Entrepreneurs must take many steps to start up their own businesses. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sponsors a competition that takes two new entrepreneurs through these steps. In this lesson you will learn how entrepreneurs develop a business plan; you will also learn about potential risks and profits involved in starting a business.


Business ManIn this lesson, you will listen to an audio file about MIT's Business Plan Competition. While listening, you will use an interactive note-taker to record supporting details about three of the story's main ideas. Then, using your notes, you will answer questions related to the story.


Activity 1

Listen to the Marketplace audio file about MIT's Business Plan Competition Play from 13:51 through 17:40.

While you are listening, use the Note-Taker to record supporting details about three main ideas. These are the three main ideas you will focus on today:

  • Competition Structure
  • Ancora Pharmaceuticals' Structure and Business Plan
  • Questions Asked by Judges and Venture Capitalists

As you listen to the segment, record any words you don't know or words that may be important economic terms.

Then listen to the audio file (from 13:51 to 17:40) again to gather additional supporting details and possible definitions of the vocabulary words, using context clues, and record the details and definitions in your note-taker.

Finally, you will be asked a series of questions related to the story.

Activity 2

Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration's Teen Business Link to learn some of the key elements entrepreneurs must consider when planning to start a new business.

Make a list of the four core questions a business plan must answer; then listen to find out whether the MIT students were asked or were able to answer those questions.


By the conclusion of this lesson you should be able to identify at least three main elements of Ancora Pharmaceuticals' business plan that helped Ancora win the competition. You should also be able to identify risks and rewards that entrepreneurs face. Share your ideas with your classmates in a brief discussion.


1. Turn in your note-taker. Your work should reflect an understanding of the risks and benefits that entrepreneurs must consider when starting up a business.

2. Listen to the audio file (from 13:51 to 17:40) again and discuss the following questions with classmates:

  • What are the main components that a business plan must address in order to be successful?
  • What was it about the Ancora Pharmaceuticals' business plan that made it attractive?
  • What risks will the entrepreneurs face when starting Ancora Pharmaceuticals?
  • How do entrepreneurs contribute to a market system?
  • Why are entrepreneurs vital in keeping innovation going?

THINK ABOUT IT: What do you think motivates entrepreneurs?


Learn more about what it's like to be an entrepreneur by completing the following two lessons:

'Business Ownership: How Sweet It Can Be!'

'The Entrepreneur In You'

Use the Internet to look for business information about Ancora Pharmaceuticals. The winners of the competition stated that they would open their business in the summer of 2002. Did they find investors? Have they continued the business successfully?