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The Tufts Entrepreneurship Center offers the largest minor on campus with more than 800 students taking our courses every year. Courses are open to students from all schools and majors at Tufts who come from diverse backgrounds and academic interests. All of our students share a dynamic and exciting curiosity to discover entrepreneurship and innovation through a wide variety of both commercial businesses and social enterprises.

To fulfill the Entrepreneurship minor, students take a total of five courses, including four core required courses and a minimum of one elective course:

  • ELS101 Entrepreneurship and Business Planning
  • ELS103 Entrepreneurial Finance
  • ELS105 Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • ELS107 Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • There are 15 elective courses to choose from.

Students have the unique advantage of developing valuable leadership and business skills within an interdisciplinary liberal arts environment. Courses are taught by skilled professors with deep real-life experience in business, social enterprises, and entrepreneurship.  All are highly focused on providing not only excellent academic discipline and depth, but also on providing students with connections to internships and jobs in both for-profit businesses and not-for-profit social enterprises.

Students who have completed the necessary requirements to earn the minor in Entrepreneurship should complete the appropriate minor certification form. Please note: No more than two course credits used toward a minor may be used toward any other requirement.

Complete the Entrepreneurship Minor Certification Form.

Required Courses for Minor

ELS 101 - Entrepreneurship and Business Planning

This course focuses on investigating, understanding, and implementing the process of founding a start-up firm. Elements of searching out new venture opportunities, matching skills with a new venture, financing, competitive strategy, intellectual property, and operating a new venture will be explored. The focus of the course will be the development and presentation of a business plan created by teams of students with various academic backgrounds. (ELS 101.03 and EM 153 may be substituted for ELS 101)
Instructor: Tina WeberLana Caron, Jay Mixter, Josh Wiesman

ELS 103 - Entrepreneurial Finance

This course focuses on understanding how to construct the data and find appropriate financing for a start-up venture. Various forms of financing are introduced: vendor financing, factoring, etc. Through a medley of tests, case studies, and team exercises, students exercise basic financial skills such as financial statement formulation, NPV analysis and scenario analysis. Prerequisite: ELS 101 (Note: EM155 - Financial Management in High Technology Firms can be substituted for ELS 103).
Faculty: Frank Apeseche, Alicia Amaral

ELS 105 - Entrepreneurial Marketing

This course focuses on institutional and product marketing methods used by start-up to medium-sized companies. After an overview of basic marketing principles, the course will cover the spectrum from day-to-day marketing activities of the entrepreneurial business to positioning and strategy. Students will learn to analyze, formulate, and implement marketing strategy, and learn the fundamentals of market research, pricing, and reaching and selling to customers. Prerequisite: ELS 101.
Faculty: Jack DerbyGavin Finn

ELS 107 - Entrepreneurial Leadership

This course is designed to help students develop their knowledge, confidence, skills, and self-image necessary to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in such domains as business, government, and public service. It provides a foundation in the fundamentals of entrepreneurial leadership, as well as a source of inspiration and energy in the art and science of taking visions and bringing them to reality. (EM 54 may be substituted for ELS 107.) Prerequisite: ELS 101. E
Instructor: Beth McCarthy, Pamela Stepp

Course substitutions

EM 153 - Management of Innovation

This course may be substituted for ELS 101.

Development of the knowledge, skills and insight necessary to lead and manage innovation in new product, process and service development, including the market development life cycle. Topics taught include planning and execution of engineering products, best practices from concept generation to completion with emphasis on concurrent design, project and program management tools and techniques, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, and design for sustainability. 
Faculty: Sam Liggero

BME 194 - Special Topics: Biomedical Entrepreneurship & Strategy

This course may be substituted for ELS 101.

This course focuses on offering valuable insight into translational research, strategic business planning and inter-functional leadership critical to the successful development of biomedical innovation. Students will develop a detailed understanding of conceptual development through commercialization of a med-tech product and start to build the vocabulary and knowledgebase necessary to become successful industry leaders. The course is designed to increase the student’s foundation in product development planning, strategic planning, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making, risk analysis and business plan development by offering an in-depth perspective in biomedical entrepreneurship within the start-up or large corporate organization.  (Note: Undergraduates will be admitted with the permission of the instructor.) 

