BST194 – New Venture Plan


Cardiff Business School



Module Code

New Venture Plan


This module pack has been prepared for students following the New Venture Plan module and forms the final part of the MSc Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship program at Cardiff Business School. The module pack contains information for academic supervisors and for industry mentors. The New Venture Plan module aims to provide students a practical experience to integrate and apply many of the concepts encountered in the various modules during the Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship program. Like most practical business situations, you will be asked to tackle the project in groups. However, your assessment will be strongly influenced by your individual work and your contribution to the group effort. You will have the support of an academic supervisor and an external mentor whose experience will be invaluable to you during this module and after completion of your studies. This is a reinforcement of CARBS’ continuing efforts to demonstrate relevance to industry and community. The programme director and module coordinator would like to thank academic supervisors and industry mentors for contributing to this module and wish students the well in developing their new venture plan over the coming months. We hope you have a wonderful experience in the New Venture Plan. Remember, this is an opportunity for you to showcase your talent, working independently as a group and maximizing your assets within the group. Go forth and prosper!






June 2nd June Belbin Session
By June 12th All students should complete online Ethics training
June 5th Monday Research Ethics Session by Carmella Bosangit
12th June Reflective Report Session by Learna
21st June Information session and ethics session with supervisors
June 12th – 19th Reflective Practice Online Course
Week June 27th Initial group –– Academic supervisor meeting (during the week)

Initial group–client meeting (during the week)





July 24th Group Proposal (15%) – Group to submit proposal (1500 words). Proposal to include ethics training certificates.
July 24th Following supervisor feedback and amendments, a final submission for

Ethical Approval is made.

September 4th-8th Group Presentation (10%) – Presentation week
September 6th Group Report (40%) – (10,000 words)
September 7th Individual Reflective Report (35%) – (2000 words)



2.                                             OVERVIEW OF THE MODULE

The underlying rationale of the module is to encourage you to select and use appropriate knowledge and skills so as to be able to plan and resource venture creation, development, growth and harvesting. This should provide a complementary perspective to the viewpoints presented in other modules so that you can recognize the range of key aspects and how these can be important for planning a new venture. The module aims to help successful students to identify and critically evaluate possible market opportunities, and to consider commercial, competitive, regulatory, financial, operational and market-focused realities of executing a new venture.

Participating external mentors will work with the student team assigned to them. Prior to the start of the module, mentors will provide a project brief and will have committed to give their own time voluntarily to support the student team in its endeavour for the best outcome of the project. They cannot be expected to drop everything to respond to your queries or be expected to know everything. However, they will respond in a professional way as soon as they are able, providing as much advice and benefit of their experience as they can. All mentors are experienced professionals who are giving up their own time to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and are expecting to enjoy the process!

Establishing a good working relationship with your mentor, including setting out expectations and preferred means of communication, from the outset will be vital.

Management of the project – It is not only the final plan that is important in business planning; it is also the management of the planning process.

Group meetings should be held regularly and in a timely manner. If necessary and possible, they will include the group mentor and academic supervisor, yet it is appreciated that availability may prevent this. Group members should take turns to act as Chair of a meeting and their role is to:

  • Liaise with mentor and supervisor if required to set meeting date and
  • Ensure all group members know in advance when and where meeting will be
  • Set an agenda for the meeting, which will include an update on progress and an action
  • Lead the discussion to ensure that all members are involved and able to make an
  • Take an accurate record of the meeting and circulate to all group members, mentor and (It is important to retain a copy of these minutes as you may wish to refer back to, or append, them in your self-reflective report.)


The brief for your project will depend upon the sponsoring company. The project brief will be agreed between mentor, student group and approved by the academic supervisor. The brief provided by the company mentor will vary but should address a venture growth agenda. Frequently this will focus on expanding the existing operations and addressing strategic limitations that are common among successful start-ups where key entrepreneurial staff are busy with the operational details.




Roles of Students

In this module we expect that students will:

  • Be fully responsible for the completion of all assessed elements of this
  • Take initiative in all communications and follow-up with both your mentor and academic
  • Arrange the initial meeting and presentation with your mentor and academic supervisor at the dates/times that are mutually agreeable.
  • Keep your supervisor updated in all communications and follow-up actions with your
  • Ensure that the project is undertaken and completed in a professional manner and in keeping with the ethical requirements of CARBS.
  • Inform the supervisor if any problems arise.


