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MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2021)

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2021)


Fall 2021 Situation

In accordance with the university policy to help fight the current COVID-19 pandemic, MCEI and the Chair of SME Research and Entrepreneurship conducts its teaching online for the fall semester 2021. All sessions will take place on Zoom and you will receive all the relevant information as well as exams online. Unfortunatly, this means that networking, which usually represents a major part of the entrepreneurship experience we offer, cannot take place like it used to. We therefore, encourage you to make use of our digital networking opportunities as well as look out for other opportunities in the ecosystem. We are looking forward to a great semester with you and we are certain you embark on an amazing entrepreneurial journey.


Course Outline

Founders and co-founders of startups such as Amorelie, contagt, Coffee Circle, Leaf Systems, Stocard and many others are students or alumni of the University of Mannheim. They all are examples of successful entrepreneurs, who have pursued new business opportunities in an innovative and path-breaking way. This course is about gaining a general understanding of entrepreneurship and its underlying theoretical foundations (lectures) combined with more applied elements (case studies + business model projects). Dealing with current and classical theories on entrepreneurship, the theory part aims at giving students a solid insight into the early stages of the startup lifecycle. The applied elements give students the possibility to train their skills and enhance their entrepreneurial toolkit. In the applied part, students will e.g. gain familiarity with the POCD (People Opportunity Context Deal) framework, business model analysis, identifying key value drivers of a new venture, customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value, marketing in the early stage of a startup, basic financial modeling of a startup, and a basic introduction to seed financing and venture capital. Founders and experts will come to our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks - these inspirational events go hand in hand with this class and your attendance of these open to public inspirational events is strongly recommended.

Overall, the course is intensive and requires students to carefully prepare, read and understand the course material (remember that 6 ECTS are a total workload of up to 180hrs). Active attendance and participation is strongly recommended. Even though we will have some hands-on elements in MAN 630, our applied class to found your own business is MAN 631 and our class to either further develop your advanced own startup or join a startup with a student team ist MAN 633. If you like theory and reading next to some practical insights or if you just want to obtain a solid foundation of what is entrepreneurship and see where the inspiration will take you, MAN 630 is the right class for you. MAN 630 sets focus on the nascent stage of startups up to seed and pre-Series A stage. We will discuss in lecture settings and have 4 additional case study sessions in which student teams will present their solutions and advice to startup challenges. Thus, theories presented will be combined with real-life cases. Additionally, guest speakers (i.e., entrepreneurs and/or academics) may come to class to shed light on specific topics of interest or how they have overcome challenges. Generally, our course is designed to enable you to get a grasp of the big picture: We work with a variety of theoretical lenses, literature and practical insights. This requires you to connect the dots and to engage in substantial self-study to read and reflect. This is not a class to learn things (i.e., slides) by heart and just jot them down on the final exam, just to prevent a mismatch of expectations. Case presentations will be a team effort. Beware of the following upsides and downsides: The course is tons of fun and highly rewarding but challenging and demanding in terms of its self-study elements and the case study team efforts. If your expectation is a class with lectures to randomly attend, this might not be your first choice.

What you can expect from us is a fun and rewarding atmosphere in class paired with optional Founder Talks and Startup Lounges (evening events) throughout the semester to get in touch with a lot of role models, business models and a fair chance to develop your networks. Overall, you can expect a perfect introduction to central theories in entrepreneurship and the Startup Ecosystem at and around the University of Mannheim and beyond.

The lectures will introduce students into classical and modern economic, psychological and sociological theories of entrepreneurship. Different types of entrepreneurship will be discussed and its importance for society will be highlighted. Further topics covered are business model creation, financial evaluation and financing the start-up. Our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks will bring in a lot of practical insights and networking opportunities.

The case study sessions follow an applied approach and complement the theory you learn during the lectures. We believe that you can only fully understand and master theory (e.g. how to plan, finance and operate entrepreneurial startups), if you apply theory to its relevant practical context. Accordingly, we strongly recommend 100% attendance and kindly ask you to prepare case solutions thoroughly (team effort). The purpose of this course is to provide students with both theoretical knowledge of entrepreneurship and practical skills for setting up businesses. Dealing with current and classical theories and recent empirical evidence on entrepreneurship, the lectures aim at giving students a solid insight into entrepreneurship research. The case study sessions put students into situations in which they have to apply their knowledge and train their entrepreneurial skills. Note that we will not write any business plans in this class but learn, e.g., how to get LTV, CAC and cash flow management right while also looking at entrepreneurship from various scientific lenses.

