STARTUPS AND INNOVATION

Module 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Startups

This discusses what it means to be an entrepreneur. Students will learn about various elements of entrepreneurship and how careers in entrepreneurship can unfold. They will understand the types of career opportunities for entrepreneurs, which can include starting your own business, working for a startup, or being an agent of change in a large organization. Part of this is related to the entrepreneurial mindset, which the module explores in depth. It also covers how entrepreneurship and the spirit of it are woven into American history.

Module 2: MVP and Product Market Fit

In this module, students will learn about how to come up with business ideas and the steps it takes to implement them. It will explore the concepts of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Product/Market Fit – both essential to any successful startup. Students will explore the importance of listening to feedback and pivoting to meet the demands of the target customer.

Module 3: Business Models

Every entrepreneur will make a lot of important decisions as they launch a startup. One of the things to consider is the type of business to have. This module will explore products, services, and platforms. It will also discuss the B2B and B2C business structures and the differences that each brings to a business in terms of marketing, pricing, and customer base. Students will learn about "as a service" models like SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and BaaS. Various industries make up a part of the economy like construction, energy, human resources, and IT services. The module will also examine emerging sectors like cybersecurity, biotechnology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

Module 4: Competition

Competition may seem like an ugly word. Essentially, it's indicative of someone who's after the same things you want. However, it's also an opportunity. It's a chance to do better, to work harder, and to perfect your products, services, and operation so that your entire business is better. This module will cover differentiation, which is how to distinguish from what your competition is doing. It will explore the importance of understanding an audience and working to solve their problems with your products and services. Students will learn about how to complete a competitor analysis to identify what your competitors are doing right and what they are not. It's a way to improve your own business by capitalizing on where they are lacking. We will also discuss the importance of market research and big companies don't always win!

Module 5: Disruptive Innovation

It can be challenging to understand what is meant by disruption and disruptive innovation since the words seem to be everywhere. In this module, we'll break down the meaning and the components of what disruption is and what it is not. We'll discuss the concept of innovation and why it's important for any business. Students will learn about how startups have advantages over big companies when it comes to innovation and disruption. We'll also cover pricing your product correctly and what can happen if you don't.

Module 6: Building a Team

As much as a visionary may want to do things on his or her own, it's just not possible to do everything and do it well. That's the key to this module. It's not about, "Can I do everything myself?" It's about, "Why would I want to do everything myself?" When you are part of a team, a true team that works collaboratively to solve problems and seek answers, it is a special thing. You bring your uniqueness to a team. So does every other person. A visionary may be the one with the idea, but the team is the one that will realize the vision and see the company through to success. In this module, students will learn how to network and build a team. It will also explore how to build and foster a startup’s culture.

Module 7: Marketing a Startup

In this module, we'll be talking about marketing for a small business. This can look a lot different than what big companies are doing and may include things you haven't considered before. Students will learn about how to turn your company into a brand by employing strategies that can work with small startup budgets. We'll discuss why it's important, even in the very early stages of development, you start thinking about how you're going to market your company, products, and services. We'll cover some of the roadblocks that small businesses can experience when competing with larger, more established companies and products. You'll learn about social media marketing and how to put it to work for you. We'll discuss the best ways to make decisions for your business.

Module 8: Writing a Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is how an entrepreneur communicates his or her vision to potential investors. If you have a rich relative who can fund your startup until it is profitable, great! If not, seeking money from potential investors is an important step in the startup journey. This module will outline the key components of a start-up pitch deck, highlighting the key numbers and terms that investors will expect to see.

Module 9: Raising Capital

If you've seen the TV show Shark Tank, you'll know that selling an idea to investors is not an easy task! Fortunately, that is only one (long-shot) way to raise money for your startup. There are a variety of sources of capital that are possible when starting or growing a business. This module will cover the pros and cons of traditional and new sources of capital. There are also some key terms and principles that are important to know when going into debt or selling a stake in your company to an outside investor.

Module 10: Possibilities and Opportunities

Are start-ups confined to just for-profit technology-focused companies, based in Silicon Valley? Absolutely not! There is an endless number of possible ideas to pursue in entrepreneurship. This module will introduce students to social, impact, and non-profit ventures. Students will discover these opportunities and how they are different from traditional startups. The module will also explore harvesting strategies, as well as the career path of the serial entrepreneur.

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Course Description:
Students hear a lot of contradictory advice in life. On one hand, they may hear something like “Follow your dreams. Pursue your passion and the money will come!” On the other hand, they may hear something completely opposite, like “Most startups fail! It’s much safer to get a safe, steady job.” So which side is right? Given the massive changes to the economy and society, the skills of entrepreneurship are going to be critical in building a lasting career. The entrepreneurial mindset of searching for opportunities, creating value, and solving pain points will always be valuable. And this mindset applies not just to starting a business, but in any organization that someone is a part of: school, established companies, or non-profits. In this course, students will explore how to use this mindset to create the next world-class startup.