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Admission requirements



This course focuses on discovering the essential steps in developing a new, innovative (technology) venture, most of the time referred to as a start-up.
Over the last 25 years literature has become available that deals with start-up development. Literature consisting of some books and academic theses and a huge amount of grey literature, blogs, case studies, papers, videos dealing with the success and failure of start-ups. Many articles on the Internet provide insight into reasons why start-ups fail but these lack a thorough scientific foundation.
Within this course, students are asked to build an assessment tool to determine the potential success of a new venture, using the insights provided in the course, thereby creating new theory.
Insights from current theory and practice are offered through lectures, other insights can be gained from literature and other study materials relevant to this course.
Students will be part of a group, the group will work on creating the decision support tool by analysing and structuring the provided insights.
To conclude the course, students will be asked to use the tool they developed with the group to individually assess the potential success of several anonymous ventures.
The course will be of interest to students that are considering starting their own enterprise and to those that want to know what valorisation of university research might encompass.
Moreover, the course will allow students to create an analytical tool that will allow them to assess ventures and support them when developing ventures themselves.

Topics covered
1. Introduction to entrepreneurship and start-ups
2. Building a decision support tool
3. Insights from start-up theory
4. Insights from practical experiences
5. Insights from the start-up ecosystem
6. Assessing ventures

Course objectives

After this course you will be able to assess pitches and plans for new (technology) ventures.
After this course you will specifically:

  • be able to explain all the areas that need to be tackled to create a successful venture

  • be able to identify missing parts in a venture proposal

  • be able to identify misaligned parts in a venture proposal

  • be better able to identify risks that are inherent in specific venture proposals

  • appreciate the effort and dedication needed to make a venture succeed.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University SBB website.

Lectures were originally scheduled on:
Date Time Date Time
November 5 9.15-11.00 November 16 11.15-13.00
November 9 11.15-13.00 November 18 9.15-11.00
November 11 9.15-11.00 November 23 11.15-13.00

There will be interactive sessions on the following dates and times:
Date Time Date Time
November 9 11.15-13.00 November 16 11.15-13.00
November 11 9.15-11.00 November 18 9.15-11.00

Please block these timeslots for the interactive sessions.
Students need to have viewed the pre-recorded lectures and to have carried out the corresponding assignments before attending interactive sessions.

The meetings at PLNT will take place on the 4th of January and the 5th of January. As we are unable to receive all students at the same time we have created four timeslots. We will only be able to inform you in which time slot you are expected when the course has started. So for now fully block both dates in your agenda.
Please, for now, block the following timeslots for the PLNT meetings:
Date Time
January 4 2021 8.30-12.30 13.00-17.00
January 5 2021 8.30-12.30 13.00-17.00

At the start of the course, after the teams have been created, a schedule will be published informing you when your team is expected at PLNT. The other time slots can be unblocked in your agenda after receiving the schedule.
Contrary to earlier messages, there will be no exam. The PLNT meeting and the investment initiative each student has to submit replace the exam.
Retakes will take the form of writing an investment initiative for a start-up that is chosen by course staff.

Mode of instruction

The main teaching method for this course is as follows:

  • The lectures will cover topics and areas that are essential for start-up success or that contribute to start-up failure

  • The topics and areas covered can be (should be) supplemented, improved by adding topics derived from studying literature.
    During the course you will be working as a team to create an assessment tool.
    The team will carry out tasks like:

  • studying different kinds of literature to gain insights into essential steps for start-up development

  • creating an assessment tool that is steeped in both theory and practice

  • discussing and testing the validity of the assessment tool.  
    These tasks are continuous, require parallel processing, require allocating different tasks to different team members. This implies a high level of interaction and collaboration in the team. Teams can use video conferencing tools to discuss assignments and create deliverables.
    The teams will be populated at random before the course starts. Teams will consist of 5 to 6 students.

