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Learning from Silicon Valley; innovation, entrepreneurship and cluster development

Vak 2010-2011

Apply now by filling out the application form.
The application deadline is January 27th 2011!

In less than forty years a vibrant regional cluster in between San Francisco and San Jose (North California) has been created in which start-up entrepreneurs, investors, larger firms, universities and other supportive institutions work effectively together.

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurship became known in these years for its:

  • ground-breaking entrepreneurs and investors developing new industries,
  • the stimulating role played by dynamic firms (either small and large) churning out breakthrough products and services,
  • the effective transfer of ideas and people between universities, large companies and start-up firms.

Course Contents
In this master elective you will explore the Silicon Valley modes of science and technology commercialization and its approaches to transfer knowledge from research labs to new ventures and established companies.

We will also analyze the particular role and strategies of these dynamic local firms in establishing global leadership and the reasons why Silicon Valley has become a successful cluster.

Finally we will look into its policy implications: is it possible to emulate the success of the San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland area elsewhere and what are the preconditions for ‘growing another Silicon Valley’?

After an intensive introduction to the key actors and factors making up Silicon Valley as the world’s hotbed for innovative entrepreneurship and cluster development, the course will conclude with a study trip to Silicon Valley and the Bay area. This trip will be used as a central case to the research assignment.

Education Method

  • The course is based on an intensive introduction with several sessions ate the Technology of Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and Leiden University.
  • Each session consists of a mixture of lecturing, and discussions of cases, literature and assignments, and presentations.
  • For each session you study the literature and prepare assignments.
  • For class presentations, we will announce beforehand which groups will have to present in which class.

Literature and Study Materials

  • C-M. Lee, W. Miller, M. Hancock & H. Rowen (eds)(2000), The Silicon Valley edge: a habitat for innovation and entreprenuership.
  • M. Kenney (ed) (2000), Silicon Valley: the anatomy of an entrepreneurial region.
  • Slides and articles which will be posted on Blackboard

You will be assessed upon five grading components.

  • The first is writing reports including analyses, findings and recommendations for a company that can learn from Silicon Valley.
  • Second there is a component based on a comparitive analyses of a high-tech cluster with Silicon Valley.
  • The third component is an individual book assignment where a short essay about a Silicon Valley phenomenon should be written.
  • The fourth component is based on an oral presentation of the findings in the company and cluster reports and book essay;
  • Finally the presence and participation in class will be graded.
    The first two components will be graded in a group whereas the latter three are individual.

This course will take a carefully selected group of students from Delft University of Technology, Leiden University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Students need to motivate why their interest and have been involved in courses on entrepreneurship before.

The course runs from January 31st 2011 until April 15th 2011, exam and studytrip included.
The kick off meeting for Leiden students will be held on January 28th, 11.00hrs, at SBB (Snellius Building room 104). This meeting is obligatory.

The classes are weekly on

  • Monday from 15:00 till 18:00 at Erasmus University, details will be provided later
  • Friday from 15:00 till 18:00 at Delft University, details will be provided later

until Friday 4th of March (Friday may change to another moment if more convenient for all students)

  • Saturday 5th of March we have scheduled leaving for San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sunday 13th of March return from San Francisco.
  • The week of Monday 14th of March we continue classes with presenting the assignments

The costs of the study trip will be € 750,- for students. Performing consultancy assignments for companies during the course will reduce your costs. The SBB team will provide a recommendation letter for Leiden University students to help them find a company.

For more information, please contact Harmen Jousma at or 071-5274424
Apply now by filling out the application form.
The application deadline is January 27th 2011!