04-603   ICT Entrepreneurship Seminar

Location: Africa

Units: 6

Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

Course discipline


Course description

In this course, we define an entrepreneur as someone engaged in the development of a new product (and perhaps, but not necessarily, also a new venture) under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Entrepreneurship is a key part of an economy's search for new solutions that increase customer value. Why is it a search? Because, when the conditions surrounding a contemplated new product are uncertain, the answers to key questions are not known apriori. What features are actually needed? Does the product in fact solve the problem we think it does for the users? Are they willing to pay enough for the product to make bringing it to market profitable? Ultimately, entrepreneurship is a critical part of the growth engine that improves a society's standard of living. In this course, we look at how to facilitate this search process and hopefully maximize the chance of bringing a successful new product to market.

Learning objectives

Students will learn to think more deeply about how markets operate, what creates value, and how to investigate an idea in an environment characterized by risk and the need to be profitable. In other words, they'll learn to think like an entrepreneur. They will gain an appreciation for entrepreneurship as just one part, albeit an important one, of the entire economy. They will hear first-hand from multiple entrepreneurs and learn about their personal experiences and lessons learned. 


After completing this course, students will be able to do the following:
  • Evaluate an entrepreneurial idea
  • Explain the lean startup methodology
  • Write a "Jobs To Be Done" specification
  • Create a lean canvas model for a proposed new product/venture
  • Read basic economic literature and understand the concepts being addressed: supply/demand, how prices are set, etc.
  • Create and read two of the most important financial statements: the P&L and Balance sheet

Content details

  • Basic economic principles
  • The role of entrepreneurship in an economy
  • Jobs to be Done Theory
  • Lean startup methodology
  • Crossing the Chasm and high-tech marketing
  • Basic accounting
  • The importance of intellectual property
  • Multiple guest speakers explain their entrepreneurial journey and key lessons they've learned 




Jesse Thornburg