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Entrepreneurship and Impact: First Steps to Starting Your Own Business


Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Impact Challenge aimed at second and third year bachelor's students, and master’s students. Students should apply with a general business idea or an area of interest/challenge they would like to address during the course.


  • Problem validation

  • Digital marketing

  • Business modeling

  • Customer and user development

  • Budgeting

  • Impact business modeling

  • Public speaking


  • Entrepreneurship

  • Social studies

  • Business management


  1. Researching
  2. Analysing
  3. Generating Solutions
  4. Project-based working
  5. Collaborating
  6. Oral communication
  7. Written communication
  8. Presenting
  9. Societal awareness
  10. Reflecting
  11. Resilience


Entrepreneurship changes the world, but not always for the better. In this challenge, you first reflect on current business practices and the more sustainable, circular, and impact-driven alternatives.

During the majority of the course, you will be working on your own business idea in one of those directions. You might have a specific idea already, or a more general interest - as long as you are willing to make an impact with entrepreneurship you are welcome! You can either work individually or join others to form a team. Throughout the course, you will learn the necessities of becoming an entrepreneur, like market research, budgeting, branding, storytelling, and pitching.

In this dynamic challenge, you are tasked with finding a sustainable business model while addressing the societal impact and ethical concerns it may arise. You will be introduced to different entrepreneurial tools, that will help you align your business proposition with your first possible customers.

This is a very hands-on course, where you get to interact with different stakeholders, you get to make use of your own network, and reach out to different people in order to make things happen.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • apply theories and entrepreneurial tools

  • evaluate the needs and preferences of your client and users

  • identify your own assumptions and find ways to rapidly test them

  • critically assess ideas by conducting rapid assumptions tests

  • develop and test your experiment

  • present your solutions and answer questions effectively

  • work within a group of students with diverse backgrounds.

  • reflect on your personal progress and role within your team

Programme and timetable

All sessions take place from 17.15 - 19.00.

Week 1 (7 February)
Introduction to the course
After an introduction to the course content, structure, and assessment. During this class, you will be introduced to entrepreneurship. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? What type of entrepreneur would you like to be? What does it mean to bridge entrepreneurship and impact? What are the technological and societal trends impacting the world and the way we perceive entrepreneurship?

Week 2 (14 February)
Understanding the context

During this class you will learn how to effectively analyze and understand the context of the world we live in today and your business idea. We will focus on a quantitative analysis of the market, and you will learn tools from Human-centered design that will allow you to develop a more empathetic understanding of your client and users; the person or people you aim to help. You will learn about how your brain works, identify the main assumptions that you have, and create a plan to test those assumptions.

Week 3 (21 February)

During this session you will need to schedule interviews and connect with people that can help you understand the context of your impact and your business idea.

Week 4 (28 February)
Value and business model elements / Panel with entrepreneurs

During this class you will understand the importance of identifying value propositions, and the business model and revenue model for your business idea. During this session, we will also debate the possible impact of the business decisions you take with a panel of entrepreneurs.

Week 5 (7 March)

During this session you will need to schedule interviews and connect with people that can help you understand if your solution can solve the problem you are envisioning.

Week 6 (14 March)
Building products and testing them

During this session you will learn about basic elements of product development and Rapid Prototyping techniques which will allow you to test your solution in the coming months.

Week 7 (21 March)

During this week you will need to schedule time to build and test your pilot.

Week 8 (28 March)
Branding and marketing

During this session you will learn the foundations of marketing and positioning, that can help you better test your assumptions, as well as discuss the main ethical concerns that some marketing campaigns bring along

Week 9 (4 April)

During this week you will need to schedule time to build and test your pilot.

Week 10 (11 April)
Financial sustainable models & money talks + panel with entrepeneurs

Every sustainable business requires money to work. During this class you will Understand different revenue engines, you will assess the cost structure of your solution, and will build a Financially Sustainable Model.

Week 11 (18 April)

During this session you will need to schedule time to build your budget and talk to suppliers.

Week 12 (25 April)

In today’s world, learning how to convey stories is more important than ever. During this class, you will have a session where we will discuss the importance of storytelling and communication techniques that you can apply in the creation of your video.

Week 13 (2 May)

During this session you will need to schedule test your pilto and prepare for your pitch

Week 14 (9 May)
Final presentations

During this class we will watch the video of your assumption tests journey and explain how this has impacted your solution.


Lipsius building, room 1.21

Reading list

All reading is available online, or will be made available to students.

  • Judit Kertesz (2017) Introduction to empathy maps. RealTimeBoard. Accessed: 29 January 2018. Available at:

  • Monarth, H. (2015) The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool. HBR

  • Twersky, F., Buchanan, P., & Threlfall, V. (2013). Listening to those who matter most, the beneficiaries. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 11(2), 40-45.

  • Peredo, A. M., & McLean, M. (2006). Social entrepreneurship: A critical review of the concept. Journal of world business, 41(1), 56-65. (Available online)

  • Bloom, P.N. and Dees, G. (2008), Cultivate your ecosystem. Stanford social innovation review, 6(1), pp.47-53.

  • Alter, K., 2007. Social enterprise typology. Virtue Ventures LLC, 12, pp. 1-124.

  • Twersky, F., Buchanan, P., & Threlfall, V. (2013). Listening to those who matter most, the beneficiaries. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 11(2), 40-45.

  • Strategyzer, A.G., 2015. The value proposition canvas. Retrieved at January, 10, p. 2016.

Other possible literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.

Course load and teaching method

This course is worth 10 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 280 hours:

  • Seminars: 8 seminars of 2.5 hours = 20

  • Field work: 6 blocks of 2.5 hours = 15

  • Literature reading & engagement: 10 hours p/week = 70 hours

  • Assignments & final essay = 36 hours

Assessment methods

The assessment methods will look as follows:

Individual assessment:
20% Individual understanding plan
20% Individual final report

Project assessment:
15% Understanding presentation
15% Problem solution pitch
30% Final video pitch/presentation

Students could only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.


The Brightspace environment of Leiden University will be used in this course. Students will be enrolled to the Brightspace module by the organisation of the course.

Application and registration process

Enrolling in this course will take place via this registration link from 5 December 2022 until January 15 2023.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for this course. Your registration will be done centrally.


Betty Huerta –