Topic outline

  • Welcome to Startup Experience Fall 2021! 

    Do you want to learn about how to create new business and make an impact? Do you want to join or set up a startup within sustainable development goals (SDGs)? In the Startup Experience course, you will learn useful skills to help you get new businesses off the ground! 

    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. 

    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.

    Startup experience course

    What do students of the Startup Experience think about the course? 

    This is what Bas Burma, CEO of CodeSandbox, thought about the course:

    "The startup experience course helped me get more insight into specific parts of entrepreneurship like Finance and Strategy. These insights are really useful because as an entrepreneur you fulfil different roles in your startup and need to know a bit about everything"

    After the course, Bas and his co-founder Ives van Hoorne, raised $2.4M seed funding for their company (that they have started already before Bas joined Startup Experience).

    And this is what Sean Corr, an exchange student at Aalto, thought about. In the video, Sean talks about his experience at Aalto and in particular what he learned by participating in the Startup Experience course. 



    The course is open to all Aalto students. Registration can be done via Sisu. 

    The deadline for registration is September 6th, 2021. The course starts with 3 kick-off sessions (Tuesday 14th September at 9:15 - 12:00, Wednesday 15th September at 9:15-12:00, and Thursday 16th September at 15:15-17:00) You must participate in all 3 kick-off sessions in order to be accepted to the course. 

    Before or simultaneously with Startup experience course we recommend you to take 2 credits online course “Starting up” - and/or 1 credit online course TU-C2080 Entrepreneurship Essentials.

    How much will you work

    The course runs for two periods. Each week there are two contact sessions, one workshop and pitching session on Tuesdays 09:15-12:00 and a lecture session on Thursdays 15:15-17:00. 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.

    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. We will also require students after participating in the first three mandatory sessions to sign an individual commitment letter. 

    Learning objectives

    Startup Experience teaches students how to run an early stage, scalable startup, which solves a sustainability-related problem and creates social and economic value. After the course, 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 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 a safe environment 
      • To think critically and through ethical and sustainable lenses 

    The course simulates the real-world challenges (as far as possible) startups might encounter and how to overcome them. Startup Experience is experiential, and it consists of workshops and hands-on team assignments based on teams' venture ideas within Sustainable Development Goals. To help you understand more what it's like to undertake such a journey, here is an example of the teams that have gone through the experience together:

    Here are two other examples of the course outcomes in terms of company pitches by two teams from the Spring 2019 course. 




    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 pitchTeamwork 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 have gone through the project in a sustainable way. Through different exercises, students will be able to turn wellbeing-boost lessons into life-long skills. 

    How we work

    The course is a project course where students will form small companies (read: multidisciplinary teams). These companies develop new business within the topic of SDGs and also manage the company in a simulation of how you would manage a small startup.

    The teams will choose the topics to proceed with. Thus, students can have their own business idea within the topic of SDGs. It is not mandatory, but if you are convincing enough, your team might work on your topic.

    Once the team has been formed, all members will in turn act as the person in charge of the team's operations, we call this role COO (Chief Operating Officer). This means that all participants will, in turn, get a chance to practice their leadership skills.

    In addition to the project and team working track, all students will follow the Good Life Engine track by maintaining well-being and/or self-development routines during the course. 

    To make life easier for everyone, we would suggest using Teams as the main communication platform so that the students can reach out to our staff and course assistants more effectively. Most major announcements will still be conducted via Mycourses but if you need to ask a quick question or to crowdsource something with the whole class then Teams is the platform to do so. We will provide the link to join our Teams group chat on our first day. 

    More information

    For more information, contact the course assistant:

    Teddy Duy Tran,, AVP

    Course teachers:
    Lauri Järvilehto,, AVP
    Simo Lahdenne,, AVP

    If you are registered for the course, please check the welcome package below. 

    All lectures will be held online via Zoom. 

    • File icon
      Welcome to Startup Experience Fall 2021 (Important) File
      Not available unless: You belong to L01 (SISU)

      Hello everyone, 

      Please check the official welcome letter to the course. There are a couple of mandatory tasks that you must see through before the kick-off of the course itself.