Henning Piezunka, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise
Melanie Milovac, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

Learning to build a business from scratch


This course assists students in understanding how to convert an entrepreneurial idea into an up-and-running revenue generating business. This is achieved through the analysis of key decisions that need to be taken to get the venture off the ground, as well as a discussion of frameworks and mind-set that entrepreneurs should adopt. Students will form a venture team, develop a business idea and finally pitch the idea to a panel of real angel investors.   Historically, a number of projects have gone on to become real ventures.

This course is ideal for students who would like to start their own businesses at some point during their careers, students who intend to work with start-ups as employees, venture capitalists, consultants, fund managers as well as business developers in large enterprises.  You will finish the course with the blueprint to start a new venture.

This course is also helpful for those students who don’t know if they are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career, but want to better understand what that would entail.

Course overview

This course is designed to equip students with the tools required to set up a new business venture. Below are some of the questions the course will explore:

  • How do you develop the initial idea for a venture? How do you test an innovative idea and ensure it isn’t too early for the market, or isn’t too risky?  How can you successfully replicate ideas you have seen thrive in another market?
  • Often, the management team is the most valuable resource that the new venture has. What kind of employees should the venture attract and how do you constructively manage the predictable tensions that start-up teams face?
  • An entrepreneurial team that wants to implement a venture idea could have many different ways of entering the market and positioning the venture. How do you pick the most promising entry strategy and devise a high-growth business model?

The main pedagogical objectives of the course are:

  • Experience the process: initiate the process of launching a business by working with your team on the Venture Design for a business opportunity.
  • Acquire the tools: learn the frameworks and insights that guide and foster the creation of new ventures.
  • Meet practice: learn from the experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and early stage investors.
  • Manage your entrepreneurial career: how do you position yourself to work in entrepreneurial ventures and manage a career as an entrepreneur?

By the end of the course students will be able to develop a concept for a start-up business, design a compelling business model, recruit the necessary team, and embark with confidence on their entrepreneurial journey.