04-800-E   Foundations of Entrepreneurship

Location: Africa

Units: 12

Semester Offered: Fall

Course description

Entrepreneurship in a broad sense consists of developing a product or service for a paying market, accepting risk in order to profit. This often includes the intention to scale (whether as its own business, licensed to an existing business, etc.). This course gives an introduction to the practice of entrepreneurship and focuses on its earliest stages: identifying opportunities and needs, researching and quantifying markets, and developing a marketable and scalable solution. Important in this process is testing and showing which customers will pay for the solution and what revenue models will fit the customers and the business. The course will help students develop a value-creation and business mindset, while its lessons may also be useful for developing non-profits and other entities/groups.

Learning objectives

Students will learn and practice entrepreneurial ways of thinking and identifying needs in a market of interest. They will learn how to look critically at existing companies and their business models, perform customer discovery, evaluate customer needs, and construct a lean model canvas for developing a product/service concept into a profitable business. Students will be introduced to introductory topics in accounting, unit economics, and financing/investment options for early-stage businesses. Students will learn how to pitch a startup concept and construct an initial pitch deck to engage potential customers and investors.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Perform market research based on a selected customer category
  • Identify B2B and B2C business models being used by established companies
  • Complete customer discovery surveys and interviews to gauge customer needs, interests, and willingness to pay for different solutions
  • Apply lean startup methodology in developing a business concept, including the pursuit of a minimum viable product that demonstrates product/market fit
  • Put together a lean canvas model for a product, service, or business concept
  • Identify and set up the three primary financial statements: profit and loss (or income) statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement

Content details

Basic microeconomic and accounting concepts will also be covered for use in early-stage businesses. This course focuses on revenue-driven business models.




Jesse Thornburg