Impact of ‘Oral pitching’ on Entrepreneurial Learning and Influencing Potential Investors

Authors: Mukherjee, S. and Mukherjee, S.

Conference: Institute of Small Business and Entreprenuership Conference 2009

Dates: 3-6 November 2009



Objectives: 1. The impact of oral presentation delivery and verbal and formative feedback on a students’ entrepreneurial learning.

2. Analysis of the influence of ‘oral pitching’ of LIVE project business plan on potential investors.

Prior Work: Previous literature has highlighted the importance of tangible and verifiable factors such as the personality, honesty and integrity (Feeney et al, 1999; Haines et al, 2003). Studies have indicated that an entrepreneurs’ communication skill heavily influences an investor’s decision (Mason et al, 1997; Clark, 2008).

Approach: This paper is a combination of discovery, experiential, participative and action-based approaches. Students are set problems by sponsoring business organizations which are converted into attractive business plan. They then present their concept to ‘pseudo’ investors, i.e. representatives from an international financial organization and industry experts. Using the feedback they then turn the concept into a fully developed business plan, which is presented to their sponsors.

Methodology: This research is based in the context of Kolb experiential model (1984) with emphasis on self-awareness, reflection and experiential learning. There were two separate groups – Participants and Nonparticipants. Students who participated in the project underwent six stages involving self assessment of personal maturity (PM) level and entrepreneurial (E) skill level; group presentation of market viability of the business idea; individual oral pitching of business plan; verbal and formative feedback at various stages. Assessing the scores between Stage 1, 2 and 3 to identify change in students’ E and PM skill levels using Friedman test and Wilcoxon signed rank test. Applying paired-tests on the business plan results of Participants and Non-participants to evaluate the impact of verbal and formative feedback on students’ performance. Using chi-square independence tests the following is assessed - Presentation quality effects on investment/implementation likelihood of the business plan; Impact of factors such as Market need, Financials and Operations on investment/ implementation likelihood.

Results: The results show that initially students consider entrepreneurial and PM skills less important than Technical and Management skills. This evaluation significantly changes during the stages. There is a positive change in the self-assessed scores on the PM and E skill levels selected by students between stages 1, 2 and 3 based on prior literature. The impact of oral pitching, verbal and formative feedback significantly improves participating students’ entrepreneurial understanding compared to non-participants. Oral presentation quality of the business plan has a significant association with investment and implementation likelihood unlike other variables like Market need, Financials and Operations.

Implications: Oral Presentation Skills should be a compulsory learning outcome of entrepreneurial education. Presentation feedback from ‘real-world’ professionals reduces student expectation gap and improves the likelihood of receiving funding based on the results. Value: This paper contributes to the growing body of research in entrepreneurship education by providing empirical evidence on how communication skills, personal attributes and contents of business plan improves student learning and influences investor decision making.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Suranjita Mukherjee