Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


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Subject to changes

Characteristics of this course are subject to change, as we are currently unsure of the way teaching will take place at the end of 2021: on campus, on campus with restrictions, online, hybrid situations. The description and the course objectives will however not change!


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. Students groups will not develop a start-up in this course, they will develop a feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups.

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 a feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups to determine the potential success of a new venture, using the insights provided in the course, thereby potentially creating new theory.

Insights from current theory and practice are offered through lectures, case studies done by the students and 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 feedback mechanism by analysing and structuring the provided and researched insights.

Towards the end of the course, students will be asked to use the feedback mechanism they developed with the group to assess the potential success of several start-ups.

This is a very practical course with an emphasis on figuring out what makes start-ups successful.

If you want to study literature about entrepreneurship and get an exam about the knowledge you gathered, this course is not for you. If you want to figure out with a group what it means to turn theory about entrepreneurship into practice, read on.

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 feedback mechanism that will allow them to assess ventures and it will support them when developing ventures/start-ups themselves.

Topics covered
1. Introduction to entrepreneurship and start-ups
2. Building a feedback mechanism
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/start-ups.

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.


Check MyTimetable and use your ULCN account to login.

You will find the timetables for all the courses and degree programme in MyTimetable. This enables you to create a personal timetable. Any teaching activities that you have registered for in uSis will automatically be displayed in your timetable. Any timetables that you add will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

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 will be supplemented through case studies done by all participating students.

During the course you will be working as a group to create a feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups.
The group will carry out tasks like:

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

  • creating a feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups that is steeped in both theory and practice

  • discussing and testing the validity of the feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups.

These tasks are continuous, require parallel processing, require allocating different tasks to different group members. This implies a high level of interaction and collaboration in the group. Groups can meet live if the situation allows that and/or use video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams to discuss assignments and create deliverables.
The groups will be populated at random before the course starts. Groups will consist of 4 to 6 students.

The course itself consists of:

  • Pre-recorded lectures and videos

  • Group assignments: the results of the group assignments are incorporated in the feedback mechanism for founders of start-ups that is created by each group

  • Individual assignments

  • Interactive sessions

  • A final event where groups will use their feedback mechanism to provide founders of start-ups with feedback.

This course uses pre-recorded lectures to allow us to make optimal use of the interactive sessions. Students will be informed how the interactive sessions will be run before the course starts. The sessions might be live, online, or a mixture of these approaches dependant on how the situation related to Covid-19 evolves. If it is technically feasible, there will be the option to partake online for those that feel live meetings are not yet appropriate.

Assessment method

Assignments on Brightspace contain explanations and specifications about the work that needs to be done by groups and students and the deliverables that need to be submitted on Brightspace.

Rubrics on Brightspace define how each submission will be graded and are also used to provide students with feedback.

Students are graded on the following aspects:

  • Quality of the feedback mechanism created by the group (graded twice, once for 10 % and once for 20 % for a total of 30 %)

  • Quality of feedback for founders of start-ups created with the feedback mechanism (trial run 5 % and feedback provided at final event 15 % for a total of 20 %)

  • Quality of case study and case study presentation carried out by the individual student (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 especially the terms and conditions the student would use, providing arguments for this from theory and from the course.
    Grading specifications:

  • Partial grades will be rounded off at two decimals and will be communicated through Brightspace

  • The final grade will be calculated using the non-rounded off partial grades and taking into account the weights of these partial grades

  • Your final calculated grade can be adjusted manually by the lecturer in the case of special circumstances.
    There will be no final exam, it is however still necessary to register in USIS for the final exam/assignment in order to receive a grade.
    Resits are only possible for individual work.

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 during the course.
    Reading the real books is optional for the course, there is no need to study them beforehand, so this list is just to show you some of the ‘classics’.


Brightspace will be used extensively 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 info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl

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 14 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 14 = 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 partial components (except the exam) that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 4.0.

  • Students fail the course if the grade for the (final) exam 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 4.0.

  • Partial grades, inclusive the exam grade will not be rounded. If partial grades will be communicated, it is possible partial grades are rounded, but unrounded partial grades will be used in the calculation of the final grade. The final grade will be rounded at 0.5 (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • 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 (info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl) 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 info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.