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   Course Title    The Essence of Entrepreneurship
Lecturer    Ella Kalnina
Institution    Riga International College of Economics and Business Administration
Country    Latvia

1. The aims of the course are:

  • to analyze the relationship between the level of entrepreneurial activity within a country and the country’s degree of economic prosperity
  • to make students aware of new opportunities and threats arising from globalisation
  • to equip students with skills and visions to handle the new challenges
  • to study characteristics of a traditional entrepreneur vs. new types of entrepreneurs (immigrants, redundants, entrepreneurs) The course will address the phenomenon of female entrepreneurs.
  • to explore the idea of creativity in entrepreneurship
  • to explore the idea of innovation and to define the sources of innovation
  • to address the issues of impact of the Internet and e-commerce on business development

2. The role of the course in the overall curriculum

The course is aimed at fourth year students doing an undergraduate course in Business Studies. This is an elective course. The students must have already mastered the courses in management, marketing, financial accounting, corporate finance, commercial law, fundamentals of entrepreneurship, and have written a business plan as a course paper. The course ensures a holistic approach to the phenomenon of entrepreneurship with the emphasis on an opportunity for recognition and evaluation, as well as on the phenomena of creativity and innovation.

3. The teaching methodology includes lectures, workshops and case studies, assignments, presentation and guest speakers, including entrepreneurs. Continuous assessment is by assignments and end-of-term examinations.


4. Course structure and content

Duration of the course - 16 weeks

Contact hours - 32 h. Private study – 10 h

Lectures- 22 h

Workshops and case studies – 10 h


Week One. Lecture One.

  • Understanding entrepreneurship. Various definitions of Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship as a behavioral phenomenon. The essence of Entrepreneurship: commitment to opportunity, commitment to resources, control of resources, management structure. Key motives for entrepreneurs in market and transition economies.

Week Two. Lecture Two.

  • The global entrepreneurship monitor model. Level of Entrepreneurial activity and economic progress. The role of entrepreneurship is critical to economic growth. Model of Entrepreneurial processes affecting national economic growth. What makes a country entrepreneurial. Basic factors: Entrepreneurial Opportunity, Entrepreneurial Capacity, Infrastructure, Demography, Education, Culture.

Week Three. Lecture Three.

  • Countries with different levels of entrepreneurship. High level of entrepreneurial activity: USA, Canada, Israel. Medium – Italy, UK. Low – Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan
  • National comparisons. Social and economic factors for entrepreneurship development in Latvia.

Week Four. Lecture Four.

Types of entrepreneurs. Traditional entrepreneur vs. new types of entrepreneurs: immigrants, redundants, entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs. Traits of entrepreneurs in market and transition economies. Four Entrepreneurial styles: Administrator, Tactician, Strategist, Idealist.

Week Five. Workshop:

Characteristics of each style: Modus operandi, Values, Expectations, Lifestyle. Complementary roles of different styles. Determining your own entrepreneurial style.

Week Six. Lecture Five.

  • The nature of opportunity. Many companies, preoccupied with the strength of their resource base, are unable or unwilling to perceive momentous environmental changes. These companies turn opportunities into problems for fear of loosing strength. For entrepreneurs, on the other hand, external pressure stimulates opportunity recognition. These pressures include rapid change in: Technology, consumer economics, social values, political actions and regulatory standards. Entrepreneurship is the point at which entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial capacity meet. In dynamic markets, opportunity can be seen as the capacity to create change within the value chain.

Week Seven. Lecture Six.

Recognition and assessment of opportunity.

  • understanding the dimensions of the opportunity and reaching a conclusion regarding its attractiveness or unattractiveness;
  • understanding the magnitude – and key elements – of the effort that will be required to exploit the opportunity;
  • identifying a course of action – a strategy

Week Eight. Lecture Seven.

  • Window of opportunity. The ability to recognize a potential opportunity when it appears and to seize it as the window is opening, rather than slamming shut, are critical.
  • Criteria for evaluating venture opportunities: industry and market, economics, harvest issues, competitive advantage issues, management team, personal criteria, strategic differentiation

Week Nine. Case study.

Two professional women are contemplating a business venture. They must assess the nature of opportunity, what options it opens if they are to pursue the venture, and how they might finance the new business.

Week Ten. Lecture Eight.

  • The role of creativity in entrepreneurship. Creativity as the production of novel and useful ideas in any domain.
  • The components of Creativity: Expertise, Creative Thinking, Motivation.
  • Entrepreneurship in organization. How to stimulate it. Impact of the organizational environment on creativity.

Week Eleven. Lecture Nine.

  • Innovation is the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization. Entrepreneurial creativity. Entrepreneurship as a particular form innovation. "Innovate or Die". Case studies and examples from world practice.
  • Principles of innovation. The "do’s": Purposeful, systematic innovation begins with the analysis of the opportunities; innovation is both conceptual and perceptual; an innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and has to be focused, effective innovation starts small, aim at leadership. The "don’ts ": do not try to be too clever, do not diversify, do not try to do too many things at once, do not try to innovate for the future, innovate for the present.

Week Twelve. Lecture Ten.

  • Seven sources for innovative opportunity.

Changes within enterprise or industry: (1) the unexpected (success, failure etc.); (2) the incongruity (between reality as it actually is and reality as it is assumed to be); (3) innovation based on process need; (4) changes in industry structure or market structure that catch everyone unaware. Changes outside the enterprise of industry: (5) demographic; (6) changes in perception, mood or meaning; (7) new knowledge, both scientific and nonscientific. Home assignment.

Week Thirteen. Workshop. (based on home assignment)

Students should give presentations on innovative companies and processes in Latvia and define sources of innovation. Students should suggest their own innovations based on the seven sources discussed.

Week Fourteen. Lecture Eleven.

Guest lecture by a prominent Latvian entrepreneur.

Week Fifteen. Case study.

Entrepreneurs and the Internet. Staying in tune with the Internet culture. How an existing business can benefit from the Internet.

The case study describes the effort of two recent graduates to start a consulting company focused on opportunities related to the Internet. Raises the question of what the nature of the opportunity is, how well-positioned these people are to pursue it, and what the deal structure should be.

Week Sixteen. Workshop. (in computer lab)

Resources for entrepreneurs on the Internet

Exploring the web for information.

Exercises for students: Is a Career in Entrepreneurship Right For You?

5. Reading:

A. Mandatory

P.Drucker The Discipline of Innovation. "Harvard Business Review" November-December 1998.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. 1999 Executive Report. P.D.Reynolds, M. Hay, S.M. Camp. London Business School, Kaufman Centre for Entrepreneurial leadership, Babson College. On-line version.

Olaf Isachesen. Joining the Entrepreneurial Elite. Four Styles to Business Success. Davies-Black Publishing. 1996.

S. Birley, D.F. Muzyka. Mastering Enterprise. Financial Times Pitman Publishing. 1997 (Chapters 1,2,9).

Amar Bhide. How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work. Harvard Business Review. March-April 1994.

Teresa M. Amabile. How to Kill Creativity. Harvard Business Review. September-October 1998.

B. Recommended:

S. Birley, D.F. Muzyka. Mastering Enterprise. Financial Times Pitman Publishing. 1997 (Chapters 3-9,10).

Amar Bhide. The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer. Harvard Business Review. November-December 1996.

How Can Big Companies Keep the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive. Harvard Business Review. November-December 1995.


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