Roles of Supervisor


  • Provide guidance and support to their student groups in completing the various assessed elements of this module. Although, of course, supervisors will not do the actual work, which should be undertaken by the student
  • Assessing the student groups’ work. First marking all elements. Linking to the above point, supervisors should not be getting the impression they are marking their own work! Please note that these marks will only be released once the exam board has sat (and will most likely be provided only on your final transcript). Second marking will be completed by the Module
  • Passing on guidance based on their ‘considerable experiences’ with group work. For instance, most supervisors will say: conflict is natural when you put together a group of people to achieve a common It is not to be feared, unless is it genuinely dampening creativity and stopping the achievement of group objectives.


Processes and outputs

Table below outlines the processes (who, what, where, and when) and outputs of the New Venture Plan module including, importantly, the dates and deadlines. In the following the processes and outputs will be discussed. In summary, the New Venture Plan module consists of five elements four of which are formally assessed:


1. Group proposal (team), 15% of the total mark.

  1. Group report (team), 40% of the total

3. Group presentation (team), 10% of the total mark.

  1. Individual Self-reflective report 35% of the total



Group proposal (1,500 words excluding appendices)

An initial meeting is held between the student teams and the mentor to discuss the brief and to agree on the new venture to be addressed. This meeting should take place shortly after the kick-off session, or during that session if viable. The academic supervisor should be present at this meeting, at least in part, to ensure that the idea is appropriate and feasible.

Following the initial meeting with your mentor, you and your team will develop a new venture plan proposal. The report should be named: Group Proposal_Group X where X should be substituted with the number of your group). Please note on the front page the


names and IDs numbers of the students in the team, as well as the names of the team and mentor.

Your supervisor (in the first instance) and your mentor (in the second instance) will provide you with feedback on your new venture outline proposal.

If during the course of your project you decide to collect any primary data (for example, conducting market research or conducting interviews, etc) you must obtain ethical approval before you commence any research involving people. Please ensure your group gets the ethical form signed by your supervisor as soon as possible. We refer to Appendix A that you will need to fill out and submit: for questions, please ask your supervisor.


The group proposal could be structured to include an executive summary to outline the business opportunity or gap in the market, how the proposed business will fill this gap, company mission and objectives, description of the business model, how it will create a sustainable competitive advantage, current business status and future requirements for growth. It can also include an industry analysis (industry description including attractiveness,

i.e. growth, mature, or in decline, target market and competitor analysis). Depending on the nature of the project you may want to consider including a marketing overview (product feasibility and concept testing, pricing strategy, channels of distribution and advertising), an operations overview (method of production or service delivery, business partnerships, quality control, customer support) and an overview of financial projections, sources of additional finance, payback and exit strategy.



Group report (10,000 words)

Following the new venture outline proposal, you and your team will analyze the new venture idea, design a strategy venture growth, and present the proposed venture plan at a formal presentation to your mentor and supervisor.


For the main thrust of the New Venture Plan’s period of running, you and your team will be focusing on the group report itself. The group report can be structured in a way that suits the problem, which is your team’s prerogative. But possibly it should include:

  • A brief summary of the overall project and the main objectives of the project;
  • Background of the organization—brief history of your organization and highlight any important information related to this specific project;
  • Literature review and research (subject to ethical approval);
  • Situation analysis applying appropriate analysis tools;
  • Description of the proposed solution—STP, marketing mix strategy, communications mix strategy, long-run strategies versus short-run tactics, Covid-19 precautions, ;
  • Action plan including key deliverables and contingent research and related activities (i.e., what), resources (i.e., who), timescales (i.e., when), and key dependencies (i.e., budgets and other challenges to face);
  • Measurable effects/ evaluation, including an explanation of expected results and effect of the How will the organization measure any success?
  • Concluding note that demonstrates the main objectives of the project are


Please note that while groups are expected to produce a viable/ practical project, the work needs to be academically rigorous. For example, the supervisor will require a discussion of the chosen methodology and methods, as well as the provision of full referencing in the report, and you should balance this with the practical slant. Although there is no actual client,


the report should look pragmatic and actionable. This balancing act is very important and may take you some time to perfect.


