Credits: 9

Schedule: 07.01.2020 - 02.04.2020

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Lidia Borisova,, AVP
Sami Tuomi,, AVP

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

I-II autumn (2018-2019, 2019-2020)
III-V spring (2018-2019, 2019-2020)

Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Course provides students both insight and experience in the entrepreneurial process by combining two key aspects of entrepreneurship:

  • Discovering business opportunities and creating customer value
  • Setting up and managing the organization for delivering the customer value

The pedagogy is experiential, hands-on learning which exposes students (as far as possible) to real-world challenges and overcoming them using the entrepreneurial process

EIT Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs):

  • The ability to explore and create ideas or modify existing ideas for business concepts and organizations with a customer/user-centric perspective.
  • The understanding of product/services design processes, methods and tools and the ability to apply them for the development of a new product or service concept with a customer/user-centric perspective.
  • The ability to recognize, address and suggest means to tackle diverse challenges in the process of leveraging a technology into a business.
  • The ability to perform a business concept design process (business modelling and value proposition iterative design).
  • The ability to perform a business solution planning and development process (dynamics of developing the business, organization needed to implement it, go-to-market).
  • The ability to include ethical, societal and sustainability considerations when developing a new product/technology and business concepts and models, and the required implementing organizations.
  • The ability to use (oral) communication, decision-making (strategic thinking) and leadership competencies through personal growth process while transforming new ideas into business concepts and the required implementing organizations.
  • The ability to reflect upon the applicability of used concepts, methods and tools in the context of their project.
  • The ability to work in teams and to reflect upon team dynamics, team processes and conflicts resolution.
  • The ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams and in different roles.

Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

As an entrepreneur you have two main tasks:

• Discover what your customers and users value and then create and deliver that value for them.
• Set up and run a startup organization to achieve goal number 1.

Most entrepreneurial courses treat these two aspects separately but the Startup Experience course combines them into an integrated learning experience. In this course you will become part of a small start-up team that works on discovering, validating and creating value for customers, and in parallel manages the team as if it was a real small company.
The course introduces business and organizational development in phases starting from opportunity recognition and ending with an investor pitch. Central subjects introduced in the course include:

• Opportunity recognition, creativity techniques, user-centred product/service design
• Practical use of tools for value assessment and business modeling such as VPC and BMC
• Methods and tools for customer discovery, customer validation, market and competitors analysis, evidence-based decision making and lean development
• Other business planning concepts, methods and tools (strategy, marketing, go-to-market, risks)
• Business ethics and sustainability, value based leadership and values in marketing and in building company brand
• Entrepreneurial finance concepts, methods and tools (cash flow management, financial scenarios)
• IP and intellectual assets management
• Pitching and oral communication

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

The objectives of the course and of the teams is to use good lean and agile practices to research a user need or desire, define a business (product or service, business model, pricing etc) to fulfill the need and manage the team towards successful implementation of the business.

In the course you will learn three different skill sets:

  1. Defining and validating a business based on deep customer and user insights and business testing.
  2. Developing themselves as team members, learning about their own strengths and how to apply those strengths in multidisciplinary teams.
  3. Gaining insight into the management of day-to-day operations in a small company including marketing, finance and operations. 

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The course is graded based on both team and personal performance

Team performance is measured based on for example:

  • the customer value creation process (assessed in bi-weekly pitches)
  • key company deliverables (including marketing campaign, shareholders agreement, cash flow plan, etc.)

Personal performance is evaluated based on for example:

  • COO performance (each student will act as the company COO for a specific assignment, the students performance in the assignment is based on the outcome of the assignment as well as personal reflection on the management process and learning)
  • Mid-term written exam and final oral exam

The student’s total grade is the team-grade and a personal adjustment (-1, 0 or +1 grade) based on the students personal performance.

Grading Criteria

  • Invents or finds solutions to address and solve main challenges related to course project (customer problem, functionality, business model, development, etc.)
  • Drives his project according to the dimensions of (1) customer problem/solution discovery (including in relation to the product technical development) and (2) market discovery (related to strategic thinking) in ways that are relevant for the situation.
  • Systematically uses analytical business skills to recognize, assess and/or develop business opportunities in relation to all dimensions covered in his project/study/activity: market, customers, competition, environment, human, and material and technical resources.
  • Is able to initiate and carry out design projects, achieve milestones, do problem solving, understand team roles, handle conflicts, negotiate, have good verbal, written and visual communication skills, ability to interact with stakeholders.
  • Relate the value proposed in his project/study/activity to all relevant stakeholders including producers, customers, shareholders, communities, ecological systems and policies as appropriate

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

In the course, the students work as teams. The evaluation for the course is based on overall team performance.

The team will be graded on their pitches (4) and sprint assignments (4). Each assignment will be graded with evaluation not ok, ok and good. These correspond to -1, 0 and +1. Each team starts of with a grade on 3 and the team grade is adjust either up or down based on the assignment/pitch evaluation.

In addition, the team can get a +1 grade point for a really impressive final presentation.

In addition to the team grade, each student will receive a personal grade of -1, 0 or +1 grade points compared to the team grade. The student grade is based on teacher's evaluation of the students work as COO of the team. 

The student can also get a grade of Fail, irrespective of team grade. 

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

For 9 ects, the workload is 240 hours of student work.

Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 

The expected workload of this 9 ECTS course is ca 240h, which translates to weekly workload of ca 20h during the two teaching periods of spring 2020 including the 5 hours of mandatory class time each week. There will be team deadlines on most weeks, so we recommend that you do not take another large project course while participating in this one.

Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Online materials distributed via MyCourses and EIT Digital Online Courses portal.

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

Course material is published in myCourses in corresponding section

Substitutes for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Replaces the courses 25E44000, T-128.5400 and T-106.5750 and TU-E4020 - High Growth Entrepreneurship with varying content.

Prerequisites (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

For AVP Students basic knowledge of startups from e.g. previous AVP courses, self-study or working experience. For EIT students according to general prerequisites for EIT Digital Master School programs (e.g. former attendance to the I&E Basics module).

Registration for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

WebOodi and additional application form. The number of participants will be limited. Registrations will be prioritized in the following order: The students that have the course as a mandatory part of their study program will be prioritized first. The students that are participating in the Aalto Ventures Program minor/Startup minor will be prioritized second. After this, all students are prioritized based on their application information.

For more info, please refer to Mycourses and AVP web-site

Additional information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Additional information is shared vie the course discussion forum

Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

The course runs for the two periods. Each week there are two contact sessions, one workshop and pitching session on Tuesdays 9-12 and a lecture session on Thursdays 14-16. The Tuesday session is focused on value creation, ie discovering and defining the product or service that the teams is working towards. The Thursday session is focused on operation topics such as teamwork, leadership, finance, marketing and operations.


Registration and further information