Facebook Skip to main content

Graduate Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Maybe it’s the start-up that’s already swirling in your brain. Maybe it’s your desire to work for an early-stage company. Maybe it’s your passion for technology commercialization or angel investing or environmental innovation. It’s all here.

To prepare yourself for the wild ride in the real world, learn everything you can about entrepreneurship, strategy, finance, and marketing. Focus on the decisions that entrepreneurs have to make, the skills they need to master, the experiences that combine knowledge with insight, the practice of working with a diverse group of people, and your connections with the larger Seattle community. By knowing how it all comes together, you’ll be developing your own identity as an entrepreneur.

Click on each heading to learn more about each course. Questions? Contact the Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734.

Angel Investing (ENTRE 579)– By Application

Application Information

Open to advanced MBA, JD, and PhD students.
Please submit a copy of your resume and a cover letter describing how this class will be of use to you and your career interests via email to Jessica Roberto ([email protected]) by 5 PM on Monday, April 22, 2024 to be considered for this course.

Have questions about this unique academic opportunity? Click here to watch the recording of our virtual Information Session with instructor Minda Brusse. (UW NetID Login Required)

Class Details

This is a multi-quarter class.

  • Autumn: 4-credit class to be held on Mondays from 6-9:30 p.m.
  • Winter: 4-credit class to be held on Mondays from 6-9:30 p.m.
  • Spring: 2-credit class to be held once per week from 6:00-7:50pm.

Find out more from our Blog

ENTRE 579 Angel Investing is a year-long elective focused on angel investing and entrepreneurship. This class is extremely hands on. As part of the curriculum, you and another student will regularly attend meetings of an angel investor group in the greater Seattle area. You will be responsible for evaluating, as a co-investing member of the group, the entrepreneurs who pitch to the group over the course of the year, for consideration of investment by the class.

Class meets one evening per week. Fall quarter is intensive in-class learnings about angel investing, while attending angel group meetings, to prepare for winter and spring quarters focused on actively working on diligence for companies for possible investment. Our intention is to make 2 angel investments (totaling in the $50,000 range) in the best two companies we see. If we do this well, future classes will reap that return, and use the capital to continue the program. Over the course of the year, you will get very good at entrepreneurial strategy, due diligence work, evaluating investment pitches by entrepreneurs, business model design, and relationship building with investors. This class will be more hands-on than any class you have had thus far. You will need to be self-motivated, mobile, and sharp to succeed in this class.

Because we partner with angel groups, the class size is limited to 12 to 16 second-year MBA students, and entry is quite competitive. The class, which is 4 credits in fall, 4 credits in winter and 2 credits in spring, will be held Monday evenings from 6 – 9:30 PM in the fall.

Instructor Information

Minda Brusse is both a Founding Partner at First Row Partners and a Venture Partner for 2048 Ventures. In advising founders and helping new investors enter the ecosystem, Minda advocates for greater participation by people who are traditionally underrepresented in tech. Prior to investing, Minda was a business co-founder or leadership team member for four tech startups. She began her career at Accenture in change management and business process design for Fortune 100 companies.

Venture Capital Investment Practicum (ENTRE 542)

Registration information

Request this class through the usual registration channels.

Class Details

Instructor: James Newell, Partner at Voyager Capital

Quarter offered: Autumn (2 credits)

See the Autumn 2019 syllabus

See how our team performed at the 2015 VCIC

Course Description
This course provides an overview of the venture capital world. Though the capstone of the class is the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), the curriculum is more broadly designed to provide students with the necessary tools to evaluate early-stage investment opportunities. Attendance, however, is limited to students who fully intend to participate in the intramural VCIC. The class is interactive and integrative – every session will involve student activity and every subsequent week will build on the materials covered previously. Guest speakers include entrepreneurs, VCs, early-stage attorneys and prior VCIC competitors; and, students will engage with them on a weekly basis. Through team-based exercises, Q&A and role play, you’ll get into character as a venture capitalist. We will cover such basics as business analysis, valuation, term sheets, the investment life cycle and negotiations. Venture Deals – Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist, by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson is required reading; other readings will be topical, online research as recommended by industry experts – the more research you do, the more you will get out of the class. The course will entail weekly deliverables and readings; one set of responses will be required for each team. It is a 2-credit, C/NC course, but credit cannot be granted to students who miss more than two classes.

