PROJECT BRIEF FOR N1576 NEW VENTURE CREATION AND BUSINESS PLANNING

PROJECT BRIEF FOR N1576 NEW VENTURE CREATION AND BUSINESS

PLANNING

 

This module’s assessment consists of 2 pieces of work:

 

1: Group project [GPN (group) submission point[1]]: students will create their own group (min 4-max 8 members) by selecting colleagues they like to work with. By the end of week 1, students will communicate to the module convenor (Marianna Marra: m.marra@sussex.ac.uk ) by email:

  • The group name;
  • The group leader (one member of the group will act as a leader and will email Marianna)
  • The group members (for each student you will communicate the name, surname and student number)

 

The aim of each group is to develop a new creation by reasoning as an entrepreneur. This will be a new idea, not an existing one, so students will not describe an existing company. During week 5, each group must submit a short video (10%) explaining the competitive advantage that the idea has, and the main elements of the structure of the business that relate to exploiting this competitive advantage.

Each student is being required to participate and speak in the video. You can use slides if you want to support your presentation. The presentation will last max 10 minutes and cover the following points:

  • The competitive advantage of the proposed new venture creation;
  • The type of innovation proposed (i.e. product, process, paradigm, positioning; radical or incremental)
  • The market demand;
  • The business model;
  • The team competences and skills of each member;
  • Some details of how to finance your idea.

 

It will be assumed that each team member has contributed equally, we will be working on projects during the seminar sessions, and attendance at seminars should be noted by team leaders as this attendance contributes towards team participation. If the team feels that any member has contributed at less than others, then at the time of submission of the final report, the team leader should submit a document signed by at least 75% of the team that confirms which team member has not contributed, and the level at which this team member has worked. This team member will receive reduced marks corresponding to this participation.

 

Group work protocol:

  • All must participate to the realization of the video and the elaboration of the idea. If a member of the group fails to attend two consecutive meetings, he/she can be fired from the group, but the rest of the group must inform me in advance by sending me an email and cc-ing all other group members.

 

  • A member can skip a meeting as long as he/she makes a contribution to the group coursework.

 

Submission: ALL members will submit the video and the power point. The files submitted will be named with the group name/number (i.e. Group 1). Marks will be assigned to each member who submitted the video and the ppt. If one member does not submit, he/she will get zero mark. If you experience technical issue during the submission, please contact the IT  itservicedesk@sussex.ac.uk.

 

Important note: only files submitted via Canvas will be considered and marked, so any file sent via email cannot be considered a substitute of the Canvas submission.

 

  1. Individual project: A business plan of 3500 words (90%) to be submitted via Canvas. This individual work will be based on each student’s perspective relating to the team’s discussions on the project. Each plan needs to be written individually without input from other team members (no matter, whether, in the end, results are similar). Each team’s work will be checked carefully to make sure that each submission is individual, and this is particularly the case in relation to the financials which will evidence the individuality of the work.

 

3500 word business plan The individual project of 3,500 words should follow the format of an expanded business plan.  The word count does not include the appendices. You should include the following:

 

MAIN STRUCTURE OF THE INDIVIDUAL PROJECT:

1) Executive Summary max 100 words [Here you can summarise the most important aspects of your business idea. In a few words, try to explain WHY your idea is good and why people should invest in your business. The executive summary is a synopsis of the key points of your entire plan. That’s why, even being the first to read, it makes sense to write it last. It should include highlights from each section of the rest of the document – from the key features of the business opportunity through to the elements of the financial forecasts.] 2) Venture Overview:

[What business will you be in?

-What will you do?

-Company Goals and Objectives

-Business Philosophy

-Describe your industry

-Company strengths and core competencies]

  • Financial Plan Overview

[Here you should present the pricing strategies for your products and services. Be prepared to answer what the competition is charging for similar products.

Here you start making assumptions about the business figures. You know what you are selling and at what price. But how many units do you think you can sell?

 

Here you have to discuss and justify the assumptions you are making.

 

You can also make quick calculations about an average month…]

  • Business objectives
  • Source of competitive advantage
  • Critical risks/threats and opportunities
  • Market analysis (overview)
  • Competitor Analysis (overview)

[This section shall highlight the competitive advantages of your competitors, what do they offer and what they do not offer? From this, it shall emerge a gap for your business to fill. You shall focus on the main competitors and describe their source of competitive advantage, their market share and any relevant information. You can use the appendix to provide more details if needed]

  • Management Team

[this section shall outline the management team you identify and can this can be different from the one described in the group coursework]

 

  • Operations plan

[In this section you shall try to address as many questions as possible as recommended in the relevant lecture on Operation Plans; this section will suit your specific idea, so not all questions apply equally to all new venture creation; if you need to provide additional details you can use the appendix]

  • Funding Request

[here you will describe your source of funding following one or more options described in the corresponding lecture, i.e. business angels, venture capitalist, bank loan.] 12) Exit Strategy

All sections are equally important, so there is no recommended number of words for each section. Overall, the report should have a good balance.

Appendices are compulsory APPENDICES:

  • Market Analysis (full)
  • Competitor Analysis (full)
  • Types of Customer
  • Types of Product and Service
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Key Suppliers

 

FINANCIAL PLAN:

  • cashflow years 1-3
  • projected Profit and Loss
  • Sales Forecast
  • fixed and variable costs
  • Loans

 

 

Criteria for Evaluation. The evaluation is based on the following criteria:

Group project

  1. Effective and convincing presentation of a doable business idea
  2. Clarity in explaining the key aspects of the idea and its innovative features;
  3. Communication skills.

