Course Profile

Goals of the Course

Designed for students who want to learn more about the actual process of getting a new venture started, in particular, high-growth ventures. The course is comprised of three types of activities:

1. Knowledge-Building: Study content, cases, and exercises to learn about the new venture process, lean-start-up, and its issues.

2. Application: 1. As part of a team, engagement in developing and field testing a new venture value proposition in an industry identified by the instructor. This will provide convenient, valuable practice in thinking about and applying content knowledge relevant to the new venture process as well as your personal fit with such responsibilities. Use of software tools to help structure and document this trial and error process. 2. Also as a part of a team and with software tools, hardware kits, and 3D printers, design and iteratively develop a product prototype for the market based on user/potential buyer feedback.

3. Extension: You will pitch your new “startup” value proposition to potential investors to see if a strong enough business model can be generated for them to invest in the proposed new venture.

Who is it designed for?

Available to all majors on campus who have previously taken prerequisite entrepreneurship and innovation course. Majority of students are business majors.

Learning Objectives

• Identify and scope customer segment(s), problem(s), and potential solutions

• Evaluate and screen product/service ideas using a value proposition design process

• Iteratively develop multiple product prototypes based on potential customer feedback

• Assess market and customer interest in proposed product/service features

• Iteratively develop a profitable business model

• Identify resources needed for new venture success and growth

Maker skills it develops

3D Design, Printing, Assembly, & Finishing. Iterative product development based on potential user feedback. Design criteria based on quantitative data collection.


MGNT 250 – Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Skills, Tools and Technologies Used

3D CAD Design, 3D Printing, and iterative design evolution.

Key Examples and Prior Work

Democratization of technology, learning by making and failing repeatedly, crowdsourcing ideas and resources, flexibility in product development, and integration of knowledge from different disciplines.

Key Resources

Sketchup Make design software tutorials, Thingiverse and other online libraries of 3D printed object tutorials and builder comments, Makerbot tutorials, and LeanStack online business model development SaaS.

Example Assignment

DRONZ STARTUP TEAM PROJECT: Much of the course will be devoted to two, integrated, semester-long projects: Business Model Development and 3D Product Prototyping. Teams will be formed during the second week of class and will be comprised of 4-6 members.

3D Product Prototyping

The College of Business & Economics has acquired six PLA 3D printers. These printers, combined with the free SketchUp Make 2015 3D Design and online Makerbot Desktop 3D Printer software, allow you to design, modify, and build physical prototypes. Product prototyping is common in both large and small businesses and 3D printing is now available in low-cost form for product-based startups. To learn more about 3D Printing and Prototyping, visit

Your team will be provided kits including hardware and electronics but without a frame by the instructor for the Flexbot Quadcopter (v1.5), a smartphone controlled nano-drone. No programming or electronics knowledge is required, but assembly and user instructions must be closely followed to create an operational prototype. The free Flexbot control app can be downloaded from Apple App store (iOS 6.1+) and from Google Play store (Android 4.4+). Communication between phone and drone is via Bluetooth 4.0+ with range of about 50 feet. We will adhere to the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules when flying. The focus of the project will be on business model development and prototyping activities, not on flight control skills.

Think of the Flexbot as your initial, small-scale prototype platform. Your team will use Flexbot’s Thingiverse 3D design files to initiate the drone prototype development by 3D printing the frame (body) to enable complete assembly of the quadcopter. Your team will then enhance the design through modification and market-testing of a drone-related product using these technologies. The prototype design, prototype improvement, and market demand testing will be evaluated.

Your team will be evaluated on use of Sketchup Make 2015 design software in the generation of a digital , 3D design, two 3D-printed prototypes in showcase presentations; and a third showcase presentation based on potential customer feedback to third iteration of drone product prototype.

Three peer evaluations will be conducted during the DRONZ Startup Team project: The first two will provide constructive feedback to other team members during the project and the team member producing the evaluations will be scored on the quality of their feedback. The third peer evaluation will evaluate each team member based on their contribution to the overall project.

A final DRONZ Startup Report will be developed which will integrate and describe both the business model development and 3D prototype development parts of the project (100 points).  

Lessons Learned

I am always surprised at the wide range, but generally low level of exposure students have had to tools, mechanics, programming, and tangible object creation. They extensively use electronics and consumer software, but now are expected to drill deeper in the producer side of tangible objects and digital design. Confidence tends to build rapidly after the first couple of prototypes and it is rewarding to see how excited and engaged the students become. Before that, much support and mentoring is needed for the inevitable fear of and actual results of “failure.” Once the students get the sense that they have actually learned something and are not punished (scored low) on failures, they quickly become more engaged.