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Unit information: High-Tech Enterprise in 2014/15

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Unit name High-Tech Enterprise
Unit code COMS12900
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. McIntosh-Smith
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This is the course description for the Enterprise module of the 1st year Computer Science degree. The course consists of 12 weeks of 3 hour lectures covering all the aspects of knowledge necessary to achieve a basic understanding of all of the components of a start up business. The students are assessed on the new business idea they create during the course, the quality of the business plan their team produces and their final presentation to the assessment panel. Objectives

  • Provide a basic business overview that new first year students can build upon in the coming university years
  • Provide the students with some experience of working in teams on a business project.
  • Develop their public speaking skills; help them to be more readily able to communicate their ideas.
  • Supply some reference material that can be used in future years.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes The students should leave the course with

  • Knowledge of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial teams
  • An understanding of the various key components of a business
  • An overview of the forms of hi tech venture, manufacture, technology licensing and services.
  • An understanding of marketing, market projections, R&D strategies, business plans, financing, investors and exits
  • An understanding of IP value and its role
  • An understanding of the process of assessing hi tech ventures
  • Experience of going through the whole process of developing an idea through to a complete business plan

Teaching Information

The course consists of a series of structured modules which build towards the presentation of a team based business plan project to a panel of investors. The modules cover creativity, innovation techniques, R&D product strategy, IP, Market research & segmentation, market selection & promotion, Writing business plans, Financials (Basic & Advanced), investors & business valuation, elevator pitching and presentation skills. A significant amount of time is spent in practical exercises exploring many aspects of business creation, planning, and necessary skills to succeed in business. Practical exercises encompass analysis of successful companies, past winners of the business plan competition, executive summaries as well as full business plans, and practical skills development exercises.

Assessment Information

Students form into business teams of 5 or 6 in the first week and must conceive a new business idea during the early lessons and develop a business plan and investment proposition for the first assessment panel at the course mid point. This assessment awards up to 25% of the course mark. The assessment is a learning point at which the teams can dispose of the idea and start work on a new more compelling business proposition for the final assessment which awards the remaining course mark of 75%. At this point team changes are allowed and teams can remove (fire) a non productive member of the team. These “unemployed” members must then persuade another team to take them on or they need to form a new team from other free members. The assessment panel is judging on four dimensions at each stage; 1.Credibility, feasibility and Novelty of the business idea 2.Technical novelty, IP protection, Computer Science content 3.Quality of the written business plan (10-15 pages in part 1, 15-20 pages in Part2) 4.Panel presentation by the team

Reading and References

The Google story, David A. Vise 0-330-44005-5 Crossing the chasm, Geoffrey A Moore 0-06-662002-3 The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell 0-349-11346-7 The Definitive Business plan, Financial Times,Richard Stutely 0-273-71096-6 Smarter ventures a survivors guide, Ms Katharine Campbell 0-273-65403-9 The Small Business guide to starting your own business, Daily Telegraph 1-4050-0677-3