The course itself consists of:

  • Pre-recorded lectures and videos

  • Team assignments: the results of the team assignments are incorporated in the assessment tool that is created by each team

  • Individual assignments: 1. Providing feedback on presentations of other teams and 2. submitting lessons learned

  • Interactive sessions

  • A final ‘live’ event at PLNT Leiden (Langegracht 70) where teams will provide feedback to student teams from another course on their enterprise model and their pitch.
    If, due to Covid-19 measures, we are unable to have the live meetings in PLNT, the live meetings will be replaced by virtual meetings at the same date and time.

Course Load

  • Studying pre-recorded lectures, dealing with the topics mentioned in the description

  • Attending interactive sessions

  • Carrying out the team assignments

  • Carrying out the individual assignments

  • Participating in the final event at PLNT where teams will provide feedback to other teams

  • For each individual student, submitting an ‘investment initiative’ that describes which terms and conditions the student would use when investing in one of the start-ups that was provided with feedback during the PLNT event.

Assessment method

Students are graded on the following aspects:

  • Quality of the assessment tool created by the team (20 %)

  • Quality of feedback on presentations of other teams provided by each individual student (10 %)

  • Quality of presentation created by own team (20 %)

  • Quality of feedback on enterprise models of teams from another course by the team (20 %)

  • Submitted Lessons Learned by each individual student (10 %)

  • Individual investment initiative (20 %), containing reasons why the student would invest in a specific start-up and the terms and conditions the student would use, providing arguments for this from theory and from the course.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

  • Ries, Eric (2011) The Lean Startup. Crown Books

  • Ries, E. (2017). The startup way. New York: Currency

  • Osterwalder, Alex (2010), Business Model Generation. John Wiley Publishers

  • Osterwalder, Alex (2014), Value Proposition Design. John Wiley Publishers

  • Osterwalder, Alex (2020), The Invincible Company. John Wiley Publishers

  • Fitzpatrick, Rob (2014), The Mom Test
    This is just part of the literature that will be used during the course. This list contains the ‘real’ books. The other parts of the reading/viewing list consist of videos to watch and articles to read on the Internet. Links to these articles and videos will be provided in the syllabus.
    Reading the real books is optional for the course, viewing the videos and reading the articles is a requirement.


Brightspace will not be used during the course.
Students that have registered will be invited to join a Microsoft Teams workspace. All course materials will be provided through the workspace. The workspace can also be used by the teams to discuss assignments, to upload and download team materials, etc.


You need to do two steps:
1. Fill in this link;
2. Sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis (in time).

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator


For all your questions you can contact

Note: If you are an ICTiBPS student, you can contact the programme coordinator of ICTiBPS for any questions about your program.


  • Students are responsible for enrolling/unenrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • The deadline for enrolling for an exam/retake is 10 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 10 = deadline enrolling date).

  • Students who do not enroll themselves for an exam/retake by the deadline are not allowed to take the exam/retake.

  • Students fail the course if any of the components that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 5.0.

  • The final grade is expressed as a whole or half number between 1.0 and 10.0, including both limits. The result is not to be expressed as a number between 5.0 and 6.0.

  • If one of the components of the final mark constitutes a component that assesses attendance or class participation, students cannot take a retake for this component. Therefore, students fail the course if their mark for this component is less than 5.0.

  • It is not possible to do retakes for group assignments. Therefore, if students fail the group assignment component, they fail the course.

  • Students pass the course if the final mark is 6.0 or higher (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • For courses, for which class participation is an assessment component, students may not be penalised for an absence if the student has a legitimate justification for this absence. The student must notify the program coordinator via email ( of such an absence BEFORE the lecture, describing the reason for missing the lecture. If the student does not notify the program coordinator before the lecture, the student will be penalised. Students may be required to provide further documentation to substantiate their case, and class attendance requirements are only waived under exceptional circumstances such as illness.

  • Students who are entitled to more exam/retake time must report to 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.