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Investigating entrepreneurial opportunities

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This course addresses the crucial first steps related to developing new business ideas, implementing innovations and launching new ventures. It will develop business-planning capabilities, skills and understanding, including market and competitor research and the use of important financial concepts such as break-even and cash flow. It will lead you through a systematic process of testing your ideas and experience to arrive at a business proposition with ambitious yet attainable objectives. The course will help you to focus on your own capabilities and skills in project planning; business project appraisal; report writing; and environmental and personal analysis.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£570.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£570.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1115.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£570.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£570.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£995.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£570.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Investigating entrepreneurial opportunities provides a well structured and clear learning experience for people who are drawn to the idea of starting their own venture. This could be a completely new business, the commercialisation of an innovation in a larger organisation, or a new service in the social or voluntary sectors where there is a need to take into account the rigours of competitive pressures. The course will develop not only the necessary analytic skills but also a better understanding of the needs of market-based competition and the confidence to address these needs successfully.

You will learn to critically assess different aspects of the external environment and of your own resources and capabilities with the aim of establishing and sustaining a profitable new venture. In particular you will learn how to:

  • assess market dynamics, such as competitors’ and suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses  or market gaps, in relation to target customers and competitors
  • identify critical points of competitive advantage and business success
  • identify necessary base resources, capabilities and skills needs
  • gather primary and secondary information for use in customer segmentation, action planning, cashflow and debt management
  • develop personal and team attributes and capabilities for entrepreneurial success
  • develop the ability to set clear and attainable objectives and sustain self-motivation, focus and persistence
  • assess the feasibility of business propositions.

The course starts with a rigorous clarification of the basic business idea with respect to your own capabilities, external environment (focused mainly on likely competitive pressures) and available resources. After a reasonably sound business idea has been established, the course moves up a gear with a more rigorous examination of the proposed market, the marketing and information-gathering implications, and concludes with a robust financial assessment. The course is arranged as two blocks, each with its own workbook. The first block is Developing Entrepreneurial Ideas, which has five sections – the first three on different aspects of enterprise and innovation; the final two on market and resource issues. The second block, Investigating Enterprise Feasibility, has three sections – scoping the research, marketing research and financial viability.

There is a Study Guide on the website which will be a ‘living document’. It provides the rationale for the course, an outline of its learning objectives, a description of the course content and structure and indicate where it fits with other related courses. The Study Guide contains information on tutor-marked assignments and the end-of-module assessment plus descriptions of OU requirements and systems. The Study Guide also has copies of the checklists and models used in the online activities as well as copies of each of the TMA and EMA questions.

B322 allows sufficient time for discussion and reflection. The activities are online and generally take the form of interactive checklists or grids to support analysis. The structure of the course is iterative in concept with succeeding activities drawing on previous activities and in-text questions. The activities feed into the TMAs and, at the end, into the EMA. Indeed, you are encouraged to attach activity-driven analysis as appendices to your TMAs. In order to encourage reflection, certain activities return to previous analysis but with a tighter focus. As a consequence, learning and analysis accrete as the course progresses but without undue increase in workload. The purpose of B322 is to develop a robust and sustainable business idea and not a business plan per se. However, the analysis embedded in Investigating entrepreneurial opportunities supports the development of business, growth and marketing plans plus, above all, the understanding and flexibility for you to decide what is fit for your purpose and the right course of action for yourself.

Vocational relevance

The course is of direct relevance to people who aspire to start and manage their own firm or small organisation in the social sector. It is also suitable for people who manage innovation or new product units in larger organisations.

Entry

There are no entry requirements to this course. Although it requires no prior study, the learning experience may be richer for students who are familiar with basic business or management concepts such as those encountered on An introduction to business studies (B120).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Study guide, two workbooks, case studies, journal article prints, electronic conferencing, a website and web-based activities.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll be allocated a tutor who will facilitate your tutorial group both through formal electronic collaboration and informally in the tutorial-group forum.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The online tutorials will be linked to TMA preparation and feedback plus cover key concepts at relevant stages of the course.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in November 2013. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“B322 is a unique course that guides a student through the process of determining the likely success (or otherwise) of ...”
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“A very interesting and practical course. Unlike other modules I have studied in working towards my BA Business Studies this ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code B322
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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