The Business Model Canvas was initially proposed by Alexander Osterwalder[4] based on his earlier work on Business Model Ontology. It has become the go-to tool for startup companies and established businesses when evaluating the potential of bringing a new technology to market. The National I-Corps program and the Innovation Institute’s First Gear curriculum that focuses on the development of the Business Model Canvas for University technologies is also modeled after the work of Steve Blank and his Lean Startup Methodology. There are a multitude of resources and information available to learn more about this method.

If you have questions about creating a business model canvas for your technology, the Innovation Institute is available to help.

The nine elements of this BMC are outlined below.

Value Proposition

A succinct, targeted statement summarizing the commercial value of your innovation and convincing potential industry partners to license your innovation. We call that statement, which will become your key marketing tool, the value proposition.

You will use the value proposition to position the business opportunity for your innovation—whether online, in scientific journals, at conferences and technology showcases, at industry partnering meetings, or through other interactive venues. Participating in the Innovation Institute’s commercialization programs will help you to develop your value proposition as well as cultivate marketing opportunities.

  • What value do you deliver to the customer?
  • Which one of your customer’s problems are you helping to solve?
  • Which customer needs are you satisfying?

Customer Segments

This is the process of evaluating the different groups of companies or individuals that will find value from the innovation. The groups are assembled by understanding how their needs differ, what distribution channels are employed to reach them, their profitability, etc.

  • For whom are we creating value?
  • Who are our most important customers?


  • Through which channels do we reach each of our customer segments?
  • Which work best?
  • Which are most efficient?

Customer Relationships

  • What types of relationship does each of your customer segments expect you to establish and maintain?

Revenue Streams

  • For what value are your customers really willing to pay?
  • For what do they currently pay?
  • How are they paying?
  • How would they prefer to pay?
  • How does each revenue stream contribute to overall revenue?

Key Activities

  • What key activities do you need to undertake to deliver on the five areas above?

Key Resources

  • What key resources do you need to deliver on the first five areas above?

Key Partners

  • Who are your key partners?
  • Who are your key suppliers?
  • Which key resources are you acquiring from partners?
  • Which key activities do partners perform?

Cost Structure

  • What are the most important costs inherent in your business model?
  • Which key resources are most expensive?
  • Which key activities are most expensive?