The word count for the group report is 10000 words (excluding references and appendices). Please ensure that the work is submitted by a single student in a single PDF or Word file (i.e., including appendices).


The report should be named: New Venture Plan Report_Group X where X should be substituted with the number of your group). When submitting the report, please also note on the front page, the names and ID numbers of students in the group, as well as the names of the organization and supervisor. The document should be written in double-spaced font. Students should retain normal conventions in report writing, such as numbering sections, supplying a contents page, abstract, bibliography, etc.



Group presentation (20 minutes) (on a mutually agreed date in the Presentation week) Your presentation, lasting no more than 20 minutes should cover the main objectives and outcomes of the project. Questions and answer session will follow the presentation. You must keep to time and you will be cut after 20 minutes. You should state clearly what the agreed strategy was in terms of your original venture plan proposal. Where variances from the agreed strategies have taken place, you must support this with a valid and reasoned argument, supported by academic literature and/or primary/secondary research. Finally, please remember that this is supposed to be an exercise and therefore all members of the team must contribute. Your supervisor and mentor will be present and provide you with feedback on your presentation.


Individual Self-reflective report (2,000 words)

The above team phase is followed by an individual phase the outcome of which is a self- reflective report. The individual report must be submitted electronically to your supervisor and PG Hub in the form of a PDF file. No exception will be accepted unless with a doctor’s note. The report should be named:  Self-reflective report_Student X where X should be substituted with your full name. Please note on the front page your own name and ID number, as well as the names of the team and mentor.


You are to submit it through Learning Central. (Please refer to Appendix B for guidance)


The individual report is your reflection on the project as a whole. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that two reports will be the same. You should therefore not co-operate with other team members whilst writing this report. You should use your diary (see shortly) to help you; you should not need to submit the diary, it is an aide memoir only (but keep a copy of it until you have received the final grade for the module). You may also wish to refer back to your participation in project meetings using the documented minutes. These may be included in an appendix if their content is particularly relevant. The report should include a critical analysis of issues such as the following:

  • Team dynamics: How did you decide on your team? How did you work within the team;

e.g. were you the leader or the ‘ideas person’? What about other team members? Were you able to identify their characteristics? Were any team roles missing; if so, how did the team cover these roles?


  • Leadership styles: what style did you adopt? What about the other team members? Did these styles work? Reflect on issues such as planning and execution of the tasks identified, team cohesion, and team
  • The role of the
  • Reflections on what you have learned from the point of view of the process Are there any things which you would change in terms of your own contribution to team dynamics and leadership?
  • An analysis of your own level of knowledge at the beginning of the project and how this changed during the How and what did you learn?
  • An analysis of what you have learned and how this could be used in future situations.
  • How did you work with others? Were you professional, ethical, and supportive of other team members?
  • What were the consequences of your actions/inactions?
  • Demonstrate how your actions were guided by research, previous knowledge/experience, and ethical practice.
  • How will the experiences gained in this project be carried forward to your future career development?


The format of the individual report could look like the following:

  • Introduction and explanation of the aims and objectives of the report
  • A reasoned, ordered, and critical account of your learning including key theoretical, conceptual and applied learning points.
  • An analysis of the learning process and how it relates to your existing understanding with a critical evaluation of new learning.
  • Demonstration of how the new knowledge has developed you as a person and your professional practice. How might this be used in your professional practice? How might this be used in a work situation? How could the learning be restructured to be more efficient and effective?


However, it is for you to come up with a structured reflective report that addresses in a coherent, intelligent manner the areas discussed above. Figures and tables are usually good means of organising and presenting lots of condensed materials in an orderly fashion; such figures and tables can evidence much reflection, analysis, etc. If you have any queries with regard to the individual report, please contact your supervisor.

Remember that a critical analysis will require you to underpin your reflections and ideas with academic literature, and must, of course, be fully referenced. This report is about you and your part in the team; it is not a list of what you did in terms of the project.




