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A Conceptual Framework for Implementation: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Southeast Angel Investments

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Andrew J. Czuchry East Tennessee State University

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A rocket scientist, Andrew J. Czuchry received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1969 and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineers in 2011. Prior to joining East Tennessee State University in 1992, Dr. Czuchry served as President of IRISS, a $150 million joint venture between Raytheon and General Dynamics. He is a tenured full professor and holder of the AFG Industries Chair of Excellence in Business and Technology. He received the Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award in 2006 and the 2012 Association for Global Business award for contributing extensively to promote global education in cooperation with businesses. He has coauthored more than 110 articles in refereed journals and proceedings of professional organizations related to his field.

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Shawn A. Carson University of Tennessee

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Dr. Shawn A. Carson
Haslam College of Business
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Dr. Carson is currently serving with the faculty at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee where he teaches courses in Entrepreneurship, and he is the coordinator for the Minor in Entrepreneurship curriculum. Carson also directs the University’s I-Corps Regional Node, a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation to encourage commercialization of technology by training researchers in Customer Discovery. Carson recently completed a doctoral dissertation entitled “Identifying Critical Risk Factors in the Decision-making Process of Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists: A Delphi Research Study”.

In addition to teaching responsibilities, Carson is also involved with the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a donor sponsored support program for students and faculty who are interested in starting companies. Over the last 5 years, the Anderson Center has distributed over $500,000 in startup capital. Carson coordinates a program called Vol Court, which is an elevator pitch competition for students and faculty. The Anderson Center has a three-pronged mission to develop entrepreneurial talent, help build the overall entrepreneurial community and to conduct applied research in entrepreneurship. Carson is fully involved in all three aspects of this mission.

Carson also serves as Director of Advisory Services with 3 Roots Capital, a provider of impact capital products and advisory services that create successful outcomes for client companies and community partners while generating attractive returns for financial partners. 3 Roots Capital is a Community Develop Financial Institution and specializes in providing debt capital to businesses located in economically disadvantaged areas.

Prior to starting his academic career at the University of Tennessee, Carson spent 10 years with Technology 2020, an organization that supported entrepreneurial startups in Oak Ridge Tennessee. During that time, Carson developed accelerator programs and workshops for a number of different programs around the state of Tennessee. Notably, he created curricula and delivered programming for an agricultural accelerator in rural northwest Tennessee, an automotive accelerator in southern middle Tennessee and a general business accelerator program in Johnson City in northeast Tennessee. Carson also deployed a 3-year project funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission to support small businesses in Campbell County Tennessee, a rural and economically distressed community. Carson supported over 200 startups during his time with Tech 2020 through business model development and the raising of equity based growth capital.

Carson has also been a founder of 3 startups including Fertility Focus, an agricultural business that helped cattle farmers increase the fertility rates in cattle production.

Dr. Carson’s rich experience as an entrepreneur, educator and interest in applied research have positioned him to pursue an interest in understanding the unique needs and challenges of entrepreneurship in rural and economically disadvantaged areas, where there is a measured lack of support, growth capital, and general entrepreneurial culture.

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James H. Lampley East Tennessee State University

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Dr. Lampley received his Ed.D. from East Tennessee State University and currently serves as a Professor and Research Specialist in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department at ETSU. Dr. Lampley has been an ELPA faculty member since 2004. As a Research Specialist he works with dissertation students on quantitative research topics. Dr. Lampley also serves as the Graduate Program Coordinator for the Post Secondary and Private Sector Leadership concentration in the ELPA department. Dr. Lampley teaches a variety of courses including Research Methods, Educational Statistics, and Quantitative Analysis. Currently, Dr. Lampley has research interests in online delivery and graduate education and spearheads research opportunities as often as possible.

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William H. Knight East Tennessee State University

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Dr. Knight received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University. He was on the faculty of Purdue University prior to joining the faculty at East Tennessee State University in 1986. He served as Department Chair, Associate Dean, and Dean of the Clemmer College of Education. Professor Knight currently teaches courses in Organizational Theory, Leadership, Administration of Higher Education, and Policy Analysis. He also serves as dissertation advisor for students who employ mixed methods approaches and specializes in the use of the Delphi Method.

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Relationships between the entrepreneur and the angel investor at least for the southeastern part of the United States are essential. Although relationships have been stressed as important in engineering startups for more than 20 years, our co-author’s seminal dissertation indicates that professional relationships have become mandatory for growth funding. Additional experiential learning in our Engineering Entrepreneurship curriculum in the southeast would appear warranted. Hence we underscore these opportunities with feedback loops suggested in the implementation framework.

A conceptual framework for implementation is comprised of four steps. These steps are listed below.

Step 1: Ideation – The Life Blood of Entrepreneurship Step 2: Innovation – A Practical Implementation Step 3: The Real Opportunity Test Step 4: The Deal – Relationship Building

Step 1. Step 1 is critical because ideas are the lifeblood of the entrepreneur. Lateral thinking helps students generate outside-the-box concepts that can be vital in adding value to the customers.

Based on the results of this dissertation we would include the angel investor as a vital client in this process.

Value propositions ensure that your uniqueness and sustainable competitive advantage are verifiable … and supported by your marketing analysis and plan (See the modified BCG Matrix). What value do we deliver to the customer? Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve? What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment? Which customer needs are we satisfying?

The use of technology to remove constraints is a lateral-thought game changer. Strategic planning identifies core competencies to be protected. Joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and R&D should be based upon facts. Analyses include time to market, ROI and sustainable competitive advantage. This is the time to include the angel investor as a key client because following the trust/relationship building approach discussed by Stephen Covey we can engage the angel investor as a client in building these vital relationships that are necessary for growth funding.

Step 2. In high technology based applications innovation becomes a practical implementation achieved by the systematic deployment of lean thinking and six sigma; the Shewhart Deming Cycle; and the systematic use of technology in a business narrative. This level of detail will be essential in developing a relationship with the angel investor as well as the end customer user.

Step 3. The purpose of this step is to ensure that the business and technology concept will create value that end user customers will pay a premium to receive. It is also vital in engaging angel investors to be able to provide the downstream growth funding essential to the venture’s ultimate success.

Step 4. We incorporate the details on specific requirements to gauge the angel investor as reported in our co-author’s dissertation. These relationship factors include: trustworthiness, ethics and honesty, integrity, passion, management ‘skin in the game,’ commitment to startup, market strategy, investment skills, scalability/sales strategy, reasonable burn rate, market size, exit strategy, strategic metrics and milestones and founder’s industry experience.

Czuchry, A. J., & Carson, S. A., & Lampley, J. H., & Knight, W. H. (2019, June), A Conceptual Framework for Implementation: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Southeast Angel Investments Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31948

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