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University System of Maryland

Applied Entrepreneurship 1: Design Thinking for Business Acceleration

University System of Maryland via edX

Overview

Growing a small business takes work and vision. It takes innovation, brainstorming, iteration, and advice. In this course we introduce the concept of design thinking and a tool called the Business Model Canvas to help you accelerate your business. You’ll learn the nine components of the Business Model Canvas as well as how to identify the most relevant components to iterate through brainstorming with a variety of stakeholders in your business—your current customers, your potential customers, and advisors of your choosing. You will work through your own Business Model Canvas and present your acceleration plan at the end of this course.

This course is introduced weekly by a venture capital investor with decades of experience working with entrepreneurs and is taught by someone who has written business plans and taught entrepreneurs business planning at several universities.

You will benefit from this course if you have a micro or small business you wish to grow, or a growing business that you need to put more structure around so that you can continue to grow in a managed way.

Syllabus

Week 1 – Begin at the Beginning

Objectives:

  • Assess your personal interests
  • Set personal goals
  • Establish advisory group
  • Be introduced to the Business Model Canvas

Activities:

  • Assessment tool
  • Set up an advisory group
  • Develop a customer persona

Discussion:

  • Customer persona

Week 2 – The Business Model Canvas

Objectives:

  • Understand and utilize the Business Model Canvas;
  • State a hypothesis grounded in the categories of your business regarding how best to grow;
  • Develop a plan to test your hypothesis with advisors, peers, and potential and existing customers

Activities:

  • Meet with two advisory board members
  • Interview three customers

Discussion:

  • Developing customer relationships

Week 3 – The BMC in Real Life

Objectives:

  • Fill out the Business Model Canvas
  • Discuss it with your advisory group
  • Determine which components you’ll need to iterate
  • Develop an organization chart for your business
  • Interview one person you’d like to hire

Activities:

  • Interview one person to hire
  • Develop an organizational chart

Discussion:

  • Interviewing to hire

Week 4 – Test with your Customers

Objectives:

  • Test your model with existing customers
  • Test your model with potential customers
  • Observe at least one competitive company
  • Learn about franchises

Activities:

  • Test your model with existing customers
  • Test your model with potential customers
  • Observe at least one competitive company

Discussion:

  • Speaking with customers versus advisory group

Week 5 – Let’s iterate!

Objectives:

  • Review findings from existing and potential customers
  • Meet and brainstorm with advisory group
  • Discuss your progress and plans with your peers in class
  • Start preparing your final presentation

Activities:

  • Test with different customers or those you want to get
  • Obtain input from advisors – fellow students – instructors
  • Draft presentation

Week 6 – Accelerate!

Objectives:

  • Present final acceleration plan

Activities:

  • Present final acceleration plan

Taught by

Mark Grovic, JD and Michele K. Masterfano, DBA

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