This draft syllabus was contributed by Carla Kimbrough:
Media Entrepreneurship class
Course description: This class is designed to help students understand the work of an entrepreneur, the basics of starting and running a business, and how those skills can help. Specifically, students will develop skills in the following areas:
Awareness of:
  • Characteristics of an entrepreneur
  • The resources available for business startups
  • Pitfalls and triumphs of entrepreneurs in media and other fields

Knowledge of:
  • Various legal structures and accounting skills an entrepreneur needs
  • Resources available for entrepreneurs seeking expertise and funding

Skills and abilities
  • How to write a business plan
  • How to pitch one’s business idea

The grade will be based upon:
20 percent: quizzes from readings and speaker presentations
20 percent: papers related entrepreneurs and key topics from the semester
30 percent: Midterm exam: business plan
30 percent: Final exam: business plan pitch

Course outline
Week 1

What is an entrepreneur?
Week 2
Entrepreneurship in the Media: The stories of BlogRadio, Huffington Post, and more
Week 3
The skill of opportunity recognition
Week 4
The nuts & bolts of a business plan
Week 5
Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager: various legal structures and finding a legal adviser
Week 6
Market research - government data, market competition, focus groups, surveys,etc.
Week 7
Resources available to the Entrepreneur: funding, consulting, etc.
Week 8
Midterm assignment: Turn in a polished a business plan
Presentation skills

Week 9
Business ethics
Week 10
Accounting: How to read a balance sheet
Week 11
Marketing for the entrepreneur (leveraging limited funds, using social media as a promotional tool, etc.)
Week 12
Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation: Every business needs entrepreneurial employees who can bring innovation to the business. How to put your skills to work within a traditional media outlet.
Week 13
Talking with funders and venture capitalists
Week 14
Class discussion: Profiles of your entrepreneurs
Week 15
Final exam: The Big Pitch of Your Business Idea

2010 Make it Happen—Student Quick Pitch Competition
Competition Guidelines

The Make it Happen--Student Quick Pitch Competition gives Nebraska students an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial, communication, and presentation skills through a short “quick pitch” proposal for a new business venture. In the competition, students will be judged and receive feedback on the effectiveness of their pitch from a panel of entrepreneurially-minded experts from across Nebraska. The goal of the competition is to prepare students to “make it happen” in their future careers by communicating their ideas in an effective, business-appropriate way.

Event Details
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Memorial Stadium—West Stadium Club (Stadium Drive and T St., Lincoln, NE)
Competitor Sign-in: 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Pitches begin at 6:00 p.m.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event

Competition Structure
Students will be divided into three divisions according to the type of Nebraska school they attend:
  1. High School (grades 9-12)
  2. 2-year college
  3. 4-year college (undergraduate and graduate)

  • Pending sufficient registration, each division will have two flights of competitors, with up to 10 students in each flight. Each flight will be assigned to a specific skybox (room) and panel of judges.
  • Students will compete only against other students in their flight. The winner of each flight will be awarded a cash prize.
  • After all students in a flight have completed their quick pitches, the panel of judges will deliberate for 10-15 minutes to select a winner.
  • Each flight of students will return to their respective rooms and participate in a group feedback session with their judges for 15-20 minutes.
  • Winners of each flight will be announced in the main gathering space immediately following the feedback sessions.
  • The competition is limited to 60 students.


5:00 – 5:45
Competitor sign-in
5:45 – 6:00
Welcome Presentation
6:00 – 7:00
Quick Pitch Presentations (6)
7:00 – 7:10
7:10 – 7:50
Quick Pitch Presentation (4)
7:50 – 8:00
Judges’ Deliberation
8:00 – 8:30
Feedback with Competitors
8:30 – 9:30
Awards Ceremony

Quick Pitch Rules
  1. Each student will have 3 minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges; when 3 minutes is reached, a timer will stop the pitch.
  2. Judges will have 3 minutes for question and answer with the student
  3. Pitches will be given by one individual only.
  4. Visual aids / props (PowerPoint presentations, posters, displays, etc.) are generally not permitted. If used, the visual aid must be smaller than an 8 ½” by 11” sheet of paper and be something an entrepreneur would typically have with them on their person. Contact the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship at 402-472-3353 with any questions.
  5. Competitors must remain in their respective rooms during other competitors’ presentations, both before and after their own presentation.

What is a quick pitch?
A quick pitch (sometimes known as an elevator pitch) is a 30-second to 5-minute action-oriented description of a business venture designed to
  1. Engage the interest of the audience
  2. Persuade them to participate in the business venture as you see fit (investor, customer, partner, referral source, etc.)

What information should be included in a quick pitch?
An effective quick pitch should address the following questions:
  1. What is your product or service?
    Briefly describe what it is you sell. Do not go into excruciating detail.

  1. Who is your market?
    Briefly discuss who you are selling the product or service to. What industry is it? How large of a market do they represent?

  1. Who is behind the company?
    "Bet on the jockey, not the horse" is a familiar saying among Investors. Tell them a little about you and your team's background and achievements. If you have a strong advisory board, tell them who they are and what they have accomplished.

  1. Who is your competition?
    Don't have any? Think again. Briefly discuss who they are and what they have accomplished. Successful competition is an advantage-they are proof your business model and/or concept work.

  1. What is your competitive advantage?
    Simply being in an industry with successful competitors is not enough. You need to effectively communicate how your company is different and why you have an advantage over the competition. A better distribution channel? Key partners? Proprietary technology

  1. What is your revenue model?
    More simply, how do you expect to make money?
How should a quick pitch sound?
  1. It should not sound memorized or robotic, but it should be well-rehearsed
  2. You should be excited about what you are pitching! Your audience should be able to hear the passion in your voice.

Judges’ Criteria
Presentations will be judged on the competitors’ ability to both address the key components of a start-up business venture, answer the judges’ questions regarding their venture, and present their idea passionately, creatively, clearly, and concisely. Judges will be provided with criteria on which to evaluate the competitors. The winner of each flight will be determined through a deliberation process and mutual decision by the judges.

Application to Compete
Because space in the competition is limited to 60 competitors, students must fill out the attached Application to Compete form, which includes a section in which the students briefly describe their business venture idea in 250 words or fewer. This form is to be completed by the student, not the faculty advisor. When all applications have been received, the competition’s advisory board will review the applications and select students to compete in the competition.

Applications should be submitted online at If necessary, they may be submitted via e-mail at, fax at 402-472-6278, or mailed to Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship, 1240 R St., CBA 217, PO Box 880487, Lincoln, NE 68588.


Students and faculty advisors will be notified of the selection decision by Tuesday, February 16th.

Please contact the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship at 402-472-3353 for any questions regarding the 2010 Make it Happen Student Quick Pitch Competition

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