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University of Colorado Boulder

Getting Started with Technology Startups

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


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This course describes what it means to be an entrepreneur and clarifies some of the distinguishing characteristics of technology entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial concepts, processes, & support systems are introduced from a holistic perspective. Methods and strategies for idea and opportunity recognition and development are provided to help identify new product ideas and solutions. Core concepts introduced include market gap analysis, sustainable competitive advantage, vision, mission, and customer value proposition. Getting Started with Startups can be taken for academic credit as part of CU Boulder’s Master of Engineering in Engineering Management (ME-EM) degree offered on the Coursera platform. The ME-EM is designed to help engineers, scientists, and technical professionals move into leadership and management roles in the engineering and technical sectors. With performance-based admissions and no application process, the ME-EM is ideal for individuals with a broad range of undergraduate education and/or professional experience. Learn more about the ME-EM program at


  • Introduction to Technology Entrepreneurship
    • This session introduces the concept and practice of technology entrepreneurship and what it means to be an entrepreneur. Myths and benefits of entrepreneurship are reviewed, and entrepreneurial thinking is presented. The ability to fulfill a personal sense of purpose that makes a positive impact on the world is viewed from an entrepreneurial perspective.
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset--Self-efficacy, Leadership, Perspectives, Orientation, and Support
    • Foundational entrepreneurial concepts, processes, & support systems are examined including the entrepreneurial mindset, self-efficacy, and the capacity to hold multiple perspectives. The concept of entrepreneurial orientation and self-assessment provide a basis for identifying motivators and supports for developing new product and service ideas.
  • Idea and Opportunity Recognition
    • This session introduces some of the options, methods, and strategies for recognizing new product or service ideas and opportunities. Market gap analysis is combined with a personal skills and resource inventory approach to identifying customer problems and unmet needs. Learners will propose their initial ideas for a new product offering to be used in course projects.
  • Idea and Opportunity Development
    • This session introduces key concepts, tools, and methods for developing new product ideas and opportunities. Design thinking is introduced, and the internal and external dimensions of the entrepreneurial landscape are reviewed. The meaning and importance of establishing a sustainable competitive advantage is presented. Learners will review, revise, and refine their initial ideas for a new product offering and describe a customer value proposition.
  • Idea and Opportunity Development
    • The concepts of entrepreneurial vision and mission are introduced and a method for their design is presented. The relationship between vision, mission, and business strategy is explained and an overview a basic business model is provided. Learners are guided to construct vision, mission, and strategy statements for their new venture.

Taught by

John E. Thomas


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