MEM 419: Technical Entrepreneurship

Quarter Offered

Summer : Tuesday / 6:30pm - 9:30pm (hybrid) ; Professor Zaretsky
Winter ; Professor Cheng
Spring ; Professor Zaretsky


419 Technical Entrepreneurship is designed to focus on the opportunities and challenges associated with starting a technology venture. The single greatest wealth creator of our generation and of every generation before us has been technology. Today, state of the art technology can be defined as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and Web 2.0. In previous generations, it was defined as the television and the internal combustion engine. In many cases, the innovator was not the entity that invented it or was best-positioned to introduce it to the marketplace.

Before the business comes the idea. The goal of this class is to evolve an idea into a complete business. We well study all phases in the development of a business. We will provide students with a toolkit to more effectively create, assess, and build ideas into businesses.

This class cannot make you into an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. It can help you better assess whether an idea is a business opportunity and how to transform that opportunity into a business. More than any time in our history, students are becoming entrepreneurs and creating companies with significant market capitalization. 419 can be a launching pad for a student to start a company or a set of learning to better assess when to become an entrepreneur or intrapreneur.

419 will initially focus on intrapreneurship-the role of entrepreneurship and innovation within larger, more established companies. We will study corporate ventures and innovation from three perspectives:

  1. As a member of the corporate venture team
  2. As the general manager of the corporate venture
  3. As upper management overseeing the venture within an organization

419 will then focus on entrepreneurship by examining newly created companies from the business idea creation stage through the growth stage. You will be asked to assume the role of the entrepreneur within these firms and tell us what you would do. This class allows you to apply those analytical tools from your more traditional courses to solve practical issues that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis.

As you already know, the best way to learn something is to actually do it. Since we cannot find companies for all of you to run, we will do the next best thing. The class project will involve putting together a business plan within small groups. This process should help students take advantage of whatever current or future business opportunities they may choose to pursue.

Course Goal

Our overall goal is to help you develop a method of thinking through the challenges you will face as either an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. The cases, class discussion and guests are designed to help put these two perspectives in place.

The most important piece of advice to take away from this class is that the TEAM OF PEOPLE you build is the most critical component to success. You need to learn how to get the most out of yourself and those you work with.

Over time, you will more than likely forget the cases along with a lot of the other things you learn here. My hope is that whether you chose the role of entrepreneur or intrapreneur, you are able to get the most out of yourself and the people you work with. You already have the analytical tools. Without effective application of those tools, you will never reach the level of success you are striving for.

Sample Syllabus