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Admission requirements



This course focuses on the most crucial aspect of the start of any new technology venture: the discovery and assessment of a suitable entrepreneurial opportunity. The emphasis is on start-ups which have their roots in university research. Through lectures, case study seminars, readings, and (group) assignments, students learn about various frameworks from economic theory, psychology, decision analysis and social science. These are applied to answer questions such as: what are the essential elements of an entrepreneurial opportunity? What factors will determine whether an opportunity is a good one? Why are some opportunities a good basis for a start-up company while others are not? How crucial is the role of patents, what can be patented and how? What may withhold a university researcher from starting his own company?
All these aspects come together in a practical group assignment: from the perspective of an investor, identify and rank opportunities in an emerging technology area created in research. In the final session students present their findings to a jury.
This course is intended for anyone interested in working in industry as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, analyst, or investor. Moreover, the course will provide an analytical background for scientists, engineers and medical doctors with an interest in understanding the industrial aspects of their academic work.
Topics covered:
The course covers a wide range of topics from economy and business, including industry structure and life cycle, knowledge and demand conditions, customer adoption, product features and pricing, increasing returns business, technology and learning curves, intellectual property and appropriation mechanisms, entrepreneurial traits, risk aversion, opportunity costs, surrogate entrepreneurship, Mertonian norms, the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship and the Simple Multi Attribute Rating Technology decision tool.

Course objectives

The overarching learning outcome is that you will be better able to search, identify and assess opportunities for starting new technology ventures. More specifically you will be (better) able to:

  • explain the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities, their origin and recognition;

  • assess the pros and cons of patenting inventions and anticipate issues that arise in acquiring and exploiting IP in a university context;

  • identify contextual factors and personal characteristics that have an impact on the discovery of opportunities and the decision to start a new venture;

  • use a decision tool and apply economic frameworks for defining and rating the quality of an entrepreneurial opportunity;

  • pitch an opportunity and make recommendations on selecting opportunities to invest in.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Detailed table of contents can be found in blackboard.

Mode of instruction

The course emphasises interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies. Students will be debriefed, in hindsight, on what really happened.

Course Load

  • 6 seminars

  • Preparation for each seminar

  • Group assignment

  • Group presentation

  • 3-hour exam

Assessment method

Final exam (40%); Group assignment and presentation (40%); Class preparation and participation (20%)
In order to pass students must have a total grade of at least a 6 (six). The final grade is rounded off to the nearest half or integer.



Reading list

A study pack with course readings and case studies can be purchased at the start of the course. More information will follow on Blackboard after registration.


You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator


Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo