Stanford's New Online Course: Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Course teaches best practices of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and allows participants to test their own startup ideas.

February 13, 2014



In a new Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate course, Stanford Engineering Professor Tom Byers will teach participants how to develop a business model. | Photo courtesy of Elena Zhukova

Entrepreneurship drives the success of business, education, nonprofits and government. What are the key ingredients that drive success in entrepreneurial organizations? How do entrepreneurs capitalize on new ideas and bring them to market? Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mindset, a new Stanford online course, aims to teach the best practices of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists as well as allow participants to test their own startup ideas.

The course covers:

  • The transfer of technology ideas to market
  • Fundamentals of resource development including talent and capital
  • How to develop a business model
  • Thought processes employed by successful technology entrepreneurs

Through lectures, videos, and exercises, participants will understand venture finance, essentials of a business plan, human resources, and how a positioning statement can help a disruptive technology “cross the chasm.” To get a sense of the course, prospective participants may watch a free webinar video, The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship. Acceptance to the program is ongoing and participants may apply to the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate program online.

Tom Byers, who holds an endowed professorship in entrepreneurship at the Stanford School of Engineering, teaches the course. The winner of several teaching awards, Byers is a founding faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), which serves as the entrepreneurship center in the engineering school. He is also the author of “Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise.” Guest speakers in the course include Chi-Hua Chien, an investor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who was named one of the Top VCs Under 35 by VC Journal.

Available to anyone anywhere in the world, the course is the tenth in a series of classes offered as part of the online Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. Participants may enroll in just a single course or earn the professional certificate from Stanford by completing any 8 of 12 courses.


Other available online courses include:

Professionals around the world are able to access Stanford faculty and Silicon Valley experts as they learn essential skills and effective strategies for working in and managing innovative organizations. An engaging digital experience has been developed by the Stanford Center for Professional Development at the School of Engineering and Stanford GSB to deliver the course content.

Registration is open for all of the first 10 courses. Tuition is $995 for each course. More new courses will be introduced throughout 2014, including Innovating Through Value Chains and an innovation strategy course.

Courses are taught by Stanford University faculty, drawing on instructors from the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering, including its Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the, as well as Silicon Valley industry leaders. Faculty use highly interactive and occasionally unconventional methods. The online certificate program is led by faculty directors Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at the School of Engineering, and Hayagreeva Rao, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at the Graduate School of Business.

Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as professionals from startups, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit teams, and the public sector, will find the program to be practical and impactful. Given the level of material, participants must be fluent in written and spoken English. Participants will develop the skills to become catalysts for change as they learn how to foster innovation throughout their organizations. Whether this is someone’s first class in innovation or a chance to cultivate a deeper understanding and practice of innovation, participants will learn how to use innovative thinking for personal and professional success.

By Barbara Buell

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