Guidelines “Course in Entrepreneurship & Business Development”

Annexes

“Course in Entrepreneurship & Business Development”  – Project Guidelines 

Introduction 

The Business Model Validation Project

A Business Model Validation Project is an academic work aimed at adding value in an organization. This shall be solving a real problem; analyzing a business opportunity by validating a business model of a product or service in a given market in Europe or Latin America.

Organization, in this case, can include among others public or private corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, armed forces, charities, unions, nonprofit corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, and universities.

The academic work is expected to show the student’s ability to put theory into practice.

Submitting the Business Model Validation Project 

Key information of the Business Model Validation Project must be submitted for approval before the correspondent deadline. It includes the following:

  • Student: name and surname (format: Name Surname)
  • Project: short title, description
  • Tutor: name, email address, telephone number
  • Organization: name, address
  • Organization contact person: name, email address, telephone number
  • Confidentiality: required / not required

Writing the Business Model Validation Project

The Business Model Validation Project has to be written in a form of an academic report.

Executive Summary 

It is compulsory to include an Executive Summary at the beginning of the written work. The extension of the summary is optional and will depend on the project.

It will consist at least on

  • An introduction or project presentation including the objective description
  • A brief explanation of the methodology used including steps and data sources
  • Main conclusions or explanation of the deliverable.

It is important to remark that no project will be admitted for presentation and defence without the mandatory executive summary.

Originality of the work 

Passing off one’s work as original when it is not, constitutes a serious infraction. The participant should present an original work and any assistance received in preparing the Business Model Validation Project should be fully acknowledged. No source of information other than those credited should be used, and all citations should be clearly indicated.

Individuality of the work 

The Business Model Validation Project is an individual academic work. Even if it has been done in a team context or being part of a bigger project, either in the organization or with other students, it has to reflect the personal analysis, conclusions, contributions and recommendations. It will be evaluated the personal work, not the team results.

The Company; 

Choosing an organization 

Students must find an organization and identify a relevant project, if not otherwise offered by organizations via the Latin America Europe Trade & Entrepreneurship Association.

Organization responsible 

The organization will define a responsible of the project that will serve as a link with the organization and the student. The organization representative will provide with the information and data and will guide and support the participant with the professional perspective.

Marking the Business Model Validation Project

The organization will mark the work done by the student using established criteria. The responsible will communicate, prior to the defence, the assessment of the Business Model Validation Project.

Organization criteria:

  • Added value to the company. Company has to measure the level of impact and estimated benefit for the organization.
  • Personal contribution. Company has to measure the personal contribution of the student as analyst, his/her vision and the difficulty for the company to reach the same conclusions internally.

There is one appropriate template which differentiates a scale of five levels to evaluate the work (see annexes).

The Tutor; the Work 

Choosing a tutor 

A tutor, approved by Latin America Europe Trade & Entrepreneurship Association, will supervise the Business Model Validation Project. The student should find a tutor for the entire duration of the project. The main objective of the tutor will be to provide the necessary guidance and feedback to ensure the best possible quality of the work. This help and supervision may be provided in the form of remote and/or face-to-face sessions.

There is a pool of tutors with relevant experience. If the student has difficulties to find a convenient tutor, LAEEA can assign one from the pool. This will be done in a way that best suits the knowledge and experience necessary to meet the project characteristics.

Depending on the nature of the Business Model Validation Project it is possible to suggest an independent tutor that has to be approved by LAEEA based on the following requirements.

  • Professional experience. A minimum of five years experience is necessary.
  • Business relation. The professional activity of the prospective tutor must be related with business or company administration.
  • Independence and objectivity. No current and direct professional relation with the same organization, which is demanding the project, is accepted.
  • Availability to support the participant considering time investment of tutoring a Business Model Validation Project.

Exceptions on the above list can be accepted if the particularities of the project make difficult to assign an alternative tutor from the pool. Contact tutor’s coordinator to submit the profile of the prospective tutor or ask for a tutor from the pool.

The function of a tutor 

The tutor is a major player in the students Business Model Validation Project. He/she is the responsible for:

  • Give feedback to the student on the project proposal
  • Provide with the necessary guidance and feedback during the working period
  • Ensure the best possible quality of the final work
  • Mark the student’s effort.

In general terms, the tutor assesses the degree of uniqueness of the project proposal, approves the work prior to its submission to LAEEA and evaluates the content of the final project.

The tutor will pay particular attention to the executive summary as this will be part of the written completed work that will be evaluated.

