Nature, characteristics and challenges of entrepreneurship: establishing different kind of enterprise; business skills and attributes; skills envisaged for new ideas: e.g. paperwork, sales, marketing, finance, production, purchasing; business law; obtaining supplies; maintaining equipment; monitoring quality; getting publicity; writing promotional materials; strategic thinking; communication; dealing with stakeholders; negotiation; decision making; problem solving; delegation; to support creative and innovative and entrepreneur management processes for a project or organisation; key factors of a successful commercial or social entrepreneur.
Types of innovation: product development; market development; business model innovations; increasing efficiency and developing cost advantage, e.g. outsourcing, changing production methods, remodelling the supply chain, electronic ordering and invoicing; improving processes; taking calculated risks; having a positive attitude; being motivated and dedicated; flexibility and adaptability; intuitiveness; the drive to succeed and grow; openness to change; having the vision and capacity to inspire.
Selection and development of ideas: ideas – value chain; inside/outside; cross- pollination; selection; development; diffusion; role of incubation; need to be systematic; adopting appropriate style for different circumstances; influencing and motivating others – methods of rewarding staff for appropriate behaviours; effecting change management; influence of vision and mission; concept that policies and procedures are supported by a culture that reinforces consistently what the organisation is about.
Tools for creative and innovative solutions: theory and application of lateral thinking; visioning and problem-solving techniques; theory and use of analytical tools – sources of business ideas; PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental) analysis; cost-benefit analysis; decision-making processes and styles.
Risks: risk analysis; risk management techniques.
Sources of business ideas: process of idea development; Stage Gate Model; methods: e.g. theoretical models, e.g. Graham Wallas (1926) Preparation (definition of issue, observation, and study); incubation (laying the issue aside for a time); illumination (the moment when a new idea finally emerges); verification (checking it out); Anderson and West’s four factor theory of group climate for innovation: vision, participative safety, task orientation and support for innovation; cultivating own imagination and curiosity; use of mind-maps; problem-solving exercises; overcoming barriers to creativity; the journalistic six (asking who, why, what, where, when, how).
Common elements in theoretical models: preparation including use of observation; imagination and curiosity creating store of concepts; analysis of problem; generation of ideas through seeking links between concepts; harvesting of ideas; enhancing and evaluating of ideas.
Market research: types of research as primary, secondary.
Purposes for micro start-up business: reduce risks; convince sponsors; make first link with potential customers; use of tools to analyse production, and marketing feasibility of the new business idea business planning forecasts using financial techniques; cash flows; use different methods of evaluations of projects (accounting and time value of money based).
The nature and purpose of intellectual property rights; patents; copy rights; trademarks; trade secrets; product vs. process patents.
The eight categories of copyright works and the distinction between authorial and entrepreneurial works; and moral rights; infringement of copyright: the need for copying; primary and secondary infringing acts.
The basic requirements in relation to the registration of trademarks; registerable marks; absolute and relative grounds of refusal/objection; the requirement for a mark to be used or intended to be used on particular goods or services and the significance of the description of goods or services on the register.
The requirements for an invention to be patented: patentable subject-matter; industrial applicability; novelty and inventive step.
An overview of patent application procedure including: the contents of a patent and the legal requirements for the specification and claims; the role of qualified patent agents in drafting patent specifications; and the options for obtaining patent protection nationally throughout Europe and worldwide.
Elements of a business plan: mission, vision, objectives and type of company; organisation charts; sources of funds; brief feasibilities (market, competition, business, financial, production & technical, HR) and resource needs; legal business formats for small business: e.g. sole trader, partnership, private limited company, social enterprise formats, partnership; private limited company, social enterprise formats.
Business plan headings: executive summary; vision; purpose; summary of proposition.
Outline of rewards; management: goals, risks to business, skills requirements, legal structure, professional advisors. Summary of finance: profit and loss forecast; cash-flow forecast; break-even analysis.
Funding required: purpose; timing of requirements; preferred sources.
Summary of markets and competition: local business environment; market research; marketing; promotion; product or service can be made; how, where and when sales can be made.
Control and monitoring mechanism for the business plan: schedules and Gantt Charts; organising for resources and procedures; key success factors and metrics; balance.
Investor’s needs from potential investment opportunity: compelling idea; skills, experience and knowledge; trust; business acumen; able to work with; robust assessment of risks; good potential return on investment.
Investment Planning stage of the pitch: gather supporting evidence; identify and overcome risks; determine amount of finance needed; assess return on investment (ROI); design presentation of business and financial plan; select and become familiar with venue for meeting.
Structure of presentation: introductions; outline of idea; main points in logical order; questions; courteous close.
Visual aids: presentation software; handouts; selection of key parts of plan; use of graphics.
Presentation skills: personal presentation to portray desired image as dress, professional manner; importance of appearing to be confident; importance of honesty; importance of being fluent about content of pitch; importance of practicing presentation; importance of portraying energy, enthusiasm and commitment.
Negotiation: identification of expected questions; robustness of evidence of market; own skills and expertise; security of supply; assumptions behind sales forecasts and return on investment calculations; capacity to meet high demand etc; techniques for handling challenging questions; having a bottom line for level of sponsorship.