Simulated Ventures

Two Babson professors develop simulation to train students to ask better questions

HEIDI NECK, a professor of entrepreneurial studies at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts, and Anton Yakushin, a Babson alumnus and technology entrepreneur, have launched an educational technology company called VentureBlocks, which will provide content designed to be integrated into college courses in entrepreneurship. Its first product, “The Nanu Challenge,” was released in January.

The Nanu Challenge is an immersive, self-guided 3-D role-playing simulation set in a fictional town called Trepton. Students play the role of an entrepreneur who, in the process of exploring a potential business opportunity, must interview potential customers to identify their needs.

Within the simulation, students learn the value of asking good questions and the ability to handle rejection, with scores for top players displayed in real time on a leaderboard. Instructors can customize the game’s objective to suit what they want to teach.

Neck and Yakushin tested the game in two Babson courses—Entrepreneurship & Opportunity and Marketing for Entrepreneurs. “We feel intro-level entrepreneurship is the sweet spot for the simulation,” says Neck.

To request a free demo, visit