What is VCIC?
The premier entrepreneurial strategy competition for more than 60 of the top international business schools, the VCIC is entering its 22nd year. Turning the traditional business plan competition on its head, students pose as venture capitalists managing a $150 million fund. Student teams will read and evaluate business plans, interview CEOs, make an investment decision, and construct and negotiate a term sheet – all in a fish bowl under observation by real life venture capitalist judges. The UW intramural competition will be held at UW in early January 2021. The winning team will compete at a regional competition against schools across the Western US, and eight regional champions will move forward to the 22nd annual international competition—held virtually for 2021. The UW has a strong VCIC tradition, winning world championships in 2004 and 2006 and a second place finish in 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2020.

Contact the instructor James Newell at [email protected]

General questions? Contact the Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734

Technology Commercialization (ENTRE 541)

Registration information

Request this class through the usual registration channels.

Class details

Thousands of patents for innovative technologies are granted each year, yet only a fraction of them reach the market as products. Turning technology into a compelling product—and bringing that product successfully to market—is the opportunity of technology commercialization.

Experience the process of building an effective commercialization plan for a promising technology invented by you or other researchers.

Through lectures, case studies, and guest speakers, this course provides students with hands-on experience building and presenting a commercialization plan for an innovative new technology. Students will be part of cross-disciplinary teams to learn how to take advantage of the skills and insights of peers from other disciplines. Past teams have included students from bio-engineering, business, engineering, health sciences, information science, and law.

Technologies and Markets
Students will evaluate an innovative technology (of their own discovery or selected from a pool) for potential markets with the goal of answering: What is the business application for this technology and in which markets can we be successful? Is there freedom to operate?

Products and Business Models
Looking deeper at target markets and business model choices, students will develop a product concept and a financial model for a successful business. Answering the question: What product are we selling and how will we profitably reach the market?

Planning and Presenting
Taking all the knowledge gathered in their analysis students will build a commercialization plan and present it to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors. The goal: Getting a “green light” for commercialization.

Instructor Information

Instructor: Lisa Hjorten
Email: [email protected]

Software Entrepreneurship (ENTRE 532)

Application information

By application. Permission of the instructors is required in order to ensure balance among the participants. Visit the Computer Science & Engineering page for more information.

Class details

See the Winter Quarter 2021 Syllabus.

A case- and project-based course, focusing on starting a software or hardware company. Guest entrepreneurs, lawyers, and financiers discuss market identification & analysis, planning the business, financing, and typical operating/administrative problems.

Course Objective
The course objectives are two-fold: (1) to develop an awareness and understanding of the range, scope, and complexity of issues involved in startups; and (2) to gain insight into how entrepreneurs conceive, adapt, and execute strategies to create new enterprises.

Course Overview
This course is about entrepreneurship and specifically about starting, growing, managing, leading, and ultimately exiting a new venture. Two-thirds of your grade will be based on a pitch and business plan that you develop with your team.

The course sessions will follow the natural order of starting a new business: choosing your idea and your team, honing your initial pitch, dealing with the legal issues of starting a business, deciding among financing strategies, developing a go-to-market and operating plan, and exiting successfully. We will spend part of nearly every three-hour block giving you feedback on your actual pitch and your idea. To ensure that this course is practical, we will invite numerous guests who are currently working in the venture ecosystem: CEOs, venture capitalists, lawyers, journalists, etc. It should be a fun ride. We hope you enjoy it! Learn more on the Computer Science & Engineering website.

Instructor Information

Instructors: Ed Lazowska from the School of Engineering, and Greg Gottesman managing director at Madrona Venture Group. Madrona has funded more than a dozen UW CSE startups. Greg and Matt are the very best. They have a wealth of experience to share.

For a number of years, Greg Gottesman and his fellow Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Matt McIlwain have taught an entrepreneurship course in the Foster School of Business. During Winter 2014 they taught the course in Computer Science & Engineering, targeted to a technical audience that included Foster School MBA students as well as CSE undergraduate and graduate students. Greg offered a repeat of the course in Winter 2015 – an offering that added students from Interaction Design to the mix – and will offer it again in Winter 2016. Greg is now a Venture Partner at Madrona, and Managing Director and Co-Founder of Pioneer Square Labs.

Greg joined Madrona in 1997. Madrona has funded more than 15 UW CSE startups. Greg is the very best. He and the colleagues he will rope into providing guest lectures and student feedback have a wealth of experience to share. The course is, above all, practical – interdisciplinary teams will develop a pitch, product demo, and business plan.

Business Plan Practicum (ENTRE 540)

Winter Quarter 2018 | 2 credits | Tuesdays, 6-7:50 p.m. | PACCAR Hall 192
Cross-listed: ENTRE 440/540

Requirements for Credit

Attendance: Student participation is a big part of this class, and attendance is required to receive credit. You are allowed to miss two Resource Night classes and still receive credit. Be sure to sign in during the session. If you didn’t see the sign-in sheet, you need to confirm your attendance. It is your responsibility to sign in at each session.

Course assignment/deliverables: : Assignments will take the form of various blog post readings and short surveys. The deliverables for the course are a Business Planning Template (BPT) assignment, and a Company Pitch PowerPoint. The BPT is a simple tool outlining elements of a sound business plan. Every team/student must provide and justify answers for each element in a final document of no more than 5 pages. The BPT is designed to help students develop the framework for the executive summary developed to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition.

No assignment extensions will be granted.

Course materials

Entre 440/540 Course Syllabus, Winter 2018
Reading list, Winter 2018

To register, graduate students email [email protected].

Environmental Innovation Practicum (ENTRE 543)

Listed under: ENTRE 543/443, ENGR 498A, and ENVIR 495
To register, email [email protected]

This unique interdisciplinary course focuses on what it takes to develop innovative cleantech solutions to environmental challenges and creating exciting new business opportunities along the way. Speakers include top experts in science, engineering, social science, business, entrepreneurial finance, policy and law. Topics cover a wide range including alternative energy, food systems, green building, waste reduction, transportation, and more. Interested teams are invited to enter their solutions in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge.

For information on the course or the EIC contact Lauren Brohawn at [email protected].

Quarter(s) Offered Prerequisites Credits Instructors Syllabus
Autumn None 2 credit/no-credit Chris Primack Metcalfe Visit the Environmental Innovation Practicum tab for more information.

Health Innovation Practicum (ENTRE 545)

Registration information

Email [email protected]

Class details

Quarter offered: Autumn (2 credits)

This class teaches the mechanics of taking a promising healthcare solution from inception to commercialization. Topics will revolve around the big problem areas, biodesign processes, and the health innovation pipeline, including issues related to intellectual property, company formation, healthcare markets and reimbursement, and the medical regulatory process. The goal is to help students innovate and create solutions to the toughest health challenges we face –on a domestic or global scale. Although not required, teams are invited and encouraged to go beyond the class to compete in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge.

Instructor Information

Instructors: Will Canestaro

Will Canestaro is a Manager Director at WRF Capital, where he is focused on investments in biotechnology and engineering and a guest instructor at the University of Washington.

Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ENTRE 600) – By Application

Application information

This course is open to all MBAs, as well as TECs who have completed the ENTRE core classes. To apply, please submit your resume and a completed application to [email protected] by April 16, 2017.
Entre Law Clinic Application 2017

Email [email protected] with questions.

Class details

Instructor: Jennifer Fan

Quarters offered: Autumn Quarter 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fridays 10:30 AM – 12:20 p.m.
Independent Study (2 credits)

Please Note: You can take 1, 2, or 3 quarters of this class consecutively starting in autumn.

See the Autumn 2015 syllabus.

The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) is an innovative clinic serving entrepreneurs throughout the Pacific Northwest. The course is taught and administered by the UW School of Law and supported by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The Clinic teams law and business students with pro bono attorneys and business advisors to provide critical early stage legal and business counseling to local start-ups and small businesses. In most cases, teams will include students and supervisors in each of three areas relevant to entrepreneurial ventures: intellectual property (IP); corporate/securities/commercial law; and tax. Teams will also include an MBA or joint JD-MBA student who provides business planning and management advice. The ELC has represented nearly every grand prize winner of the Dempsey Startup Competition since its inception.

Who is eligible: The ELC is available to second year MBAs, and Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate students who have completed their Entre core classes, as an independent study (ENTRE 600 for 2 credits) in autumn, winter and spring quarters. MBAs/TECs may earn up to 2 credits per quarter of participation, and if you participate in two quarters, you will also fulfill one practical experience activity. It is preferable for all selected students to participate for the academic year, however it is not required. Please indicate on your application if you are able to participate in one, two or three quarters (you must start in autumn if only participating for one quarter). Grading is on a credit/no credit basis.

What’s expected of the MBA/TEC ELC team member: You must attend the ELC course weekly during the quarter, and be willing to devote roughly 10 hours per week to your client work with your teammates. The MBA/TEC student will be responsible for the review and assessment of the client’s current business model/plan, while the law students focus on the legal issues for the client. Each MBA/TEC will be assigned their own business mentor to discuss their client research and findings with throughout the quarter.

New Ventures Practicum (ENTRE 600)

Application information

If you want to take this class for credit, please email your resume and a one-page statement of interest to Contact the Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734. Please indicate your department, graduation year, and areas of expertise and/or interest within the technology sector (IT, life sciences, etc.). These opportunities are competitive so be as specific as you can about why you are the right fit for a particular technology sector and have the skill set, experience, and background to do an exceptional job. Review the projects at the above link. An interview with CoMotion will be scheduled with selected applicants.

Class details

Quarters offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
10 hours/week

Available Projects: Engineering Projects and Life Sciences Projects

Want to gain start-up skills? Interested in technology commercialization?

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and CoMotion are working together to provide an opportunity for MBA and other UW graduate students to expand their career experience.

CoMotion’s New Ventures unit, which helps evolve ideas from concept to start-up, is recruiting graduate students with strong business and marketing skills, and an interest in technology commercialization. Students may be assigned to work on a specific start-up project, with an entrepreneur-in-residence, or a technology manager on multiple projects. Students become integral members of CoMotion start-up teams who conduct market research, develop business plans, and explore funding potential.

What will you gain?

  • Opportunity to work with CoMotion’s experienced technology managers to identify and support promising new technologies for development and commercialization.
  • Potential opportunity to take your technology project to UW competitions, such as the Buerk Center’s UW Environmental Innovation Challenge and Dempsey Startup Competition.
  • Mentorship from CoMotion’s team of entrepreneurs-in-residence, seasoned entrepreneurs and business executives who work closely with teams on product and market development as they explore funding opportunities and staffing needs.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with UW’s entrepreneurial researchers across campus.
  • Invitations to entrepreneurial seminars, showcases and networking events.
  • Letters of recommendation from Technology Managers and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.
  • Development of concrete deliverables to add to your resume and/or portfolio.

Course Credit
This independent study is available year round for autumn, winter and spring quarters (with the potential to continue forward), and are eligible for 2 credits per quarter (ENTRE 600). You will be awarded a credit / no credit grade. If you just want the experience and not the credit, we can discuss an option to volunteer your time to work on the projects within the same structure of the for-credit option.

Time Commitment
Expect to spend about 10 hours a week for the quarter on a combination of meetings, phone calls, and independent research. If you are a student who also has a full-time job, please comment on your flexibility and availability for meetings with inventors and the tech managers.

Direct application/class questions to the Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734.
Direct project specific questions to Jeanette Ennis (CoMotion) at [email protected]

Additional Entrepreneurship Classes

Biomedical Entrepreneurship ENTRE 579 / BIOE 505 (4 credits) Winter
Entrepreneurial Decision Making ENTRE 530 (4 credits) Winter
Entrepreneurial Finance ENTRE 557 / FIN557 (4 credits) Autumn, Winter
Entrepreneurial Marketing ENTRE 555 / MKTG 555 (4 credits) Autumn, Winter
Entrepreneurial Strategy ENTRE 510 (4 credits) Autumn
Foundations of Entrepreneurship ENTRE 509 (2 credits) Spring
Innovation Strategy ENTRE / MGMT 522 (4 Credits) Winter
New Product Marketing/Development MKTG 510 (4 credits)