Introduction to Entrepreneurship (70-415)

Note: I’m making these materials available for use by the community. See below for more details on attribution.

Course Materials: 

    Midterm Group Project Packet
    Final Group Project Packet 

Goals of the Course

Entrepreneurs are a vital part of our economy.  They recombine ideas in novel ways, and take advantage of change, allowing our economy to adapt quickly to new situations. This course provides an introduction to entrepreneurship and innovation for undergraduate students. No business background is required and none will be assumed. Specific goals include:

  1.  Exposure to the entrepreneurial mindset
  2.  Acquisition of skills required to assemble effective teams, identify good ideas, develop those ideas, and communicate your ideas to the wider world
  3.  Knowledge of the latest research behind innovation, and the current questions facing academics and policy-makers

By the end of this course, you will have the skills and knowledge required to bring a new idea to fruition. These skills and tools will allow you to function as creative innovators in whatever career path you choose. 

Course Details

This course will be different than many you have taken. Class periods will consist of a mixture of lecture, in-class exercises, and discussion. Two group projects will take you through the process of bringing an idea to market.  You will generate and evaluate ideas, perform primary market research, do some simple financial analysis, and pitch your idea to a group of non-experts. There will also be many smaller projects, designed to make you think more deeply about the topics we discuss in class, and give you the skills required to complete your midterm and final projects.

Learning in this class will require assigned reading and participating fully in classroom exercises and discussion. Most students find that they become very wrapped up in the content of this course. 

Note: We will be sampling a bit of many different topics this semester. This course is not intended to provide an in-depth look at any one topic (indeed, it would be impossible to do so in a single semester). For more in-depth information, you can find some course offerings here.

Course Packet (required): Table of Contents

  • A Perspective on Entrepreneurship by Howard Stevenson   (HBS 9-384-131)
  • A Special Report on Entrepreneurship, The Economist
  • Entrepreneurship by Edward Lazear
      (introduction only: pages 649-651)
  • Identifying Venture Opportunities (Stanford GSB E-232)
  • Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning by James G. March
      (introduction only: pages 71-74) 
  • Design Thinking by Tim Brown 
  • Online Reading: The Power of Design, Business Week 
  • Designing for Growth: A Tool Kit for Managers
  • Zipcar: Redefining the Business Model (HBR 9-803-096)
  • New Venture Financing (HBS 9-802-131)
  • A Business Plan? Or a Journey to Plan B? (SMR346)
  • How to Write a Great Business Plan (HBR 97409)
  • Writing a Business Plan: The Basics (HBR 5344BC)
  • The Discipline of Teams by J.R. Katzenbach and D.K. Smith
  • Making the Difference: Applying a Logic of Diversity by Scott E. Page

Additional Texts (optional):

  • Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, by Byers, Dorf, and Nelson
  • New Venture Creation, by Timmons and Spinelli
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship, by John Bessant and Joe Tidd
      -> the process of innovation
  • The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki
      -> positioning and pitching your ideas
  • Starting Something, Wayne McVicker
      -> The story of a tech startup, from early development to the crash

These materials are are available to the community under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License  (In short: you may use them, so long as you don’t profit from them and attribute them appropriately) Attribution should include my name, and an active link to the relevant page. 

In turn, I try to cite source for all of the images and examples I use that are not mine. If you use one of those, please cite don’t cite me: cite the original source! If you find something that has been mis-attributed, please contact me.