Teacher reviewing work with students

Opportunity Recognition is an important entrepreneurial skill. It involves identifying a pain point and then developing a business solution to generate value. 

It is important for an entrepreneur to see if their idea has intrinsic value. Will this idea create a profit? Will someone buy this product/service? 

A student needs to recognize if their idea or concept is new. Is it innovative? 

Discovering and creating opportunity is the #1 skill needed in being a successful entrepreneur. Study and research of existing markets is critical to see patterns and current trends.

Engaging with others helps to create a social process of creation. There is real value in bouncing ideas off of other like-minded and creative individuals.

Why is Opportunity Recognition Important?

Opportunity recognition encourages creativity. It influences innovation. It creates improvements in our lives. 

Startup Wars explains: 

When teaching entrepreneurship, it’s very important to help students find and develop the skills needed to recognize the potential in markets. They need to learn how to develop these concepts.

It is an attitude toward life itself to find a need in a market, and to positively impact lives through innovation.

Steps of Opportunity Recognition

  • Identify the Opportunity: Opportunity is a set of favorable circumstances that need to be identified. Opportunity assessment framework includes looking at the public needs, wants, and fears. How can you address and fulfill this need/want? How can you relieve their fears? What is the market opportunity, or what is market potential? 
  • Research the current solutions: A student must learn to create a market opportunity analysis by observing economic and social trends. They must learn to study and observe these environmental trends. Then, they should create customized forecasts and do analysis of the market to fund business opportunities.
  • Develop an enhanced solution (Analytical Thinking): Create a concept of a solution to satisfy an existing demand. Ask questions like: what evaluates industry attractiveness? Meet wishes by conducting analysis through use of analytical thinking. 
  • Target a specific market: Through target market selection and evaluation of business opportunities, find where this is a gap in a missing or existing market. Sometimes this is a specialty or smaller market with a true need. Define this group by location, age range, genders, income, and likes/dislikes. Narrow down to the true opportunity. 

Evaluate the value of the opportunity: Calculate the opportunity in the chosen market, then make an informed decision based on economic facts. Assess the benefits (both monetary and not) and the costs.

Final Wrap

Sprint Planning Meeting

Entrepreneurs have certain innate characteristics that help them to be successful. The #1 characteristic involves having the skill to find and match opportunities.

Students need to learn to be creative thinkers. They must learn to find the connection of current and emerging trends to a real opportunity. They must see the difference between idea and opportunity.

Developing an idea and launching it as a business concept is key. Entrepreneur students must start by finding an opportunity problem and a product opportunity gap, defining their ideal customer, developing an industry profile, recognizing the distribution channels, and lastly, choosing the best way to launch. 

Can entrepreneurship be taught? In short, yes. 

Business simulations, like those at Startup Wars, allow a student to develop the needed skills in a hands-on and like-real-life environment to become the future entrepreneurs of tomorrow. 

Visit Startup Wars for more articles on college students entrepreneurship, “starting a business” lesson plans,  and how to teach entrepreneurship. 

How to Teach Opportunity Recognition to College Students

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Charlotte Kane
Charlotte Kane Undergraduate Student, The Ohio State University

Startup Wars allowed me to understand everything that goes into starting a business in 90 days.

Darshita Bajoria
Darshita Bajoria Undergraduate Student, The Ohio State University

Startup Wars is an interactive way to learn and hone entrepreneurial skills while being a no-risk outlet. Great tool for those pursuing entrepreneurship.