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Entrepreneurship and Frugal Innovation


Admission requirements



This course is one of three thematic modules in the LDE Minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’. The course on entrepreneurship connects the thematic modules on Technology and on Development. It starts from how entrepreneurs see opportunities to use new and adjusted technologies to develop new business models, and it prepares the ground for the developmental implications of these entrepreneurial activities. An important thread running through the block is the importance of co-creation in that successful entrepreneurs work more and more in flexible networks or clusters with people with complementary competences. The block will use a few more in-depth cases running through, one for each of the main types of entrepreneurs, as well as an integrative case study towards the end with a focus on necessity entrepreneurship with strong developmental implications.

The first part of the block introduces characteristics and motivations of individual entrepreneurs. We distinguish between growth-oriented / opportunity-driven, survival / necessity and social entrepreneurs as the main types of entrepreneurship relevant for frugal innovation.

The second part identifies the external environment for local entrepreneurs. We examine 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 it introduces the importance and challenges with compliance to sustainability standards and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The final part of the block focuses on different business models for frugal innovation, competences required to achieve profitability and their prospective developmental implications like employment generation, as a bridge to the third block on development.

Course objectives

After this course students are able to:

  • Reproduce and interpret knowledge about frugal innovation from an entrepreneurship perspective;

  • Apply this perspective critically to case studies from different parts of the world;

  • Analyze and interpret the potential of frugal innovation in the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals from an entrepreneurship perspective;

  • 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, and

  • From there, make a constructive contribution to the debate on frugal innovation and sustainable global development.



Mode of instruction

Expert lecturers, case studies, online course work

Course Load

112 total hours of study to be spent on attending classes, studying the compulsory literature and on the assignment.

Assessment method


Written assignment: students will write an individual essay on a topic related to the link between a particular type of entrepreneurship and business models for Frugal Innovation. The topic and central question of the essay need to be approved by the course leader in advance. Students who will go for an internship are advised to choose a type of entrepreneurship and business model they are likely to encounter in their internship.
Participation in lectures and online course work.


Final grade: 80% written assignment + 20% participation
The final grades for the written assignment and participation should be 6,0 or higher. Together they should be a 6,0 or higher to pass the course


The students are allowed one re-sit for the written assignment. It is not allowed to re-sit an examination or assignment for which they have received a pass (6,0 or higher). It is not allowed to re-sit the in-class assignment which they haven't done during the first occasion. The re-sit format needs to be discussed with the teachers of the course in line with examination regulations.

Exam Review



All students have to be present in all sessions. The teachers and the minor coordinator have to be notified in advance for the absences. The students who are absent more than twice will not pass the module.


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and to make course materials available.

Reading list

Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via Blackboard.


You register for the whole minor and for each individual course in uSis.


If you have questions, please contact the minor coordinators (André Leliveld, Emma Hesselink and Maaike Westra) at