Subject Code: MAN303
Subject Name: Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Assessment Title: Assessment 1: Entrepreneur Interview
Total Marks: 30
Word Limit: 1200 words
Submission: Via Turnitin
Due Date Week 4
This Assessment Task will address the following Learning Outcome:
LO1: Define, explain and illustrate theories of business innovation and entrepreneurship, the evolution of industries and economies, and the toles of entrepreneurs
This exercise is based on the “Visit with an Entrepreneur” Exercise in Timmons, Jeffry A., Gillin, L.M., Burshtein, S., and Spinelli, Stephen Jr. (2011). New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century – A Pacific Rim Perspective, 1st Edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin (pp. 29-31).
Identify a suitable entrepreneur who has been in business for at least three years and you would like to learn about and from the most. He or she could have also had a successful ‘exit’. This could be someone you see as an example or role model in a field to which you aspire, or which you know the least, but are anxious to learn. Do not interview relatives or close friends.
The business should be generating revenue and exhibit innovation in its products or services, systems, processes, etc. You are to prepare and conduct an interview with this person using the questions below as a suggested guide. Preparation is crucial if you are to derive maximum benefit from this assessment.
If you are unable to secure an entrepreneur to interview, you may research an entrepreneur. You will still have to use the questions below as a guide to structure your report.
Make contact, set up an appointment and be sure to explain why you want the appointment and give a realistic estimate of how much time you will need.
Identify specific questions you would like to have answered and the general areas about which you would like information. (See sample questions below)
Conduct the interview. Only record the interview with permission in advance from the subject.
Reflect on the responses obtained during the interview. In your report, (a) summarise the answers from the questions you asked (not writing a transcript). Include the entrepreneur’s key learnings, best moments, worst moments, etc., and (b) reflect on what you learned through this exercise. Reflect on the most important observations and insights you have gathered from these interviews. Contrast especially what patterns, differences and similarities exist between lifestyle and high potential entrepreneurs. What surprised you the most, what was confirmed about entrepreneurship? What new insights emerged? What might be the implications for you personally, your goals and / or career aspirations?
You can structure the report the following way:
I. Introduction (background of the entrepreneur and his/her business) II. Findings from the interview
III. Reflections from the interview
After the interview, make sure you send a thank you note. This is more than a courtesy; it will also help the entrepreneur remember you favorably should you want to follow up with him or her at a later time.
Suggested Questions for the Interview (you don’t have to ask them all!)
1) Would you tell me about yourself before you started your first venture?
a. Who else did you know growing up that owned a business; did they influence you, anyone currently?
b. Were your parents, relatives, close friends entrepreneurial?
c. Did you have role models?
d. At the time of your startup what was your education and job experience? In hindsight was it helpful and, if so, in which ways?
e. In particular did you have any marketing or sales experience? How important was that, or the lack thereof?
f. When, under what circumstances, and from whom did you become interested in entrepreneurship and learn some of the critical lessons?
2) Describe how you decided to start your venture.
a. How did you spot the opportunity? How did it surface?
b. What were your goals? What were your lifestyle needs of other personal requirements? How did you fit these together?
c. How did you evaluate the opportunity in terms of the critical elements for success? The competition? The market? Did you have specific criteria you wanted to meet?
d. What kind of financing did you start with? How much capital did it take to start your business?
e. How long did it take you to reach a positive cash flow and break-even sales volume? If you did not have enough money at the time how did you keep going? What type of bootstrapping did you undertake?
f. What outside help did you get? Did you have experienced advisors to fall back on, lawyers, accountants, etc.? How did you develop these experts and how long did it take?
g. How did outside advisors / mentors make a difference in your business?
h. What did you perceive to be the weaknesses and strengths of your venture?
i. Describe your most triumphant moment? Your worst moment?
j. Did you find or need partners? Did you want to have partners or go it alone? Why?
3) Once you got going with your venture / business:
a. What were some of the most difficult gaps to fill and problems to solve as the business began to grow?
b. When you looked for key personnel, either employees or partners, were there any personal attributes or attitudes you desired because you knew that criteria would fit with you and were important to the future success of the firm? How did you find these individuals?
c. Are there any attributes or attitudes that you would avoid when looking for new employees or partners?
d. Do you spend more, less, or about the same amount of time with your business now than you did early on?
e. In terms of the future, do you plan to harvest, to maintain, to expand?
f. In your ideal world, how many days do you want to work? Explain.
g. What are some keys that you learned from both success and failure?
h. What were / are some of the most difficult tradeoffs you face (e.g. tradeoffs between business, family, hobbies, community)?
i. Describe a time when you ran out of cash, what pressures did this create, how was the issue resolved and what lessons were learned?
j. Can you describe a venture that previously did not work out and how that might have prepared you for this one?
