Entrepreneurship

Academic Program: 
Term: 
Winter
Credits: 
2.0
Course Description: 

The objective of this course is to equip students with analytical frameworks and tools by which they will be able to generate venture ideas and to launch new companies. Special attention is paid to the creation of companies using modern technology components and solutions. Students, who successfully complete the course, will have hands-on experience in developing business plans and presenting and marketing their ideas to external audiences.

Main topics:

  • The business and psychology of entrepreneurship: economic and social factors, success stories, serial entrepreneurs, key players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem
  • The founders and the founding team
  • Idea generation, opportunity recognition, and idea screening
  • Designing business models
  • Realistic resource assessment
  • The importance of commercialization
  • Traditional and agile business planning and development, the lean startup methodology
  • Sales and marketing
  • Financing new ventures, finding investors and working with them
  • Managing a growing business
  • Exit strategies and options
Learning Outcomes: 

This course is a practical guide to the entrepreneurial process with a focus on the creation of new high-growth ventures. In addition to a structured analysis the process and requirements of creating and growing a business, the course will build on personal stories of successful entrepreneurs who will give their views on best practices, lessons learned, etc.  

It is a core introductory course and as such it presents various frameworks and tools to help aspiring entrepreneurs (and also “intrapreneurs” at established companies) to evaluate their market opportunity, to design a business model and compile an ambitious but realistic business plan, and to present their ideas to potential investors. The course will also provide insight into the particular management challenges facing startups and growing ventures: team issues, equity and compensation, managing growth, etc.  Special attention will be paid to ways of commercialization, building effective sales and marketing strategies, and managing change when necessary.

Expected outcomes:

  • understanding the importance of entrepreneurship
  • better self-evaluation as a potential entrepreneur
  • improved capabilities for recognizing and evaluating opportunities
  • better understanding of the investors’ perspective
  • understanding and capability of using business planning structures and tools
  • seeing the logic of business growth and the complete lifecycle of the venture
  • becoming a better teamworker
  • improved capabilities for presenting business ideas and convincing investors
  • efficient communication of ideas and plans
  • objective evaluation of other people’s venture ideas and business plans
Assessment: 

The class sessions will be a combination interactive lectures, discussions and student presentations.  Lectures will be given by the instructor and several guest speakers selected according to the relevance of their entrepreneurial experience in building international and local businesses as well as investing in such businesses. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a dialogue with the guests.  

 

ACTIVITY: CLASSROOM AND MOODLE. Lecture sessions will be regularly opened by the instructor asking students to briefly summarize a recent media report on entrepreneurs and their ventures, and to offer an assessment and analysis of the venture’s strong and potential weak points. Moodle will be also used for initiating and managing discussions about entrepreneurs, ventures, investors and issues related to entrepreneurship.

 

Each student is expected to participate in the discussions in the classroom and on Moodle.  Active participation is a central part of this course and will affect your grade as well as your own and other students’ learning experience. Groupwork for class preparation is encouraged.

 

Session 7 is for visiting a company. Active participation is compulsory, more details will be provided by the instructor.

 

INDIVIDUAL HOMEWORK. Each student has to select a real venture she finds interesting and innovative and submit a written analysis of its business model. It will be a turnitin exercise, expected study length is 3 normal pages (deadline: January 15). These analyses will be made available on Moodle for all the registered students.

 

GROUP EXERCISE. In order to add direct relevance and experience to the course, students will be asked to organize teams and prepare a complete business plan of their own and present it at the end of the course as a final capstone project. Groups have to present their venture ideas on Session 3, and the last session is for the business plan presentations. Invited guests will also participate in this final event. Rules, requirements and evaluation criteria will be presented on session 1 and will be summarized on the slideshow (available on Moodle) for that session. This business planning exercise is teamwork, every student must be a member of a team. Each student has to be prepared to provide a short progress report on his team’s planning project any time when asked for it by the instructor in the classroom. The complete documentation prepared for the final presentation must be submitted directly to the instructor (via e-mail) two days before the presentation.

Grading

 

The following is the grading scheme:

 

 

Business planning exercise

Individual business model analysis

Classroom activity

Moodle discussion activity

40%

30%

20%

10%

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Grade

Assessment

Points

A

Outstanding

100-88%

A-

Excellent

87-76%

B+

Good

75-64%

B

Fair

63-52%

B-

Satisfactory

51-46%

C

Minimal pass

45-40%

F

Fail

39- 0%

Prerequisites: 

Basic knowledge of microeconomics, finance, and accounting (cost-benefit analysis, time-value of money, NPV, understanding of balance sheets, income and cash flow statements, etc.) is recommended.