Coursework 1 – Essay

A 2,000 word essay.

This assignment represents 50% of the marks for the module.

NB     2,000 words is the MAXIMUM word count (i.e. no +10%).
You are unlikely to meet all assessment criteria if you are markedly under this word limit.

This piece of work will form the basis of the individually assessed coursework for the module:

Select one of the technologies / organisations listed immediately below and make an evaluation of its commercial potential.

Choose ONE of the following University Projects / Charities / Companies to base your individual essay on:

  • Good Box: Payment solutions for charities
  • Curb Hunger: Vending machines to ease homelessness / poverty



NB;DO NOT contact any of these organisations directly to seek information, a meeting, discussions etc.

For ALL Individual essay options you should evaluate the commercial potential of the organization and recommend what steps you think the “business” should take over the next 3-5 years.

You should think of your essay in the form of a business report (as if you were reporting on this topic to the Board of Directors or a potential Investor) rather than a traditional academic essay.  This is likely to impact on the report style, formatting, use of “real world” evidence (versus academic references) etc.  More information and discussion / clarification will be provided in lectures and seminars.

As a minimum, please address each of the following 6 areas in your report (although the weighting between sections does not have to be equal and you can “bundle” some sections together):

Intellectual Property: Evaluate the intellectual property position taken for the technology. If a patent has been filed, consider whether the company has freedom to operate given rival patent activity. If an alternative to patenting has been used, consider what competitive advantage the firm has over potential rivals.

Technical feasibility: Consider the ease or difficulty of developing the technology and in achieving manufacture and distribution of the product or delivery of the service. Are the projected timescales realistic and scale up plans plausible?

Societal factors: Are there particular issues such as environmental, safety or public health concerns that need to be addressed? Consider how comparable companies have addressed these issues for similar technologies.

Market Attractiveness: Consider the size and dynamics of the potential market and whether the correct target market has been selected. Discuss how the technology compares with the competition from the point of view of the ultimate customer. Consider any barriers to acceptance along the value chain from technology to market and how these can be overcome. Consider the financial viability of the venture. Is there the potential to develop a profitable business and therefore create value for potential investors?

Business Strategy: What is the most appropriate business model for this technology? Is the opportunity business to business or for a consumer market? Recommend how the company should develop or acquire the necessary skills and experience to deliver the optimum business model.

Financial Potential: Do you think that the company is pricing its product at the correct level? (if already selling).  How big is the addressable market?

Please also use the Win2 checklist and Business Model Canvas from class to suggest any additional points of particular relevance in addition to the key sections above.


Choose an organization / technology doing something which you are – potentially – interested in.

Read around the topic and use the Business Plan tools introduced in class to guide your analysis.

Essays which gain higher marks will also:

  • provide evidence of reading around the topic and show a good understanding of the key concepts
  • include relevant theory and a variety of “real world” evidence
  • utilize varied sources (which are up to date and referenced accurately and correctly)
  • critically discuss different viewpoints with arguments carefully developed and clearly expounded
  • show originality of thought
  • have good structure and a clear presentation (including introductory and concluding sections, headings etc)


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