakota Export Council and he’s a member of the Grand Forks Herald Business Editorial Board. He is a frequent media commentator for Washington DC-based Wallethub as well as the television networks CTV and Global. Robert is currently on his seventh business, Mean Eyed Cat Venture Labs, where he works with start-up companies across North America. Examples of the businesses he’s worked with include a Canadian-based ultra-low cost airline and a petroleum engineering firm specializing in pipeline safety. His previous businesses have included TV production companies and IT solutions companies.