Program for Entrepreneurs

NV2: Strategy Development

Strat. 849 & 850, I&E 750, syllabus


Jon Fjeld                        email:

Academic advisors

‪Ashish Arora                  email: 

‪Rich Burton                    email: 

Victor Bennett                  email:

Rich Burton                     email: 

‪Aaron Chatterji               email:

‪Sharique Hasan              email:

‪David Robinson              email:  

The student team will develop the core elements of a strategy for a technology or business idea. The level of detail will be suitable for a business plan document for a company seeking initial investment. The strategy shall be sufficient to serve as a foundation for a first operating plan for the company.
This course is a 2-term, 6-credit course.


The NV2: Strategy Development course requires that the student team is working on a project that has successfully completed the Opportunity Evaluation step or has been granted an exception to this step. In addition, the instructor must have approved the project.

Course content

The course is organized to allow teams to follow a structured process in doing their analysis and developing a strategy. Four major topics shall form the basis of the strategy developed for the proposed venture.


The intent of this program is to have students work on entrepreneurial ventures through a structured process. The Strategy Development stage consists of four sections.

  1. Target customers: The opportunity evaluation step will have identified a problem or need significant enough to introduce a solution through a new venture. Building on that analysis, the student team will further analyze potential customers. This analysis should deepen the team’s understanding in all the areas of analysis spelled out in the “Opportunity Evaluation Process.”
  2. Business model: The business model is a description of how the new venture plans to make money. It involves two parts: what the company will provide and how much and how the customer will pay. 
  3. Sustainable competitive advantage: Thorough competitive analysis and positioning allow the entrepreneur to determine whether his/her venture is viable and whether it may have a sustainable future. 
  4. Roadmap/milestones: The objectives form the framework for the operating plan and also determine its financing needs and strategy. The core idea in defining milestones is to identify risks and to create a plan to address risks in a logical and cost effective manner. 

More information can be found on the Dukeven website under Planning: creating a strategy.


The team will create the following deliverables:

  • A complete submission of the appropriate information using the Strategy Development Process template. The template is a Word document attached to this page (see below). Please do not edit this document other than to add your content under answer.
  • An oral presentation of the analysis and recommendations to a panel consisting of the Duke Ventures Project Advisory Committee and other investors.
  • Five milestone checkpoint documents using the templates supplied in the P4E Box folder.
  • In addition, each individual will write a comment on another team’s milestone document. I.e., each individual will be responsible for posting five comments during the course of the semester.


The instructor will grade the team based on the set of deliverables. 75% of the grade will be based on the content of the Strategy Process Document and 15% on the final presentation. 10% of the grade will be based on individuals’ contribution to the class in class discussion and comments posted on milestone documents.

Students require permission of the instructor to enroll in this course.

Course Structure & Schedule

The course is organized to allow teams to follow a structured process in building the business strategy for research projects. Five milestone checkpoints provide the structure for the class. These milestones are intended to keep the teams on track to create a complete report at the end of the course. The course schedule can be accessed from the P4E homepage.

Keys to Success:

  1. Organize: divide responsibilities / plan / track your progress.
  2. Get started early – pace yourselves – stick to your plan.
  3. Get started early on the primary market research – this will always take longer than you think.
  4. Decide what is critical to making a go/no go decision and focus on that
  5. Decide how you will make decisions in advance – don’t wait for an issue to arise.
  6. Be open and flexible – your specific idea may not be the ultimate idea.


Strategy development template

NV2 Kickoff slides

Milestone planning slides