Self-Designed Project: Sustainable Business

An adjunct lecturer in the Sustainability in the Urban Environment Program would be happy to serve as capstone project advisor for a team that wishes to self-design a project that involves promising technologies, applications of these technologies, or platforms (such as the blockchain, 5G, IoT etc.). There should be significant commercial applications.

In short, the project would relate to the commercializing or systems integration of new, existing, emerging and/or innovative technologies for the purpose of developing sustainable products or services or substantially improving the lives of communities. 

The team should be prepared to utilize fundamental principles of entrepreneurship: “Find a need and fill it,” “lean startups,” and the “business model canvas.” The project must have impact.  After all, the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. The focus of the project will be to take a promising technology/platform and understand how to develop a plausible business model, leveraging technologies, platforms, and/or software.

This project is geared towards a team that is interested in starting a green tech, clean tech, or green entrepreneurial business. Other project areas would also be acceptable, e.g., sustainable approaches to health, diet, healthcare, education, etc.  The team will deliver the “pitch” to raise capital for the project. The team will be required to address a variety of questions including the venture’s:

  • Vision/mission
  • Need for their product/service
  • Estimated market size
  • Go-to-market strategies
  • Value proposition/ product pricing
  • Channels of distribution
  • Technology
  • Preliminary startup costs (and source of said funds)
  • Break-even point
  • Three-year financial projections

One can imagine the breadth and variety of potential projects. In order to succeed with this type of project, the team should consist of three or four students and include both engineering/science and non-engineering/science students.   

Any team wishing to pursue this option will be asked to flush out the basic parameters of the self-designed project by the end of the Fall 2019 semester, in consultation with the potential faculty advisor.