Preparing video…

Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship

Part of the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization »

Explore how to identify and develop great ideas into great companies. Learn how to identify opportunities based on real customer needs. Take the first steps to creating a successful company.


Course at a Glance

About the Course

#1 Entrepreneurship Course on Coursera*
#3 Overall Business Course on Coursera*
          *CourseTalk's "Top Rated" MOOCs (2014)

This course assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies. With strong economies presenting rich opportunities for new venture creation, and challenging economic times presenting the necessity for many to make their own job, the need to develop the skills to develop and act on innovative business opportunities is ever present.

Using proven content, methods, and models for new venture opportunity assessment and analysis, students will learn how to enhance their entrepreneurial mindset and develop their functional skill sets to see and act entrepreneurially. The initial steps to creating a business plan are examined as well. Our goal is to demystify the startup process, and to help you build the skills to identify and act on innovative opportunities now, and in the future.

With this course, students experience a sampling of the ideas and techniques explored in the University of Maryland's Online Master of Technology Entrepreneurship.

Course Syllabus

Week One: Entrepreneurial Perspective
  • What is entrepreneurship?
  • Who is an entrepreneur?
  • Entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation
  • The world's most innovative companies
  • Types of innovations
  • Entrepreneurs and strategic decisions
  • The opportunity analysis canvas

Week Two: Entrepreneurial Mindset, Motivations and Behaviors
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Entrepreneurial motivations
  • Entrepreneurial behavoirs
  • Risk taking in entrepreneurial decision-making
  • Risk, uncertainty, and stakeholder involvement

Week Three: Industry Understanding
  • Knowledge conditions
  • Demand conditions
  • Industry lifecycle
  • Industry structure
  • Competitive advantage
  • Learning curve
  • Complementary assets
  • Reputation effects

Week Four: Customer Understanding and Business Models
  • Macro changes that increase new venture opportunities
  • Exploring and satisfying real market needs
  • Strategic positioning and planning
  • Value innovation
  • Opportunity identification
  • Business modeling
  • Business planning

Recommended Background

This introductory course is designed for those interested in learning about innovative idea generation and new venture creation, and does not require a background in business or any specific area.  A desire to build your knowledge and capabilities are the only requirements for entry.

Suggested Readings

Recommended readings are detailed within the course syllabus.

Course Format

The class will consist of a series of video lectures each week. An end of week assignment is available each week to apply and reinforce learnings from the week.


What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

You’ll learn how to identify new venture opportunities and take the first steps to launching an innovative company.

Can I really do this course if I don’t know anything about business?

Yes! We expect this course to be taken by people completely new to our topics, and have designed the content in that way.

What about timing? Can I take this self-paced?

Yes, to an extent. Within any week of the course, you can view the recorded video lectures and online material whenever you have time available, regardless of your time zone. We will, however, connect the class on a common weekly schedule with regular due dates for all assessments.  In our experience, this also assists students in managing the overall workload and successfully completing the course (rather than cramming at the end of the course). We expect that you will be committed to the course each week as you would for any other college class.

What can I earn for completing this class?

You can earn a Verified Certificate with a risk-free, no obligation Signature Track trial. Payment for Signature Track can be delayed until the week before the course ends, so you’ll be more certain that you’ll earn your Verified Certificate.

If you choose not to verify your work, you can still participate in the complete course. However, this course will not offer a Statement of Accomplishment. Your final grade will be noted on your course records page.