Entrepreneur Program

Innovation Generation Basics Towards an Entrepreneurial Journey in Circuits and Systems

Incremental innovations are not solving huge challenges, but they are important towards solving the big global challenges (United Nations SDG). Technical skills are important, but even more important are soft skills (e.g., empathy, problem understanding, purpose orientation, teamwork, and many more) for the future of work and employment. Many of the grand challenges can only be solved with a different mindset and through the efforts of entrepreneurs (and intrapreneurs). Entrepreneurial skills are becoming increasingly important for future education because they allow individuals to identify and capitalize on new business opportunities, and to adapt to a rapidly changing job market. Entrepreneurial skills include:

  • creativity
  • problem-solving,
  • critical thinking
  • ability to identify and manage risk 

Research has shown that entrepreneurial education can also lead to a variety of positive outcomes, such as increased self-efficacy and job satisfaction, improved financial literacy, greater creativity, and innovation.

The IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) invites you to participate in the CASS Entrepreneurial Journey in Circuits and Systems. The event is a worldwide competition where participants and young professionals will propose projects and write business plans on electrical engineering and related areas. The focus should be on proposing a start-up company to solve a real-life problem based on circuits and systems. 

Main Scope

Participants and Young Professionals will learn methodologies for innovation generation and subsequent validation, propose projects and write & pitch business plans. The focus should be on proposing an initial conceptual idea for a potential start-up venture to solve a real-life problem employing circuits and systems.


  1. The participant must be an IEEE CASS student member or a member.
  2. The participants need to complete all 6 weeks of training. Please contact the instructors in advance if you cannot attend.
    1. Considering participants from different time zones, the training courses will be recorded and post them on our course website (to be announced) in addition to realtime online meetings.

Selection Criteria

We will allocate quota to different IEEE regions and follow the first-come-first-serve policy. For those who are not selected, we will enroll them in next year’s program with high priority.

Important Dates:

2 April – 31 May 2023Registration (up to 30 participants)
1 June - 30 July 2023Phase 1 - 6-weeks Online Training on Innovation Generation for Entrepreneurship
15 August – 15 September 2023Phase 2 - Participants write papers for the BIOCAS special session, and 5 finalists will be selected
BioCAS 2023       

Phase 3 - Finalists are asked to attend the conference in person (CASS will cover partial registration, travel and accommodation). Finalists will present their ideas in front of a panel consisting of investors and business leaders

Judging Criteria

The presentation is a maximum of 10 minutes.

The following will be used for reviewing pitches (each part is worth up to 10 points):

  • The opening of the presentation contained a grabber and an outline and the closing is a strong takeaway message.
  • The actual problem and the need for solving it were convincingly presented ___/ 10 Addresses a global challenge and promises a high impact.
  • Have they identified weaknesses and threats + provided a competitive analysis
  • Is it an incremental solution (making and existing a little better) or has a disruption potential (the more disruptive the more points)
  • Has a business model been identified and is it convincing
  • The slides are attractive (*pictures and animations are encouraged)
  • The pace of the presentation was good
  • The response to questions was convincing
  • The overall quality of the presentation was ___/ 10

Registration Process 

Please email jchen@ece.ualberta.ca to participate in the entrepreneurship program. Include a brief CV, reason for joining the program and contact information in the email.

Phase 1 - 6-weeks

Online Training on Innovation Generation for Entrepreneurship 6-week lectures (teleconference meetings) to teach the attendees how to define and validate unmet clinical or health & well being related needs including PREVENTION and PREDICTION measures (Design Thinking and Lean Entrepreneurship combined with dedicated tools), agile innovation approaches, and the necessary know-how to prepare for an entrepreneurial journey towards starting a dedicated health tech venture.

Four lectures of 60-90 minutes per week, followed by 30-minutes discussions. The learnings will be complemented with an applied Innovation Methodology (Purpose Launchpad) that will give participants weekly individual team feedback (60-minute Sprint meeting per Team per Week) discussing the work of the last week, the individual project learnings, and provide visual feedback and a Backlog for next week project homework.

  • Week 1: Market Analysis: What is the problem now and in the Future? Who are the customers and competitors?
  • Week 2: Value Proposition: Product requirements, value proposition of key stakeholders.
  • Week 3: Viability: Definition of current and future Business Models, including a Marketing and commercial plan. Massive Transformative Purpose, Vision, Mission, Company / Venture Values, Sustainability
  • Week 4: Feasibility: Project and Process Management, Minimal Viable Prototypes, TRL, Experimentation, Regulatory Approval: Safety and effectiveness of products.
  • Week 5: Realistic and convincing Financial Projections: Profitability and returns. Business model developments and other relevant economic aspects.
  • Week 6: Presentation of Team Results (15 min per team). How do we convince others and raise capital, including government-backed funding and public grants?

Phase 2 – Project Idea Paper Writing 


  • Title: 
  • Authors:
  • Abstract
    1. Introduction (what is the research topic, why is the research important, etc.)
    2. State-of-the-art (what have been proposed)
    3. Proposed research ideas (your ideas for improvements)
    4. d. Conclusion

2. IEEE Format paper describing the problem, initial and revised solution, the learnings from the training, new insights, and a short verbal pitch plus 2-3 illustrations, Paper style follows IEEE Double-column Format 4 pages, refer to BIOCAS 2023 webpage for the details.

Phase 3 – Idea Pitching

Present ideas to the instructors. Dr. Jie Chen, Dr. Michael Friebe, and Dr. Fakhrul Zaman Rokhani will select the top five to attend the final competition.

List of Committees & Evaluation Panel

  1. Committee:
    1. Jie Chen, University of Alberta, Canada. BoG IEEE CASS
    2. Michael Friebe, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg + Technical University of Munich + FOM University of Applied Science, Essen, Germany + AGH University of Krakow, Poland
    3. Fakhrul Zaman Rokhani, University Putra Malaysia. VP EDUCOM IEEE CASS
  2. Evaluation panels (industry, VCs, Angel investors): To be announced