A group of five nanotechnology students (‘the clients’) have developed a portable self-cleaning water filtration device for their 4th year design project. The clients drafted a schematic for the creation of this device as shown in Figure 1. Due to the perceived novelty and broad range of potential applications of this technology, the group discussed carrying this idea beyond a 4th year project to bring their innovation from its current ‘idea’ stage through to commercialization. However, with a tight focus on the design aspects of their task, but little business knowledge, the nanotech group needed help to commercialize their product.
B&B Business Beginnings, a team of UW Environment and Business students, was approached to round out the business requirements and provide business consulting services.
The teaching objective of this case is to illustrate how one brings a new technology from idea to a commercial platform while ensuring sustainability. Student(s) will be able to learn analyzing new ventures and due diligence; more specifically, to analyze which issues/assumptions are critical, and how they can be resolved. The main expected learning outcome is for students to identify several tasks that need to be performed before a business idea can be realized as a business entity. It is intended that the case study can be used to examine entrepreneurship in Engineering and look at start-up issues, venture capital and investigate strategy for new ventures in new industries.