4) Questions to conclude the interview:
a. What do you consider your most valuable asset - the thing that enabled you to make it?
b. If you had it to do over again, would you do it again, in the same way?
c. As you look back, what do you feel are the most critical concepts skills, attitudes, and know-how you needed to get your company started and grown to where it is today? What will be needed for the next five years?
d. Some say there is a lot of stress in being an entrepreneur, what have you experienced? How would you say it compares to other hot seat jobs such as running a big company or partner in large law or accounting firm?
e. What have you found personally rewarding and satisfying as an entrepreneur?
f. Who should attempt to enter entrepreneurship as a career and who should not? Can you give me any ideas there?
g. Do you have any final words of wisdom before we conclude this interview?
This assessment will be marked using the attached rubric.
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Criteria F (Fail)
0%-49% P (Pass) 50%-64% CR (Credit) 65%-74% D (Distinction) 75% - 84% HD (High Distinction) 85%-100%
Introduction (3) Did not identify entrepreneur. No background of his/her business. Briefly identified entrepreneur. Very little background of his/her business. Need more depth. A good description and background of the entrepreneur. Good background of his/her business. A very good description and background of the entrepreneur. Very good background of his/her business. An excellent and thorough description and background of the entrepreneur. Excellent and thorough background of his/her business.
Summary from Interview (8)
Nil or very little analysis of the person’s business decisions. Nil or very few key strategies explained regarding the person’s success. Identified entrepreneur though there needed to be more explanation as to why the person is one of inspiration. Analysis of the person’s business decisions needed more depth as well as the key strategies towards his/her success. Identified entrepreneur and briefly explained why the person is one of inspiration. Good analysis of the person’s business decisions but could have had more depth. Good explanation of key strategies towards his/her success. Clearly identified entrepreneur and gave very good explanation as to why the person is one of inspiration. Very good analysis of the person’s business decisions. Very good explanation of key strategies towards his/her success. Clearly identified entrepreneur and thoroughly explained why the person is one of inspiration. Excellent and thorough analysis of the person’s business decisions. Clearly identified and discussed the key strategies towards his/her success.
Answered little if any of the areas with poor or nil explanations and personal insights. Attempted to give some insights and observations from the interview. There needed to be much more depth in the reflection. Good observations and insights gathered from the interview. Slightly more depth and breadth in your reflection. Very good observations and insights gathered from the interview. Excellent observations and insights gathered from the interview. Took much time reflecting on answers from the interview and how it has impacted your life.
Conclusions (3) The conclusion does not integrate or articulate any connection the findings from the interview and the reflections. The conclusion attempts to integrate or articulate any connection the findings from the interview and the reflections. The conclusion adequately integrates and articulates a connection the findings from the interview and the reflections. The conclusion integrates and articulates a connection the findings from the interview and the reflections. The conclusion clearly and specifically integrates and articulates a connection the findings from the interview and the reflections.
STRUCTURE AND FORMAT (8)
Answer clearly and logically presented (2) Serious lack of organisation. The report does not have appropriate structure and lacks direction. No significant observations. Poor writing.
Writing style could be more effective. Organization is hard to follow; there is little progression of
ideas. Little or no transitions between paragraphs. Paragraphs are generally well organized. Better transitions needed. The progression of ideas could be more thoughtful. Ideas & arguments are well structured. Thoughtful progression of ideas and details. Sound transitions between paragraphs. Thoughtful progression of ideas and details. Excellent transitions between paragraphs.
Appropriate theory and research (at least reference to is) as part of reflection (2) The report has a very little reflection and insights from the interview integrating theory and research in the reflection. The report has a reasonable reflection and insights from the interview integrating theory and research in the reflection. Good report highlighting the relevant issues and makes good observations. Good writing and expression of arguments. A very good report considered all the relevant issues and made important observations based from appropriate theory and research. Very good writing and expression. Fully considered all the relevant issues and made significant observations based from appropriate theory and research.
Excellent writing and expression.
Correct academic writing style used, including correct spelling, grammar and punctuation (2) Needs more sentence variety. Little or no thought given to diction. Tone or language is conversational. Contains much informal language. Uses “I” or “you.” Contains many examples of unclear or awkward phrasing. Needs more sentence variety. Attention needed with diction. Contains informal language or conversational tone, or uses “I” or “you.” Unclear or awkward sentence phrasing Sentence variety is adequate. Tone is appropriate. Diction is clear but could be more effective. Language is academic, and writing is clear and
effective. Very little or no unclear or
awkward phrasing Sentence variety is effective and good. Tone is appropriate and consistent. Diction/ vocabulary is
appropriate and effective.
Language is academic. Writing is clear, and concise. Sentence variety is effective and sophisticated. Tone is appropriate and consistent. Diction/ vocabulary is sophisticated and effective. Language is academic. Writing is clear, concise, and strong.
Format of answer consistent with question requirements and KBS guidelines (2) No efforts made to follow submission
and editing, spacing, etc requirements Meets most editing, spacing, fonts, and other editing requirements.
Some requirements not met. Meets editing, spacing, fonts, and other editing requirements. Meets almost all editing, spacing, fonts, and other editing requirements. Meets all editing, spacing, fonts, and other editing requirements.
MAN303 ASSESSMENT 1 OUTLINE