Assignment 1

The objective of this assignment is to make you aware of what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur. An additional benefit is that it will get you out into the real world where you can practice your networking, consulting and interviewing skills.

Entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business… it’s a lifestyle choice. Your goal in this assignment is to see what makes someone want to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee. Using the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs outlined in the text (Chapters 1, 2) along with other sources your background research uncovers, your mission is to discover if a local entrepreneur matches the model and, if not, what in their personality or personal history lead them to become an entrepreneur.

  • Identify a person you consider to be a successful entrepreneur. While not required, I very strongly recommend you select someone who is in the technology manufacturing or licensing business, as you might also “pick their brains” regarding your project and possibly recruit them for your “board”. Please look outside of your immediate family
  • Interview the entrepreneur. Ask them a list of questions (at least 10) that help you to understand their career path. (See notes below for thoughts on the types of questions.)
  • Write a report detailing what you learned about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship from the individual. What conclusions do you make? Has this interview impacted how you will approach your project? Your career?
  • Your report should be 5-pages or less. Use a business report format. Please list any research sources you used and include your questions and a summary of the answers you received in the appendix. (I don’t include appendices in the page count.)
  • Please submit either by email as a word or pdf attachment or hard copy in class
  • Due date: start of class on Wednesday 10 September
  • Grade: 15%

Notes:

  • Arrange to meet your entrepreneur in person. It is a good idea to offer to take them to lunch or buy them a coffee as this provides a neutral, non-threatening environment for the interview to take place away from typical office interruptions. (They were going to go for a coffee or lunch anyway, so I’ll bet most will foot the bill.)
  • I recommend you develop a series of open and closed ended questions. Open ended questions can be used to cover things like how they got started, the sequence of events that got them to where they are now, and general conclusions they can draw from their experiences. Closed-ended questions can be used when asking about specific issues where and how they obtained their financing, their board, their partners and how they structured their business.
  • To help with the preparation of your report, its a good idea to record the interview so you can use direct quotes in your paper to reinforce points. If you don’t have a recorder, be sure to take careful notes.
  • Be businesslike. Send your entrepreneur an agenda and your questions well in advance of the meeting. Be sure to confirm time and location as well as your contact information in case they have to postpone. Confirm the amount of time you require and be sure to stick to it. I recommend 30-45 minutes. Be certain to explain to the entrepreneur that you are asking for the interview as part of a class assignment.
  • Can’t find an entrepreneur? Ask your classmates. Contact Small Business BC or another industry association. Ask your parents, other instructors, Facebook friends…
  • You might want to research how to write a good agenda and a good business report. If you find a good article, share with the class in the discussion forum for class participation points
  • As a courtesy, please be sure to send your entrepreneur a brief thank you note!

Questions? Recommendations?