Throughout this project you will need to keep a diary. This is in order to help you construct your individual report, which is a piece of reflective writing. To be able to reflect on your contribution to the project you will need to regularly review your own contribution to the project. What have you learned? How did you learn?

Use the diary to record your meetings. Record decisions made, who has been tasked with which task(s), what are the priorities? Also, make notes on how the team dynamics are working. Is everyone contributing? Are each individual’s strengths being used? As each member of the team takes the leadership role, work out your and their leadership styles. Did this style work? Were they effective as leader or did someone else step in?


Diaries should not be used in a negative fashion. For each of your diary entries you should analyse facts including the following ones:

  • Reflection: for example, think about your own individual contribution to each meeting/task/phase of the project. Is the team pulling together? Is the project manager leading the team well? Are you all sure of your commitments? Are there areas of contention?
  • Evaluation: for example, evaluate how the team dynamics are working. If the team is working as a coherent team, can you identify why? If not, why not?
  • Evidence: support your reflection and evaluation with academic



Do not throw away marks with poor style. We would like to give you good marks so please make this possible by a clear writing style, with good use of English language, grammar and punctuation. Earning high marks should not be a mystery. You are asked to present a new venture plan which you and your team theoretically could follow and to reflect critically over your experiences from having been involved in the new venture plan module. Therefore, be sure you have read about and understood the key issues, so you can put them in your own words, but you still need to reference where the ideas come from. Putting things in your own words helps to show you understand. Anyone can copy something, but that does not mean he has gained any knowledge. Show you have a depth of knowledge. We give credit for your own reasoning, but not for your slavishly borrowing what you have read.

Give your work structure. Start with a title and follow this with an introduction that explains briefly what you are going to do. Your main body of work should build up your argument and present ideas and evidence in a logical sequence. Make it easy for the reader to follow by having clear organization. It will help you to do this if you map out the order of issues you are going to deal with in the new venture plan report or in the self-reflective report. Often, this is best done once you have finished your initial reading. It will help to suggest other areas you may need to read up on, too. To help you we have given some hints at how you could structure your reports.

Try to make it easy for the marker to reward you by understanding what he/she is looking for. Then you can ask yourself the hard question: have you delivered a suitable answer? Continuing from this, please avoid spelling errors and grammatical errors; an assignment will be downgraded if such mistakes appear. You may want someone to proof read your assignments. Therefore, please consider the possibility of having someone to read through your assignment in draft form in order to detect any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, typing errors, or confusion in your use of language. Careless work will never achieve top marks, and good presentation can help a strong argument to be understood more easily.

The work must be word-processed. Also, the document must be written in Times New Roman, font 12, and all margins must be of 2.5 cm. The text should be justified and double spaced. If the reports do not adhere to these standards it will not be assessed!

Again, please remember your marker will be looking for a sustained and developed argument that reflects on your capabilities to offer structured criticism in an academic style. You will gain credit for using up-to-date thinking to support your arguments. Finally, if you can finish a good working draft a few days before the hand-in is due then this means you can return to it after a break of a day or two to proof and polish the work with a fresh view of the script.




Referencing is one of the crucial areas that all students must understand and use in their academic work. Referencing means acknowledging the information sources you have used and proves that you are not attempting to pass the work of others off as your own. It is important to reference your work as this will give your work academic credibility; demonstrate how your work links to your subject area; and prevents accusations of stealing other people’s ideas or words, known as plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the use and presentation of somebody else’s work as though it were your own. This includes plagiarism of another student’s or colleague’s work, from a textbook, from the Internet, from a journal, or from other sources. If in doubt, reference it! The consequences of providing too many references are far less severe than that of not providing them at all or incorrectly.

Academic dishonesty and the use of unfair means are a very serious offence and will be penalized accordingly. Being found guilty of academic dishonesty may have a serious effect upon your academic progression; it may also result in a university warning, or it may result in your expulsion from Cardiff University.

The University has very strict guidelines that are designed to prevent students gaining an unfair advantage by copying all or part of the work of others, by allowing all or part of your own work to be copied, or by collaborating together in preparing all or part of an assignment. The University mandates penalties for all of the parties involved ranging from cancellation of any marks for the test or assignment concerned, to possible exclusion from attendance at lectures, and even to failure in the module and suspension from the University.

