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Frugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Admission requirements

The course is open for all students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


This course is one of three thematic modules in the LDE Minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’. It connects the modules on Technology and on Development, with a focus on how entrepreneurs see opportunities to use frugal technologies to develop new (frugal) 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 frugal innovation, showing that successful entrepreneurs work more and more in flexible networks with people with complementary competences.
The course first introduces characteristics and motivations of different types of individual entrepreneurs. The second part identifies the external environment for entrepreneurs who want to become or are engaged in frugal innovation. 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 the importance of and challenges of compliance with quality and sustainability standards.
The final part of the block focuses on different business models for frugal innovation, competences required to achieve profitability and their prospective developmental implications, as a bridge to the third block on development, and as a way to enable students to practice applying the business canvas model to their prospective field assignment.

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

  • Make a constructive contribution to the debate on frugal innovation and sustainable global development.


From 27 September 2019 to 11 October 2019. A detailed timetable will be presented on Blackboard (Leiden University) and Canvas (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and in the syllabus for the minor.

Mode of instruction

Expert lecturers, case studies, online course work

Course Load

84 hours of study.

Assessment method

Evaluation of written assignment, in-class assignments and online course work.


In this course, Blackboard (Leiden University) and Canvas (Erasmus University Rotterdam) are 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 (Leiden University) and Canvas (Erasmus University Rotterdam).


You register for this course through Canvas (Erasmus University Rotterdam).


If you have questions, please contact the course coordinator prof. Peter Knorringa,, or send an e-mail to