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Technical Entrepreneurship As An Undergraduate Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.969.1 - 6.969.7

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Barry David

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1454

Technical Entrepreneurship as an Undergraduate Course

Barry G. David Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Abstract This paper describes the content, methods and student activities of an undergraduate course in technical entrepreneurship. The course engages students in a variety of research, problem solving and critical thinking activities as they seek solutions to practical problems faced by designers and engineers bringing products to market. The one semester course requires students to present product concepts to the class during the second week of the semester. Acting as a product development committee, the class weeds out weak products to identify those with greatest potential. Product engineering teams are then organized, to further develop the ideas, through the development of engineering drawings, production of a prototype, and cost and market studies. Having completed this work, the teams present their results to the class as students determine which single product to produce during the semester. Once a product is selected a company is formed, complete with shareholders, corporate charter and a management structure. The company’s objective is to develop a production system that will allow for the production of 101 complete and packaged products. The products are sold and the class dissolves the company. Students invest real dollars to become shareholders and dividends are distributed at the close of the company. The course described goes beyond the cerebral aspects of entrepreneurship. Rather, students develop an actual organizational structure and real production system as they physically produce products for market. Students experience real-world problems as they embark on the exciting and often exhausting journey of bringing new products to market.

I. Introduction

The Department of Industry and Technology at Millersville University of Pennsylvania offers a baccalaureate degree in Industrial Technology with six areas of specialty: CAD/D, Electronics Technology, General Industrial Technology, Graphic Communications Technology, Manufacturing Technology and Mechanical Technology. All undergraduate Industrial Technology majors, regardless of specialty area, have an entrepreneurial experience via a required upper-level course. The course, Industrial Organization (ITEC 492), is offered at least once per semester and typically enrolls between 18 and 24 students. Meeting six hours per week, with approximately two hours lecture and four hours lab, the course explores the organization and operation of a small manufacturing enterprise. Students, typically seniors, put into practice the concepts and skills developed in business and technical courses as they work as a team to bring a product to market. As a goal, the class must produce a minimum of 101 products in about eight production hours.

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright O 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

David, B. (2001, June), Technical Entrepreneurship As An Undergraduate Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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