Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.307.1 - 6.307.8
Coupling Engineering and Entrepreneurship Education through Formula SAE
Martin Morris, Fred Fry Bradley University
Teams of mechanical engineering students design, build, and race a Formula SAE car as their senior project assignment. Upon completion, the car is entered in a national competition. The overall task is to create a prototype racecar and to develop a business strategy capable of building four production cars per day. A team of entrepreneurship students simultaneously had the assignment to create a business plan that could be used to solicit funding for developing a new business based on manufacturing these cars. An important result of the project is that both the engineering and the entrepreneurship students developed an understanding of both the technical and business challenges of starting a new company. This required development of effective cross-disciplinary communication skills and learning to function in a setting similar to one that might be found in a manufacturing industry.
Combining engineering teams with entrepreneurship teams is an innovative method of entrepreneurship education. It provides a more realistic environment for developing business plans and exposes both engineers and business students to the language and decision processes faced by many actual companies. Audet, Pegna, and Garon1 reported on one such cooperative relationship which engineering and commerce students teamed to develop new products. This paper reports on a project in which entrepreneurship student team built a business plan based around a race car built for Formula SAE competition by engineering students.
Formula SAE is an inter-collegiate competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in which college teams build and race formula-style racecars. The stated objective of the Formula SAE competition is to "conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars."2 The students are to assume that a manufacturing firm such as Ford has engaged them to produce a prototype car for evaluation as a production item. The intended customer for this product is non-professional auto-cross racers such as Sport Car Club of America (SCCA) racers. The car is expected to be affordable, reliable, and easy to maintain while providing high performance to the buyer. The car should be comfortable and possess the aesthetics of a formula-type racecar. The premise of the competition is that the manufacturer will produce four cars per day for a limited production run. The prototype vehicle should cost less than $30,000.
Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education
Morris, M., & Fry, F. (2001, June), Coupling Engineering And Entrepreneurship Education Through Formula Sae Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/9048
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