Elective Courses for the ELS Minor

(Note: The following electives are open to freshmen: ELS 141, EM 52, EC 3, EC 6, DR 0027)

ELS 141/AMER 141 - Innovative Social Enterprises

Taught in Partnership with Tisch College

Innovative Social Enterprises is structured to provide students a highly interactive exploration of core skills vital to social entrepreneurs.  Whether students aim to found social enterprises, join social enterprises, or possibly fund, regulate, or incubate social enterprises, they will come away with sharpened self-awareness and practices for innovative leadership in the social enterprise sphere.  We start with awareness (self, context, relationships) and move quickly to practicing requisite disciplines (asking questions; testing and reframing assumptions; forming teams and other alliances; identifying opportunities, risks, and resources; giving and critiquing pitches; making go / no-go decisions).  We will practice an iterative rhythm of weekly information gathering, sensing, assessment, and reframing, with emphasis on creating compelling value for multiple stakeholders.  Students will engage in individual reflection and pitching, as well as group discussion and three team pitch-offs. Cross-listed as American Studies 141, ELS 141
Instructor: Julianne Zimmerman

ELS 162 – Special Topics: Creative Design Process of Products

The Creative Design Process of Products course covers the engineering process of product design from conception to pre-production of a new product. The course teaches the creative design process through lectures and the creation, engineering, and prototype of a novel product. Students learn to identify and evaluate a problem (opportunity) and sketch, create, develop, test, and select best prototyping strategies for their product. Basic project and risk management, engineering, and analysis skills are used to deliver a robust working product on time and on budget. Fundamental principles and practices are emphasized and explored including design specifications, Occam’s Razor, Abbe Errors (as it relates to design and design theory), professional responsibilities, and ethics. Students are assumed to be competent in basic problem solving skills.
Instructor: Josh Weismann

ELS 193.01 Entrepreneurial Business Law - NEW

Entrepreneurial Business Law will explore legal issues and considerations that are common to businesses as they are formed and throughout their business life cycle.  The course will focus on several aspects relating to formation and financing, employment and intellectual property issues as well as ethical and governance considerations.
Instructor: Joseph Volman

ELS 193.02 Social Entrepreneurship, Policy, & System Change - NEW

This course will explore the dynamics and interplay between social entrepreneurship, social change, and policy.  Using the framework of Generation Citizen, an organization designed to encourage young people to be active and engaged citizens through implementing action civics in schools across the country, students will explore frameworks for social transformation, and whether stable governance and effective policies are necessary for sustainable change.
Instructor: Scott Warren

ELS 194.01- Special Topics: Internship/Research

Independent study or internship, requires faculty approval.
Instructor: Jack Derby

ELS 194.02/COMP 150- Special Topics: Entrepreneurship for Computer Scientists

Taught in partnership with Tufts Department of Computer Science

This is an introductory entrepreneurship course for Computer Science students. The course provides an overview of entrepreneurship, develops an entrepreneurial perspective and provides a framework for learning the fundamentals of the essential elements of entrepreneurial ventures. This course is specifically directed toward software-related industries and products. Students learn how to develop their technical ideas into potential business opportunities, and to explore their likelihood of becoming viable businesses. They learn how to do market research, to develop go-to-market strategies, value propositions and to differentiate their products or services from actual or potential competitors. The course consists of a balance of lectures, projects, case studies and interaction with entrepreneurs and computer scientists who participate in entrepreneurial organizations. Prerequisite: Department Consent (CS major or minor)
Instructor: Gavin Finn

ELS 194.03 Art & Science of Sales in Entrepreneurship - NEW

This course is focused on the presumption that nothing happens in any business without revenue, and revenue always comes through some act of selling the value of a product or a service from one entity to another.  In our ELS Marketing course offerings, we explore “the top of the funnel” by creating awareness, interest, and “a marketing-qualified lead.”  In this course, we focus primarily on the process of taking that lead and turning it efficiently and effectively into a closed sale.  The focus for this course is 100% directed to startup and emerging companies with revenues from $0 to $10 million.
Instructor: Jack Derby

ELS 194.04 - Special Topics: Inside the Classroom

Gain leadership and teaching skills by supporting an ELS faculty member in managing a core ELS course. By taking Inside the Classroom you will assist in grading, coaching peers, organizing course work, attendance tracking, and observing group work. Prerequisite: “A" grade in the course you are supporting, permission/invitation by the faculty, limit 2 students per ELS class.
Faculty: Jack Derby

ELS 194.05-Special Topics: Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, and Community

Taught in partnership with Tisch College

Philanthropy plays many roles in our communities, from alleviating crisis situations to encouraging strategic, systemic change. Nonprofit organizations are the intermediaries connecting donors to community needs. Working with a grant from former Tufts Trustee Nathan Gantcher, students have the opportunity to practice philanthropy by serving as a young adult grant-making board to award $25,000 to local nonprofits in the cities of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge and Boston.
Instructor: Nancy Lippe

