Entrepreneurship and innovation courses

Undergraduate courses

The Wayne State University Undergraduate Bulletin includes a comprehensive list of EI course descriptions. View the Schedule of Classes to see which EI courses will be offered in the upcoming term.

Graduate courses

The Wayne State University Graduate Bulletin includes a comprehensive list of EI course descriptions. View the Schedule of Classes to see which EI courses will be offered in the upcoming term.

Campus-wide courses

To explore campus-wide course offerings by semester, click on the items below.

PDF: Fall 2018 EI course offerings PDF: Winter 2018 EI course offerings


Special Topics: Innovation Commercialization

  • Offered in the new Mike Ilitch School of Business building on Thursdays from 6-8:30 p.m. 

  • Course listed as section 002 of EI 5900 / EI 7800 and MGT 7700

This is an experiential learning course where students will explore key issues in early-stage venture development and the class will be organized into startup teams will be working with an emerging technology or an innovation startup to develop a commercialization strategy and plan. Students will also be given an opportunity to present their own technology or tech startup for consideration. The primary deliverable in the course is a professional quality project which clearly articulates a business model and the commercialization alternatives for an innovation. In this course, students explore key challenges that differ for pure startups versus technology ventures launched by established firms through the use of selected readings and contextualized via guest speakers and real-life entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial examples of success and failure.

The course will be taught by special lecturer Edward Kim, who currently serves as a mentor-in-residence with the WSU Technology Commercialization Office and as an industry advisor for the University of Pittsburgh Medical School Coulter Translation Research Program.

Students will:

  • Develop their ability to test business hypotheses through direct customer engagement and learn how to validate ideas and concepts for moving a technology forward.
  • Develop their skills, gain experience and knowledge that will translate directly to their startups or corporate jobs and hone their ability to make an impact.
  • Be challenged to develop and iterate business models based on an evidence-based decision process.
  • Learn and apply conceptual frameworks and tools equally critical to technology- and manufacturing-based startups and corporate technology ventures.
  • Apply principles critical to the commercialization process, including value proposition development, customer discovery, business & financial modeling and preparation to raise capital.

Special Topics: Social Entrepreneurship-Impact Investing

  • Offered in the new Mike Ilitch School of Business building and will meet for two weekends, Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 19-21

  • Course listed as section 003 of EI 5900 / EI 7800 and MGT 7700

David ContorerThis course will help students explore impact investing through a combination of expert presenters and hands-on case studies and a project that will explore this growing field.  Students will learn how successful impact investments are structured and will be able to design their own project addressing an area of social impact in our region through an entrepreneurial funding and service model. Social entrepreneurship models and theories focus on social impact to address complex and protracted social problems such as poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. Social entrepreneurs and innovators develop and deliver products and services to individuals and communities often overlooked, and in so doing they have transformed the way industry views and serves them. Taught by two experienced social entrepreneurs – Marijo Upshaw and David Contorer – this course is designed for those who want to understand impact investing from the perspective of an individual investor and/ or as a career option. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Define impact investing and distinguish the differences among socially responsible investing, impact investing and venture philanthropy
  • Identify the key elements of and actors in the impact investing ecosystem
  • Understand the role of the impact investor in addressing protracted social problems and achieving social impact
  • Identify a range of applications where impact investing is used to address society's most pressing problems
  • Translate a social problem into an impact investing opportunity through the development of a social enterprise venture that addresses root causes of social problems, engages and communities in solving their own problems, and builds a sustainable business model.

Spring / Summer 2018

Special Topics: Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Course listed as EI 5900 / EI 7800

Social innovators, wavemakers, change agents, and impact investors are applying business methods and entrepreneurial principles and practices to produce positive social change. Social entrepreneurship models and theories focus on social impact to address complex and protracted social problems like poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. Social entrepreneurs and innovators develop and deliver products and services to individuals and communities often overlooked, and in so doing they have transformed the way industry views and serves them. Taught by experienced social entrepreneur Marijo Upshaw, this course is designed for students who are looking to start a social enterprise, as well as those students who are just curious about the field and want to explore career opportunities. Students will gain:

  • An understanding of the emerging field of social entrepreneurship including its history, theories and concepts, with an emphasis on real-world practice applications 
  • Insights into the social entrepreneurship ecosystem that supports social innovation and enterprise
  • Knowledge and skills to develop their own business feasibility plan that explores starting a new social venture, nonprofit or commercial enterprise
  • First-hand knowledge of the Detroit social entrepreneurship ecosystem through guest lecturers and experiential learning activities focused on regional social innovation activities.