At the end, the tutor must ensure the minimum quality of the work in order to be eligible as a Business Model Validation Project.

Marking the student 

The tutor will mark the final work using established criteria. She/he will communicate the assessment of the Business Model Validation Project prior to the defence.

Tutor criteria:

  • Level of difficulty. Tribunal has to measure the difficulty to find and gather data and the degree of ambiguity of the information sources.
  • Student commitment. Tutor has to measure the level of autonomy of the student, his/her effort, regularity and interest.

There is one appropriate template which differentiates a scale of five levels to evaluate the student (see annexes).

The Tribunal 

The tutor will provide the students final work to the tribunal. They are committed to read and evaluate the work.

Marking the defence 

The Tribunal will mark content. They will communicate the assessment of the Business Model Validation Project during the following days. There is a template which establishes the criteria to evaluate the work (see annexes).

Tribunal content criteria:

  • Added value to the company. Tribunal has to measure the level of impact and estimated benefit for the organization.
  • Level of difficulty. Tribunal has to measure the difficulty to find and gather data and the degree of ambiguity of the information sources.
  • Consultancy model. Tribunal has to measure the accuracy of the consultancy model.

Final Grades 

The grade of the Business Model Validation Project will be the combined result of the content and defence of the final complete work according to the following breakdown:

  • Company marks: 25%
  • Tutor marks: 25%
  • Tribunal Member 1 marks: 25%
  • Tribunal Member 2 marks: 25%

Any disagreement on final grades should be communicated during the 15 days after the final marks are published. The student will provide the arguments sustaining any discrepancy which have to be based on the evaluation criteria and not on personal opinions or subjective perceptions.

Deadlines 

The Business Model Validation Project has to be handed in 3 months after selection and agreement on the topic. The date of beginning and deadline will be established by the coordinator, appointed by the President of the association.

Formal Requirements 

Length 

No formal requirements. A given business model has to be described and validated in a given target market. Methodology and derived recommendations have to get clear. The work shall be sumarized in an Executive Summary.

Language 

English or Spanish language is compulsory. Even in case the student, the organization and the tutor speak a common language different than English or Spanish.

The annexes have to be written in English too. The only exception refers to original documents or photographs that can be added as a reference if they are explained apart. Typical example is a transcription of an interview that can be added if summarized.

Cover page 

It is COMPULSORY to include the cover page found as an annex of this guideline. It has to show the following:

  • Students name
  • Project title
  • Organization’s name
  • Tutor’s name
  • Confidentiality if required
  • Number of pages, words and date

Formatting requirements 

Written work will be produced using a word processor. The formatting requirements applicable are detailed below

  • The Business Model Validation Project must be written on A4 paper size (i.e. 210 x 297 mm)
  • Single spacing, 6 points before and 6 points after, fully justified and 30 mm left and right margins by 25mm top and bottom margins should be used.
  • Letter font should be Arial 11‐point, Calibri 11‐point or Times New Roman, 12‐point
  • Headings must be numbered and clearly differentiated from the main text
  • Page numbers should be shown on the bottom right hand side. The first page and the beginning of chapters should not be numbered
  • Work that is badly written or contains serious spelling mistakes will be rejected. Work must be well presented, proofread, and spell checked if it is to be accepted for grading purposes
  • Any graphs included in participants’ work will be properly labelled (i.e. axes will show values and what they represent) so that they can be easily interpreted.
  • Data sources must be shown at the foot of graphs, tables, etc. Where the participant has collated the data, a note to such effect should be placed at the foot of the graph, table, etc
  • Participants’ work must be accompanied by a bibliography at the end of the document. All references must conform to the American Psychological Association (APA) 5th edition citation style. A summary or index should be provided at the beginning of the document

File format 

The final work has to be submitted in pdf file format. This pdf will be text and not protected.

Confidentiality 

If the Business Model Validation Project is confidential, this should be clearly stated in the cover page of the project. The tutor and the members of the tribunal will also be bound to secrecy with the LAEEA.

The company shall propose the wording of a  confidentiality agreement that should be signed between the company and the student. An electronic copy will be sent to the coordinator and the other will be kept by the company.

Guidelines interpretation 

Some doubt could appear when interpreting this guideline due to the enormous variety of possibilities and potential projects. To solve them, the participant must send a mail to the track coordinator explaining the case with the following structure:

  • Context: antecedents and origin of the doubt
  • Doubt: explanation of the situation or conflict description
  • Solution: suggested or desired solution