04-910   Entrepreneurship Project

Location: Africa

Units: 24

Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

Course discipline 


Course description

The IT Entrepreneurship Project class is an opportunity for students to build and practice skills in developing information technology ideas into innovations that create value for a selected set of customers. Working in small teams, students work on a concrete project to bridge the gap between entrepreneurial theory and practice.

This highly selective course combines both independent team study and working with technical and professional mentors to apply concepts in the creation of a new information technology venture. Mentors can include faculty members as well as appropriate individuals from industry.

This course will also involve collaboration with the CMU-Africa Industry Innovation Lab (IIL), corporate, and/or other organizations in the domain that will provide project support and feedback. The natural outcome of this project could be the continuation of its development in the IIL, with possible funding opportunities to create a startup at CMU-Africa.

Prior to being admitted into this course, a team of a minimum of two students is required to submit a project for a new venture to be approved by CMU-Africa Entrepreneurship faculty. If approved, the team and a faculty advisor under the guidance of the course instructor will create and execute a semester-long development plan.

Learning objectives

  • Professional ethics
  • Working as a team member
  • Understanding all angles of a startup: people, technology, finance, and legal
  • Engaging with potential customers
  • Identifying a problem, developing and assessing alternative solutions
  • Developing a work plan to implement, deploy, and assess a quality solution on time


  • Acquire and assess the requirements of customers
  • Make effective trade-offs in a project to realize a product that satisfies the customers’ needs
  • Define roles and tasks within a team and carry out a team project effectively
  • Make a project schedule and adapt it throughout the project to deal with unforeseen contingencies
  • Apply research and observations on teamwork and professional skills to improve your own skills

Content details

  • Product/service design
  • Agile development methodology, scrum methodology
  • Human-centered design: requirement collection, user interface
  • Market and competitor’s data collection and analysis
  • Securing strategic partners and collaborators
  • Sales persuasion and communication with the corporate world
  • Project management
  • Case studies
  • IT scaling up, IT procurement



Jesse Thornburg