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Frugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Admission requirements

The course is only open to students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


This course builds upon the two previous courses with a focus on how entrepreneurs see opportunities to use frugal technologies to develop new (frugal) business models in resource constrained contexts. Entrepreneurs are not only to be found in (social) enterprises active in formal and informal economies, but also in NGOs, all sorts of innovation Hubs, maker movements, etc.

The course first introduces characteristics and motivations of different types of individual entrepreneurs. The second part identifies the external environment for entrepreneurs who want to become or are engaged in frugal innovation. It examines what types of value chains they are involved in, what are the requirements of serving distinct market segments like the Bottom of the Pyramid and the new middle classes, the role of the institutional and regulatory environment, and the importance of and challenges of compliance with quality and sustainability standards.

The final part of the module focuses on different business models for frugal innovation, competences required to achieve profitability and their prospective developmental implications, also as a way to enable students to practice applying the business canvas model to their prospective field assignment.

An important thread running through the course is the importance of co-creation in frugal innovation, showing that successful entrepreneurs more and more work in flexible networks with people with complementary competences.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Objective: To introduce the characteristics and motivations of entrepreneurs, the contexts within which they operate, and different business models for frugal innovation.

Outcomes: After this module students are able to:
1. Reproduce and interpret knowledge about frugal innovation from an entrepreneurship perspective;
2. Apply this perspective critically to case studies from different parts of the world;
3. Analyse and interpret the potential of frugal innovation in the pursuit of the SDGs from an entrepreneurship perspective;
4. Learn from other disciplines, in particular studies on entrepreneurship in Bottom of the Pyramid markets and development contexts, and relate this knowledge to and integrate into their own disciplinary background;
5. Make a constructive contribution to the debate on frugal innovation and sustainable global development.


Block I. A detailed timetable will be provided in Brightspace (Leiden University).

Mode of instruction

Tutorials, guest lectures, in-class and out-class individual and group work.

Assessment method

Written essay (70%) and group work presentation (30%)
Resit: Same subtest as the first, within given timeframe.


Leiden University Brightspace LMS will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Course information

  • Documents

  • Discussions

  • Grades

  • Calendar

  • Reading list

Reading list

All links and references to prescribed and recommended scientific and professional papers will be made available in and through Brightspace (Leiden University). We strive to mostly use library and open-source online publications.


You register for this course through Canvas (Erasmus University Rotterdam).

Registration à la carte and contract education
The course is only open to students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


Course Coordinator: Prof. Peter Knorringa

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Not applicable.