Marketing New Ventures
Course listed as EI 5600 / EI 7600

Determining whether a market exists is often a critical early challenge for a new venture, as is the task of implementing a plan to produce early positive results and a sustainable competitive advantage in the market. Students taking this course dive into several distinct areas where marketing plays a critical role in the success of a new venture: validating the desirability of the core idea/ solution, determining the size of the market opportunity and the solution/ market fit, providing critical inputs to the refinement of the business model, and in the creation of a coherent and compelling marketing strategy and plan to get, keep and grow the customers to sustain the new venture.  Taught by Jeff Stoltman, a marketing professor and Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programs at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, upon completion of this course, students can:

  • Implement inexpensive, reliable methods to validate the desirability of a product/ solution;
  • Refine a viable value proposition and positioning statement based on customer insights;
  • Apply entrepreneurial thinking to market opportunity analysis and product/ market fit, and to the estimation of market size, identification of market segments, and target market selection;
  • Understand the characteristics of a business ecosystem and develop a preliminary understanding of key competitors and new venture success factors;
  • Develop a go-to-market marketing strategy and program and design effective approaches to marketing communication which will support effort to get, keep and grow customers under conditions of significant resource constraints;
  • Design the marketing inputs to "pitches" designed to sell an idea to investors, customers, partners, and key employees.

The Entrepreneur's Ecosystem
Course listed as FIN 5280 / FIN 7290

This course focuses on resources essential for the entrepreneur's success, such as the role of incubators and accelerators in the very early stages of a startup. Students will explore various funding avenues available to the entrepreneur such as angel funding, superangels, crowdfunding, microloans, venture capital, mezzanine funding, staged financing, and exit. Students also learn about the purpose and structure of a pitch deck and the anatomy of a successful business plan. The course examines the challenges of financing a start-up and structuring a deal with financiers and explores how VCs evaluate a business. In addition to speakers (VCs, angels, etc.), students will attend a symposium where entrepreneurs pitch their existing businesses to VCs for funding and students will visit several organizations within the entrepreneur's ecosystem. Taught by Mai Datta, Professor of Finance and Faculty Fellow of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Mike Ilitch School of Business, upon completion of this course students can:

  • Identify various sources of financing available and the pros and cons of each and develop a recommendation as to the type of funding which is appropriate in each situation.
  • Explain the decisions of the different participants in the venture capital industry in the U.S. and Michigan and understand a typical venture fund deal structure.
  • Explain financial factors driving the growth of entrepreneurship worldwide.
  • Analyze deal structure and understand the typical investment terms found in the term sheet and financial contracts with VC.
  • Evaluate a business model / business plan and identify the important ingredients in a pitch that could lead to funding.

Winter 2018

Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Special Section at TechTown
Course listed as EI 5000 / EI 7000; must sign up for Tuesday section

This special section will be taught at TechTown, Detroit's entrepreneurship hub offering programs and services helping startup, emerging and established companies develop, launch and grow. Your instructors will be Regina Ann Campbell, managing director, place-based entrepreneurship and Paul Riser, managing director, tech-based entrepreneurship. Experience the range of entrepreneurial activities occurring and connect with the TechTown network of professionals and entrepreneurs as you develop greater depth and breadth of knowledge of what it takes to create and launch a startup.

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the types of entrepreneurship and innovation, factors impacting success, and pitfalls to be avoided
  • Develop business model creation skills through project-based learning designed to developing a value proposition, and achieve optimal problem-solution, product-Market and business model-market fit
  • Build their own map of the startup ecosystem, consisting of the founders, funders, advisors and the customers they serve

Special Topics: Entrepreneurial Studies of Innovation
Course listed as EI 5800 / EI 7800 / MGT 7700

This project-based course engages student teams to develop and apply the skills necessary to develop a game-changing value proposition. Innovations that succeed in raising capital will identify a market opportunity, validate that opportunity and apply entrepreneurial rigor in the process. Taught by special lecturer Jim Fish with some classes held at the newly opened Lear Innovation Center, this class provides the tools necessary to filter down the ideas truly capable of succeeding in a capital raise. Both Lear Corporation and Quicken Loans will present a corporate challenge providing students with the opportunity to work with these firms as they explore opportunities, validate a value proposition and address issues of feasibility. Students will also be encouraged to bring an idea-stage challenge to the class. Students will learn by doing, ultimately pitching to real investors for the chance to be funded. Guest speakers will include venture capital partners, startup-funded CEOs, corporate officers and successful entrepreneurs. 
This course is designed for:
  • Entrepreneurial students who wish to start their own business or experience the startup ecosystem
  • Creative students who wish to learn how to create value inside an existing entity
  • Students targeting positions in venture capital and private equity firms

Startup Funding and Profitability
Course listed as EI 5200 /  EI 7200

To secure funding to support technology commercialization, founders need to understand the different types and potential sources of funding, including government agencies, foundations,  corporations, angel funds,  venture capital and private equity. Knowing when and how to secure grants, debt and equity financing can be the difference between success and failure. In winter 2018, Startup Funding and Profitability will be taught by special lecturer Edward Kim and will focus on effective strategies for technology commercialization and funding new ventures. Students will explore key issues in early-stage venture development, such as how much money can and should be raised, when it should be raised and from whom, and a how to determine a reasonable valuation of a company. Live simulation and case studies will be used, and the class will be organized into startup teams that will create business plans, including corporate formation decisions, share allocation, financial models, and capital raise preparation.
Students will gain:
  • A greater understanding of the tools every entrepreneur needs to succeed in raising capital in the tech sector
  • A wider and deeper set of finance skills, customized for early-stage company needs
  • Deeper insights into different financing options


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