Entrepreneurship Minor | Gordon Institute at Tufts University
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To fulfill the Entrepreneurship minor, students take four core required courses and a minimum of one elective course.

Students who have completed the minor's requirements should complete the minor certification form. No more than two course credits used toward a minor may be used toward any other requirement.

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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.

Instructor: Tina Weber, Lana Caron, Jay Mixter, Josh Wiesman

Note: ELS 101.03 and EM 153 may be substituted for ELS 101

ELS 103 - Entrepreneurial Finance

Entrepreneurial Finance is for students minoring in entrepreneurial studies, and practicing technologists who aspire to be able to understand and analyze the financial aspects of a company’s product or service offerings and their impact on the health and competitiveness of the firm. Being able to develop, analyze and communicate meaningful financial information is a crucial skill for those who are interested in moving into managerial and future leadership positions. It is also essential for anyone interested in leading new business development efforts or potentially starting his or her own company.

The course is hands-on with a rigorous workload. This includes numerous problem sets, business cases and a capstone term project where each student will create a fully vetted financial plan for a new product, service or business start-up. After taking this course, it is expected that students will understand:

  1. How to analyze the financial statements of a company
  2. How to build pro forma financial statements for new product (or service) initiatives, department budgets within a company, or a simple business
  3. How to quantify and apply essential financial return metrics: net present value, internal rate of return, multiple on investment, pay back and break-even analysis to vital business applications
  4. How to apply the core financial principles in evaluating a new product or business idea, and its impact on the financial health and performance of the businesses
  5. How to complete a simple valuation of a business
  6. How to utilize financial management, reporting and analysis to improve business performance
  7. How to construct a financial business plan

Prerequisite: ELS 101 

Instructors: Frank Apeseche and Rich Wilmot

Note: EM155 - Financial Management in High Technology Firms can be substituted for ELS 103.

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.

Instructor: Jack Derby, Gavin Finn

Note: ELS 101 is a prerequisite.

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.

Instructor: Beth McCarthy, Pamela Stepp

Notes: ELS 101. E is a prerequisite; EM 54 may be substituted for ELS 107.

Course Substitutions (May be taken in lieu of ELS 101)

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 knowledge-base 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.

ELS 193.02 - Entrepreneurship in Action

This course may be substituted for ELS 101 or taken as an elective.

This is a capstone-style course focused on applying the fundamentals of entrepreneurship in the development of a new venture. Students will learn to develop hypotheses, identify and test critical assumptions, plan effectively, and take actions needed to ensure product viability and a successful path to market. Applicable to a wide range of for-profit and non-profit businesses, students will collaborate in small teams to conduct research, develop sound strategies, and prepare a comprehensive business plan. 

Students may bring their own startup concept to class, develop one as part of a team, join a classmate’s venture or work with an outside startup. Venture teams will be comprised of 2 – 4 students who will collaborate throughout the semester to set goals and action plans, do what is needed to ensure the viability of their business, and prepare to pitch a panel of investors. Instructors will act as advisors to each venture and teams will be encouraged to meet with additional outside advisers with relevant expertise.

This course is open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students who are interested in bringing an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset to both startups and corporate jobs early in their career.

Prerequisites: This course is open to students who have completed the following courses with a grade of B or higher:

  • ELS 105 - Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • ELS 103 - Entrepreneurial Finance (or EM155 - Financial Management in High Technology Firms)

Faculty: Jay Mixter

When: Mondays from 6:00pm - 9:00pm

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. 

Instructor: Sam Liggero

Elective Courses

ELS 141/AMER 141 - Innovative Social Enterprises

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. 

Instructor: Julianne Zimmerman
Notes: Taught in Partnership with Tisch College; Cross-listed as American Studies 141, ELS 141
ELS 162 - 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

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: Josef Volman

ELS 194.01 - Special Topics: Internships

Independent study or internship requires faculty approval.

Instructor: Jack Derby

ELS 194.02 - Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Fall Semester)

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 innovation and entrepreneurship.

Focusing on tools and techniques to promote creativity and innovation, you will develop capabilities that can be applied to everyday problem solving, launching new ventures, and working in businesses and non-profit organizations. We will engage in rapid ideation workshops where you will repeatedly challenge your brain to come up with novel solutions and innovations. You will be exposed to a variety of tools to help stimulate brainstorming and creativity. During the semester, we will study different types of innovation and use “design thinking” to address a series of real-world problems with creative solutions.  

Instructor: Jay Mixter

ELS 194.02/COMP 150 - Entrepreneurship for Computer Scientists (Spring Semester)

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. 

Instructor: Gavin Finn

Notes: Taught in partnership with Tufts Department of Computer Science; Prerequisite: Department Consent (CS major or minor)

ELS 194.03 - The Science of Sales in Entrepreneurship

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 - Taking Concepts to Startups

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.

Instructor: Jack Derby

Notes: Receiving an "A" grade in the course you are supporting is a prerequisite. Additionally, permission/invitation by faculty is required. Limit 2 students per ELS class.

ELS 194.05 - Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, & Community

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

Note: Taught in partnership with Tisch College

ELS 194.01 - 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

Elective Courses

ELS 194.07 - 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 - Talent Management in Entrepreneurship

This is a course focused on the most critical success factor in creating not just young startups and emerging companies, but also any business of any size.  This course, taught by a highly experienced Human Resources executive, focuses on the entire chain of talent management from recruiting, hiring, and on-boarding new employees to the overall personnel management of a business.   This course outlines the strategic planning surrounding building the organizational structure while exploring the tactics of objective setting, hiring and firing decision making, compensation structures and reviews, and employee development.  This course is open to undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in bringing an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset to both startups and corporate jobs early in their career.

Instructor: To be announced

When: Tuesdays from 6:00pm - 9:00pm

ELS 194.09 - Strategic Management in the 21st Century

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 - 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.

Instructor: Jack Derby

Notes: ELS 101 is a prerequisite. This course requires faculty approval.

NUTR 0280 - Food and Entrepreneurship

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

Note: Taught in partnership with Friedman School of Nutrition

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.

Note: Open to freshmen.

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. 

Instructor: Deborah Cooney

Note: Open to freshmen.

UEP 0230 - Negotiation, Mediation, & 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