The important thing here is to draw a line early in the process. Feel free to discuss things with each other at an early stage (e.g., to clarify issues of confusion, to discuss the nature of the reports, etc.), but once you sit down to actually prepare, write, and format your team or individual reports, you must do so on your own (or in the team). It is only fair to other students (teams) that there should be harsh penalties for students who collaborate and submit identical, near identical, or substantially similar work—after all, such students are, in effect, each only doing a portion of the overall work that is being required of other students. In short, we will not tolerate plagiarism or free riding—and will punish those students who violate these rules of the game.

If you are unsure about referencing or plagiarism, please seek advice from your supervisor. Students should do this before commencing work. Students should bear in mind that their supervisors are not responsible for checking their work for plagiarism or unfair means before the work is submitted!


Referencing system

Credit must be given when using the work of other people, for example if you are quoting somebody else’s work (using their exact words), mentioning, or citing their work, or paraphrasing (summarizing some else’s work in your own words). There are no exceptions to this rule! Failure to acknowledge the sources you have used in writing your report will result in an allegation of the use of plagiarism being made against you. If an allegation against you is proven, you will be issued with a University Warning for your academic conduct and issued with a penalty that could lead to failure to obtain your degree. Remember: the University takes the issue of plagiarism very seriously. Any form of the use of unfair means to gain advantage over your fellow students is dishonest and unacceptable. Take the time to learn how to reference correctly using the information and guidance available to you. It will be time well spent if it avoids allegations of plagiarism being made against you that may result in your programme of study being terminated.

Although the report is in the form of a business document, the source of all secondary data and any theoretical material still needs to be referenced appropriately. CARBS’ preferred


referencing style is the Journal of Marketing system. You therefore are strongly advised to familiarize yourself with this system and to use it consistently in any piece of work that you produce for an assignment.



In the Table below, you will find the broad criteria that we will follow when marking your work and presentation. Please note that these are broad criteria only. We refer to Appendix C where you will find the actual assessment sheets we will be using.



70% or above Distinction

Exceptional clarity, excellence of presentation, mastery of the course material, and originality of argument, with a clearly stated and well- argued approach, showing an interdisciplinary knowledge. Extensive referenced use of publicly available data/resources.

60% – 69% Good Pass

Work of good quality showing perception, critical insight and conceptual analysis. A considered argument marshalling a considered direction with well-selected evidence.

55% – 59% Moderate Pass

A pass standard at a higher degree level, showing knowledge, understanding and application to the question topic.

50% – 54% Marginal Pass

This work is nearly, but not quite, of a sound Masters standard, demonstrates knowledge and understanding appropriate for the topic but of limited scope or shorter in length than is necessary.

45% – 49% Compensatable Fail

Some use of relevant evidence to tackle the question, even though treatment may be one-sided or scanty. Marks in the range 45-49 may be considered as a compensatable pass subject to overall performance described in the University regulations.

44% or less Fail

General lack of understanding of the question, irrelevant content, rudimentary attempt at discussion without a relevant discussion or argument.

0% Non-submission (and one of several potential penalties for plagiarism).


Also, a caution of overlong reports: Managers often are required to submit reports or tenders for work that are within a set word limit. We want all students to develop their writing skills so that they are able to write to a particular brief. The reports you are asked to write provide an opportunity for developing these important skills.

The reports all have a set word length as this enables students to develop their writing skills and demonstrate that they can present their work in a clear and concise manner. It also means that all students taking this module are working toward the same specific goal. This means that individual students do not gain a potential advantage by handing in an over-long


report which contains more detailed arguments. All reports set must specify the target length of work students are to submit. It will be assumed that this length excludes footnotes, bibliographies, diagrams, and appendices. Beware, however, that moving substantial amounts of text to appendixes to avoid word count will be spotted and marked accordingly.


Students going over the word limit will be penalized as follows:

  • 10%–20% over the word limit: a 20-mark reduction.

·       21% or more over the word limit: a mark of zero.