ELS194.01 - Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Fall)

This class is designed for undergraduate students, particularly Freshmen and Sophomores, who have not taken an ELS core course and are interested in learning more about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The course will provide a foundational understanding of how creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can be applied to everyday problem solving, launching new ventures, working in business environments, and to non-profit organizations. Some of the topics we will cover include an introduction to design thinking and environments that foster creativity and innovation within the context of entrepreneurship.      
Instructor: Tina Weber

ELS 194.07 –Special Topics: Product Design & Entrepreneurship

Using design-thinking combined with consumer psychology and entrepreneurship, students will push product concepts from the stage of solid-prototype out to (near) finished, market-ready products. The instructors (TGI and MechEng professors co-teach this new course) have noticed that many classes require students to design products (or services) and to craft a prototype as a final deliverable. In this class you will work with a multidisciplinary team to keep the product or concept alive and drive it forward. Your team will fill in the blanks, to complete the picture, and to enrich the overall market proposition.
Instructor: Josh Weisman/James Intriligator

ELS 194.08 –Special Topics: Topics in Finance & Entrepreneurship

Topics covered include: the financial life-cycle; corporate liquidity; small-firm financing options; organizational constituencies--founders, shareholders, employees--and their goals; conflict and cooperation in constituent goals; and strategic modeling. Individual and/or team projects.
Instructor: Christopher Manos

ELS 194.09 Strategic Management in the 21st Century - NEW

The course is designed for those students who aspire to directly or indirectly influence strategic decisions of an organization through analytics driven insights and imaginative reasoning. On the basis of a deep understanding of the emerging geo-economic, geo political, technological and demographic trends, the course will examine how through intelligent use of a full range of analytical techniques including game & options theories, businesses must innovate and implement strategies in the context of a globalized economy.
Instructor: Partha Ghosh

ELS 199 -  Entrepreneurial Field Study: Launching the Venture

This course enables students to apply the learning and skills acquired by other courses on Entrepreneurship. Students have the option of starting a new business based on an actual business plan or consulting in an actual start-up operation. Students that select the new business option will be expected to submit a project scope paper that would outline the elements of launching that could be accomplished within the term limits. Prerequisite: ELS 101, requires faculty approval. ELS 199
Instructor: Jack Derby

NUTR 0280: Nutrition and Entrepreneurship

Taught in partnership with Friedman School of Nutrition

It is now appreciated that improving health through consumption of healthy diets requires more than consumers’ knowledge regarding appropriate dietary. Healthy choices available throughout the food environment are needed, and this availability is dependent on the growth and success of businesses that promote healthy food options. This course focuses on the considerations involved in investigating, understanding, and implementing a nutrition-based businesses. Elements of searching out new venture opportunities, financing, competitive strategy, intellectual property, reimbursement, legal and regulatory matters will be explored. Student teams will develop and present business plans. The class will involve lectures, discussions, and prominent guest speakers who are entrepreneurs or industry leaders. Participation in this course will introduce participants to the multiple stages necessary to successfully translate ideas to businesses.
Instructor: Jessica Deckinger

EC 3 – Principles of Accounting

This course covers fundamental accounting principles, including theory, revenue determination, and interpretation and preparation of income statements and balance sheets. Open to freshman.

EM 153: Management of Innovation

Knowledge and skill development for students who aspire to lead and manage innovation initiatives in technology based companies. Technology strategy and its role in the overall business strategy of commercial firms. Role of innovation in entrepreneurial ventures and established firms. Skills to present new product development proposals to senior management and/or prospective investors.

EM 52 – Technical and Managerial Communications

This course covers written and oral communications in the business setting. Written communications include: technical reports and papers, memoranda, and electronic communications.  Design and delivery of effective presentations and informal communication styles and techniques are also covered as well as communication across cultures.
Instructor: Amy Hirschfeld

DR 0027 - Public Speaking

Introductory course exploring the fundamentals of clear, confident, and effective communications in one-on-one and group settings. Development of tension management skills, good breathing habits, awareness of body language, and the ability to engage an audience through a series of practical exercises. Specific vocal work focuses on tone, variety of pitch, rate, volume, and articulation. (Note: open to freshmen.)
Instructor: Deborah Cooney

UEP 0230: Negotiation, Mediation, and Conflict Resolution

This course covers techniques of negotiation and mediation as applied to conflict situations such as interpersonal differences, labor relations, environmental disputes, and international relations.
Instructor: Robert Burdick