Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Startup Experience teaches students how to run an early stage, scalable startup to create social and economic value while solving a sustainability-related problem.
The course provides an entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities.
Within the course students will work on venture ideas within Sustainable Development Goals.
Learning outcomes are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. After the course, the students will be able:
• To identify sustainable and scalable business opportunities
• To pitch business ideas and ventures
• To apply knowledge about marketing, user research, idea validation, experimentation and prototyping, and financial literacy for one’s endeavor
• To work in and lead diverse teams
• To work effectively with different tools for team working and communicating remote-ly
• To take ownership and responsibility for one’s own work
• To develop self-awareness and self-management skills, including time management and personal wellbeing
• To think outside the box and be more innovative
• To cope with challenge and know how to fail & pivot after having practiced resilience in a safe environment
• To think critically and through ethical and sustainable lenses

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. The course includes mostly workshops and hands-on team assignments based on venture ideas.

Credits: 9

Schedule: 08.09.2020 - 11.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Lidia Borisova, Heidi Mikkonen

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Lidia Borisova, Heidi Mikkonen

Contact information for the course (valid 04.08.2020-21.12.2112):

For more information, contact the course assistant:

Teddy Duy Tran,, AVP

Course teachers:
Lidia Borisova,, AVP
Heidi Mikkonen,, AVP

Contact hours: 
Tuesday 13:00 - 14:00
Thursday 13:00 - 14:00 

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Experience what it’s like to found and run a startup, without actually having to set up a company. During this course you will learn the essentials of entrepreneurship: user-centered product and service design, business ethics and sustainability, opportunity recognition, business modeling, teamwork, pitching, startup finance and marketing. That is, everything you need to navigate the fast-paced and unpredictable commercial environment, or even become a founder.

    While the focus of the course is on setting up a new business as a startup, the skills you will learn are equally valuable in the context of existing companies. The course will suit a person who is adaptive, collaborative and creatively driven. Who is interested in going beyond conventional thinking practices to create effective teams and commercial value.

    During the course, students work in small start-up teams that together go from initial problem definition all the way to the final investor pitch. Teamwork is one of the main learning skills of the course and simultaneously one of the biggest challenges for students. Throughout the course students will have team dynamic clinics and reflections to support the teamwork. At AVP, students don’t just work in groups but build actual teams.

    The course takes a firm stand in preventing burnouts which is why students will also learn about time management and focus on personal wellbeing. By the end of the course, students will not only have created a new venture but also gone through the project in a sustainable way. Through different exercises, students will be able to turn wellbeing-boost lessons into lifelong skills.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The objectives of the course and the teams are 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 fulfil the need and manage the team towards successful implementation of the business.

    In the course you will learn different skill sets:
      • To identify sustainable and scalable business opportunities 

      • To pitch business ideas and ventures  

      • To apply knowledge about marketing, user research, idea validation, experimentation and prototyping, and financial literacy for one’s endeavour 

      • To work in and lead diverse teams  

      • To work effectively with different tools for team working and communicating remotely 

      • To take ownership and responsibility for one’s own work 

      • To develop self-awareness and self-management skills, including time management and personal wellbeing 

      • To think outside the box and be more innovative 

      • To cope with challenges and know how to fail & pivot after having practised resilience in safe environment 

      • To think critically and through ethical and sustainable lenses 

      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. The course includes mostly workshops and hands-on team assignments based on venture ideas. 

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    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, etc.)
    Personal performance is evaluated based on for example:
    • COO performance (each student will act as the company COO for a specific assignment, the student's performance in the assignment is based on the outcome of the assignment as well as a personal reflection on the management process and learning)
    • Final individual oral exam
    The student’s total grade is combined of the team grade and personal grade.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    80% - team grade

    30% - Final pitch
    20% - Pitches 2,3,4,5
    30% - Team assignments

    20% - individual grade (individual exam)

    Evaluation and feedback of the pitches will be provided on-the-spot prior by a board of judges (lecturers and guests) to the teams in front of the class during the pitch sessions. Grades will be given at the end of the day. 

    Team assignments will be graded by teachers and given back to the students after they are finished grading. The individual exam is evaluated based on individual performance and participation as well as progress made with the team. 

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    For 9 ECTS the workload is 243 hours of student work.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The expected workload of this 9 ECTS course is ca 243h, which translates to the weekly workload of approximately ca 20h during the two first teaching periods of autumn 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 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Online materials distributed via MyCourses

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Materials are not compulsory for final exams. Most of the materials are lecture slides or workshop materials used during the lectures. 

    Preliminary schedule

    Lecture 1: Introduction to Startup Experience 
    Lecture 2: Teamwork and Leadership 
    Lecture 3: Why be an Entrepreneur? 
    Workshop: on Teamwork
    Workshop: Startup game
    The idea of the startup game is to get your team to actively think about what you need to achieve and what skills you might need to strengthen in your team.
    Workshop: Interactive work process 
    The basics for working in Startup Experience are the concepts of sprints, iterative work and experiment. 
    Workshop: Analyzing user data
    Analyzing data that you have collected in interviews and experiments
    Lecture 4: Inbound marketing 
    Workshop: experimentation and prototyping 
    Moving your concept forward using experimentation and prototyping.
    Workshop: Disruption
    Workshop: Market Estimation 
    Workshop: Financials 
    Lecture 5: Early Startup Financing 
    Workshop: Growth Hacking 
    Workshop: Financing Negotiation 
    Workshop: Design your life 
    Lecture 6: Challenges and Opportunities in Startup Life

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

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

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    No prerequisites, but TU-C2090 Starting Up online course or TU-C2080 Entrepreneurship Essentials is highly recommended.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    1 No Poverty

    2 Zero Hunger

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    5 Gender Equality

    6 Clean Water and Sanitation

    7 Affordable and Clean Energy

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    10 Reduced Inequality

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action

    14 Life Below Water

    15 Life on Land

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Workshop and pitching session on Tuesdays 09:15-12:00

    Lecture session on Thursdays 14:15-16:00

    The Tuesday session is focused on value creation, discovering and defining the product or service that the teams are working towards. The Thursday session is focused on operation topics such as teamwork, leadership, finance, marketing and operations.

    Preliminary schedule

    SprintwkTue 09:15-12:00Thu 14:15:16:00
    137 08.09 Intro
     10.09 Good
    Life Engine track kick-off       
     09.09 Team
    building I (Wed)
    138 15.09 Team
    building II 
     17.09 User
    239 22.09 Pitch I & Pitch
     24.09 Entrepreneurship game
    240 29.09 Analyzing user data 01.10 Ideation
    341 06.10 Pitch II 08.10 Experimentation and
    342 13.10 Disruption 15.10 Market Estimation
    exam week43 TBA
    444 27.10 Pitch III 29.10 Marketing
    445 03.11 Financials & Marketing 05.11 Prototyping
    546 10.11 Pitch IV 12.11 Financing I
    547 17.11 Growth Hacking 19.11 Financing II
    648 24.11 Pitch V 26.11 TBA
    649 01.12 Ethics 03.12 Good Life Engine
    exam week50 08.12 Final pitch 08-11.12 Final exams


Registration and further information