Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

A Peek inside the World of Venture Capital

Author: Ideas with Impact

Posted on Mar 25, 2015

Category: Students , Programs

Most startups are inherently risky, which is why ventures have such a hard time taking off. But what if you could look at them through the eyes of an investor, see beyond their risk and identify the real opportunities? UNB Fredericton's faculty of business MBA candidates Joanna Nickerson and Elliot Thompson are working with the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to assess new ventures from the perspective of a venture capitalist. administration MBA and BBA students are learning exactly how to do this through a new course called "Venture Assessment" offered this winter The course is being taught in partnership with the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), who, since 2003 has invested over $15 million to help create more than 50 companies, and was ranked the third most active venture capital fund in its category by the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) in their 2014 report on investment in Canada.

"Students are playing the role of investors by performing in-depth analysis on a selected set of NBIF's portfolio companies," says Dr. Martin Wielemaker, the lead instructor for the course, "they’re getting a unique peek inside the minds of real venture capitalists."

Throughout the learning process, students are applying the theory they learn in class to a selection of NBIF's portfolio companies. Some of the activities include analysis of the global market for each venture, the competitive advantage of the product, service or technology, and the potential risks. In turn, they will develop strategies to mitigate or overcome such risks.

"It has been a great opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship from the perspective of a venture capitalist,” said Joanna Nickerson, an MBA student in her second year. “ Through the partnership with NBIF, students are able to apply their knowledge to real life ventures and gain valuable experience."

The skillset students are acquiring can be applied to more than just startups, as Calvin Milbury, CEO of NBIF explains, "Every business endeavor faces risks and barriers. Learning how to make informed decisions about risk and return is the most valuable skill the students will take away from this course."

"The startup scene is taking off in Atlantic Canada right now," observes Dr. Dev Mitra, Dean of the faculty of business administration, "developing the precise skills and expertise required to evaluate real opportunities is more relevant now than ever."

NBIF is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that invests in new growth-oriented companies and applied research activities. With over $50 million invested, plus $315 million leveraged from other sources, NBIF has helped to create over 50 companies and fund over 350 applied research projects.

The faculty of business administration focuses on providing students with a solid business education made real through intense hands-on experiential and entrepreneurial learning opportunities. Although the Venture Assessment course is offered for the first time this year, the faculty is planning to make it a regular option to students pursuing the concentration in entrepreneurship.

For more information, contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell.