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BDIC 397A: Intro to Entrepreneurship I 

Calendar of Events

Unless otherwise noted all class sessions are from 5:30-7:15 pm in E Lab II.

By default, all homework assignments are due on 11:59pm on the day indicated.

1/18 Cancelled due to snow!

1/25 Orientation & Entrepreneur Panel (topic TBA) - What is this class & EI?  How can it help me?  Meet the EI team and former EI students.

Homework (due 1/31): From Zero to $, Importance of Relationships and Networking, Idea Generation & Evaluation, Getting to Know You Survey, and discussions (optional).

2/1 Practicum - In "Practicum" sessions 2-3 students will pitch their ideas to the class and get extensive feedback from one of the EI instructors and their peers.

2/8 Entrepreneur Panel (Restaurants, Cafes, & Bars) & Workgroups - A moderated panel discussion with entrepreneurs followed by dedicated time for teams to work in person on their venture ideas with help from EI instructors.

2/15 Practicum


3/1 Entrepreneur Panel (EI Alumni) & Workgroups - A moderated panel discussion with entrepreneurs followed by dedicated time for teams to work in person on their venture ideas with help from EI instructors.  Confirmed Speakers: Ryan Durkin of CampusLive, Conor White-Sullivan of Localocracy, Joe Carabase of Carabase Training, DBA of M.E.LT. Fitness Studio and Brian Mullen of Therapeutic Systems.

Homework (due: 3/7): The Executive Summary Lecture (Part I: Introduction, company, need, solution, Part II: Market, Part III: Competition, business model, Part IV: Financials, exit, impact, Part V: People, deliverables) and discussions (optional).

3/8 Practicum


3/22 Startup Financials Live Lecture & Activitiy -

Homework (due: 3/28): Best practices in Written Documents, Marketing for Startups (Part I: Market Research, Part II: Positioning, Channels, & Methods, Part III: Methods and conclusion), Introduction to the Flavors of Capital (Part I: Intro, F&F, Customers, & Debt, Part II: Equity, Small Grants, & Large Grants, Part III: Crowdsourcing).

3/29 Practicum

Homework : Peer review of draft 1 of executive summaries, discussions (optional)

4/5 Executive Summary Workshop - Bring 3 printed copies of your executive summary. This class session is dedicated to answering final questions about the competition and helping you get input on your documents.

Homework: Submit final version of executive summary, discussions (optional) 

4/12 Competition "Dress rehearsal" - Finalists practice live to their peers. We all do our best to help them prepare and in so doing, share lessons applicable to nearly all Ventures, not just the finalists.

4/19 (4:30-7:30pm) UMass EI Exec. Sum. Competition Our top five teams will compete for cash prizes awarded by a panel of real-world entrepreneurs, investors and bankers. Learn more about the competition, how to compete, and how to fulfill your executive summary submission requirement for the class.

Note: as this event runs late, the after-class social doesn't start until around 8:00 pm.

Key Course Requirements

  • Attendance
  • Secure & make use of a mentor
  • Survey
  • Write an executive summary (using our template)

Executive Summary Writing And Submission

Suggested Reading

  • Getting Started as an Entrepreneur
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany

Where & When: Tuesdays 5:30-7:15pm, Location: E Lab II.
Join us after class at Rafters at 7:30 pm for our weekly social and networking session. Note: Rafter's is for ALL AGES.  We provide food; you provide your own drinks.  Come and enjoy learning in an informal environment.

Registration: To register on SPIRE for the EI courses 397A, use Bachelor's Degree w/ Individual Concentration as the academic department.  If you need help registering, contact Linda Roney at [email protected]

Class Mentors: Bob Lowry (UMass alum), Paul Silva (UMass alum)

Instructors of Record: Bob Hyers (Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) , Dan Gordon (Professor, History and BDIC)

Student Assistants: Alex Marashian ([email protected]), Maclellan Swan (), and Kelsey Anderson ()

Course Description: In this 1-credit course, students explore the entrepreneurial career path. Those with ideas will learn how to attract a team and turn ideas into reality. Those seeking ideas will be shown how to create and evaluate opportunities. Students will be encouraged to form real companies.  The course is also designed to teach leadership skills that will be useful in any profession.  By the end of the class student will have completed an executive summary suitable to be shown to mentors and advisors.