 

Individual project

  1. Structure
  2. Line of argument and reference to theories and tools discussed during the course, and also researched individually C) Evidence provided
  3. D) Presentation and format

 

An outstanding (high first class 80-100) individual report will address all relevant sections as requested by coursework guidelines and will demonstrate an understanding of systematic and relevant knowledge. Marks in this range will be awarded for work that exhibits all the attributes of excellent work but has very substantial elements of originality and flair.  Further, it will have the following characteristics:

  • Very good use of supporting evidence and example;
  • A very good analysis of relevant aspects to be considered when launching a new venture creation;
  • Clearly written, very well-organized sections and sub-sections;
  • Very good use of academic references[2];
  • Critical thinking
  • Tables/figures/graph should always have a title and number and be carefully described in the document

 

An excellent (first class 70-79) individual report will address all relevant sections as requested by coursework guidelines and will demonstrate understanding of systematic and relevant knowledge. Further, a first class will have the following characteristics:

  • Very good use of supporting evidence and example;
  • A very good analysis of relevant aspects to be considered when launching a new venture creation;
  • Clearly written, very well-organized sections and sub-sections;
  • Very good use of academic references[3];
  • Critical thinking
  • Tables/figures/graph should always have a title and number and be carefully described in the document

 

A second upper class (60-69) will have the following characteristics:

  • A very good analysis of relevant aspects to be considered when launching a new venture creation.
  • Clearly written, well organized sections and sub-sections;
  • Display clear awareness of the main issues;
  • Good use of supporting evidence and academic references.
  • Tables/figures/graph should always have a title and number and be carefully described in the document.

 

 

A lower second class (50-59) will have the following characteristics:

  • A satisfactory or good answer;
  • It generally reproduces taught material but may display little evidence of independent reading;
  • It is adequately written, but may lack a clear structure and signposting;
  • It addresses most of the required points but could be too simplistic.
  • Tables/figures/graph should always have a title and number and be carefully described in the document.

 

Third class (40-49): A mark in this range is indicative that the work is of an acceptable standard at the current the level of your degree programme. Work of this type will show limited knowledge and understanding of relevant course material. It will show evidence of some reading and comprehension, but the written work or answer may be weakly structured, cover only a limited range of the relevant material or have a weakly developed or incomplete argument. The work will exhibit weak written work or analytical skills. It may be poorly-presented without properly laid out footnotes and/or a bibliography, or in the case of quantitative work, it may not be possible to follow the several steps in the logic and reasoning leading to the results obtained and the conclusions reached.

 

Clear Fail (1-34): A mark at this level is indicative that the work is far below the standard required at the current level of your degree programme. It indicates that the work is extremely weak and seriously inadequate. This will be because either the work is far too short, is badly jumbled and incoherent in content, or fails to address the written work title or question asked. It will show very little evidence of knowledge or understanding of the relevant course material and may exhibit very weak writing and/or analytical skills.

 

0: no work submitted

 

 

FAQ

 

  • Do we have word limitation for each part? like 500 for executive summary. or just 3500 for the whole essay?

 

Answer: no, overall, the structure should be well balanced.

 

  • How relevant are academic sources and academic models in the final piece? Or should we be primarily focusing on the practical implementation of the new venture

 

A: They are both relevant.

 

  • Do we need to use academic cover page?

A: It is good to use it.

 

  • What do I put in the fixed/variable costs?

A: Fixed costs are costs that do not vary with the quantity produced/sold, i.e. office rent, wharehouse rent.

 

  • I compared the examples you provided last year with this year’s guidelines. The only difference is that we don’t need to write a reflective report at the end, right? Because I found that everything in the guidelines was in the content of the example.

A: Yes, correct.

 

  • Do we need to explain the reason why we came out this business idea in the essay? Like we did in the presentation?

A: The motivation can be included when you explain the key characteristics of your new venture and the need for it in the market.

 

  • When doing the financial plan, do we need to find some references to support the figures? Such as fixed cost and variable cost? Or do we just make our own assumptions?

A: You can include references if appropriate or just present your assumptions.

 

  • Can we combine the “management team” with the “key people and advisers”? If we need to separate, what’s the difference between their content?

A: The management team will present your managers, like explained in the lecture. For example, the head of marketing and the head of accounting. Key people and adviser can be other experts you may want to include for a consultancy or to help with a specific task. An adviser is not necessarily a member of the management team. If in your specific case they overlap, please make sure this is clearly explained.

 

  • Headings and in-text references count towards the word count? and if so how many words can I go over the word count to account for this?

A: Yes, they do and the +/- 10% is allowed.

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

I would recommend to re-phrase when possible and to cite the source. For example, a focal concept like the difference between radical and incremental innovation shall be explained in your own words followed by a reference i.e. (Schumpeter, 1942). If you want to use a direct quotation from a textbook or a scientific report, that will be fine as well and will be followed by the corresponding references.

There is no specific number of references to use, these are linked to the theory and concepts you may need to use to corroborate your argument or to present better your analysis.

 

There is no reflective section in this year coursework.

 

A core table/figure that will help you to present your main points may be included in the main report (max 3,500 words). I would recommend to use the appendix to provide additional details that you want to include in your business plan but need more space/words.

 

 

 

[1] No late submission is allowed for GPN. If you fail to submit the correct file or to finalize the submission via Canvas, no file will be accepted by email.

[2] The reference style will be consistent within the whole document, you can use the Harvard style.

[3] The reference style will be consistent within the whole document, you can use the Harvard style.