This course is intended for students who are interested in starting new entrepreneurial businesses. It is a tactical and hands-on class that covers the nuts and bolts of starting a company, with a lesser emphasis on investing in entrepreneurial ventures. Course material is organized around the milestones and phases that entrepreneurs must complete in pursuit of building their business. Students will learn how to raise seed funding, compensate for limited human and financial resources, establish brand values and positioning, secure a strong niche position, determine appropriate sourcing and sales channels, and develop execution plans in sales, marketing, product development and operations. The emphasis is managerial and entrepreneurial, essentially a working model for starting an enterprise.
Paralleling the course content is the YourCo "game" in which teams of four to five students simulate building a new venture through the first 18 months of the life of a startup. At the beginning of the class, teams describe a product or service they would like to bring to market, determine the necessary seed funding amount, and outline current staffing and development status. Throughout the quarter, students explore the critical activities required to engage customers, build their product or service, scale operations and build teams. Each week, teams have specific written deliverables for their "company" based on the course material. Assignments include identifying key hires, choosing an initial target customer, executing a marketing campaign, executing a sales process to acquire customers, identifying important strategic partners, and determining next round funding requirements. "Game" points are awarded based on feasibility of actions, creativity of solutions, and adherence to seed budget constraints. The course content and structure is applicable to all types of businesses, whether B2B or B2C. Class projects range from software and digital solutions, to consumer products, to services, to industrial applications.
Cases are also used to illustrate the challenges that entrepreneurs face when building their companies, and are written specifically for this class to illustrate and reinforce course content each week. Through these case discussions, students will put themselves in the shoes of the entrepreneur and analyze how to navigate difficult circumstances under extreme resource constraints.
Through class lectures, "game" assignments, and real world cases, the course covers such topics as building a start-up management team; identifying target customers; inexpensive promotion/advertising techniques; professionalizing a sales process; hiring initial employees, and leveraging strategic partners. Emphasis is placed on marketing and sales for new enterprises, because this is a major area of entrepreneurial weakness.
NOTE: WEEK 1 CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING ADDING THE COURSE BUT DO NOT YET HAVE A SEAT, YOU MUST ATTEND THE FIRST CLASS IN ORDER TO REGISTER DURING DROP/ADD. PLEASE EMAIL ME FOR ZOOM LOGIN INFORMATION IF YOU AREN’T YET REGISTERED BUT WANT TO ATTEND CLASS 1.