The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

ENT/GEO/LIS/MKT 530: Researching Opportunities in Entrepreneurship & Economic Development: About the class

Syllabus, date & time

Spring 2016

Tues & Thurs 2-3:15 (probably)
location: an ITS computer classroom (TBA)

For Whom Planned

Common student comment: "I had no idea you could get information like this!"

  • Students who want to be at a competitive advantage in the classroom and the business world over those whose research skills are limited to simple Google searches.
  • Students who want to make decisions about business opportunities based on data and authoritative research, reducing the risk of failure.
  • Library & Information Studies students who want to gain a core foundation in business research sources and strategies and learn how to better measure and engage a library’s community.
  • Geography students who want to utilize industry and market data in economic development analysis.

Learn how to...

This is an active-learning, hands-on class in which you'll learn how to get data like this:

Simply Map Example

Course Description

Students will learn how to conduct the research necessary to make informed decisions for an entrepreneurial venture and to measure and assess economic development opportunities. These research skills will help you assess self-employment opportunities. Topics covered include how to benchmark the financials of private companies; identify and analyze competitors; evaluate the size and nature of industries, consumer markets, and business-to-business markets; and analyze trade data. We will examine secondary sources like government datasets, subscription databases, and authoritative free web content. Primary market research will be discussed periodically, but is not a focus of the class. Students will complete a research project based on an entrepreneurial or economic development idea of their choosing.

Topic Outline

  • Week 1: Introduction to research for self-employment opportunities and economic development
  • Week 2: NAICS & industry segmentation; narrative industry reports
  • Week 3: Industry data & mapping
  • Week 4: Competitive analysis
  • Week 5: Benchmarking financial data
  • Week 6: Demographics
  • Week 7: Consumer spending and psychographics; mapping market data
  • Week 8: Conclusion of industries, competition, financial benchmarking, and markets
  • Week 9: spring break
  • Week 10: Review & practice on industries, competition, financial benchmarking, and markets; Trade literature searching; trade associations
  • Week 11: Nonprofits;  midterm exam
  • Week 12: Social networks as research tools; trade data
  • Week 13: Synthesizing your research; capstone preparation
  • Week 14: Capstone presentations
  • Week 15: Capstone presentations

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze research needs in order to effectively and efficiently conduct business research.
  2. Evaluate self-employment opportunities.
  3. Employ a variety of business information sources and strategies.
  4. Demonstrate basic concepts of statistical literacy through efficient searching of data sets and meaningful application of data to market and industry analyses.
  5. Accurately evaluate business research.

Additional learning outcomes for graduate students:

  1. Employ a wide variety of business information sources and strategies.
  2. Demonstrate intermediate-level concepts of statistical literacy through efficient searching of data sets and meaningful application of data toward entrepreneurial and economic development decisions.
  3. Apply data from the Economic Census and international trade sources to financial, market, and industry analyses.


Business Librarian:

Steve Cramer
152B Jackson Library (ask for me at the Information Desk)
Website / Blog Page