Side note on MAN 630 alternatives:

You should choose MAN 630 if you...

  • are interested in startups and entrepreneurship in general and want to gain a top-level view on both entrepreneurship in theory and practice;
  • are interested in combining insights from lectures with readings at home and with insights gained from speakers in Startup Lounges, Founder Talks and in class to maximize your learning;
  • like the practical world but do not want to lose sight of the underlying academic foundations;
  • love aiming for the big picture and discussing topics of interest from a variety of angles;
  • do not like courses based on keywords and phrases to learn by heart but on concepts that put things into perspective and help you finding your own way of sophisticated argumentation.

You should, however, not choose MAN 630 if you...

  • expect this to be a multiple-choice-style course of memorizing material and jotting buzzwords down on the exam. Our interactive style of teaching and a wealth of readings will get you frustrated – focus is set on understanding concepts rather than memorizing them.
  • expect teaching staff to tell you what to learn and what to forget – this is up to you (see point above).
  • want to develop or advance your own startup project in class. Apply for MCEI courses MAN 631 or MAN 633 Own Venture Track instead.
  • want to advance an existing startup project and get the feeling of what it is like to work in a startup with all the responsibilities this brings along. Join MAN 633 Inside the Venture Track instead.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will ...

  • have gained fundamental insights into theoretical perspectives on entrepreneurship;
  • have learned tools that facilitate starting a business;
  • have some idea on how investors look at new ventures;
  • be familar with case study training and elements of problem-based learning (PBL);
  • have improved their case solving and presentation skills;
  • have a solid basis for, e.g., a seminar or master thesis at our chair - especially "Inside the Venture" master theses;
  • have improved their problem solving capabilities.



Please register via the student portal prior to the first session. We highly appreciate diversity of all kind - including disciplines!

Please make sure that you register both for the MAN 630 "Lecture" and "Exercise" (registration is open from August 1, 2021).

Registration for case study sessions

It is not necessary to register for case study sessions upfront. We will coordinate case study groups via the MAN 630 Course Group once the course enrollment is final. We will form teams for this course and each team has to pick a Case Study Group. You can swap groups by Case Study Session given your availability if there are open time slots to present or teams who move to your session. Students who miss the Case Study team formation in Session 2 and the subsequent team effort will fail this part of the course (50% of their grade). Students may (by exception) miss out on individual sessions if they have engaged in the team effort of preparing the presentation and the team is okay with their absence. Dropping the class after team formation is not possible (see introduction lectures), as this would lead to fricticons and unnecessary strain on the teams. 

MCEI platform registration next to Portal²

Next to your Portal² registration, we ask you to join our MAN 630 course group on the MCEI platform ( Instructions will also be provided throughout the first sessions and via e-mail to all students who have registered via Portal². In this class, we do not work with the University of Mannheim ILIAS system for the course materials. All study material and other relevant information will be provided via the MCEI course group. If your have problems signing up, please contact the course coordinator. We will use the ILIAS system for online examination only. You will get all the neccessary information in the course.

Recommendations to the students

Our students are encouraged to join our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks on a regular basis - it is part of your entrepreneurial experience. Transferring insights from class to the real world by learning from real startups and their challenges is a substantial part of your learning. Remember that networking is an enabler of amazing opportunities. In general, the course is intensive. It requires students to carefully prepare all cases, read and understand the material, and participate actively in the class and in case discussions. Readings are important to understand the use cases as well as to follow the lectures and class discussions. All students are expected to participate in the case discussions and presentations. The active participation will help you significantly in preparing the exam, which is a continuous learning endeavor in this class, rather than a 1-week-learning of materials at the end of class. Students have to purchase the case studies themselves and prepare them upfront (Harvard Business School Publishing). MCEI cases will be provided via the course group.


Place & Time 

Check the schedule for detailed information.



The assessment in this class has multiple grading components. Please note that dropping the class after team building in Session 2 is not possible and will lead to failing the class. 

Grading Components: 

  • Written exam (50%) (individual)
  • Presentations/ Reports (40%) (team)
  • Peer Evaluation (10%) (individual)


Persons in Charge

Professor: Prof. Dr Michael Woywode

Course Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MCEI Startup Coach: Robert Dehghan


Course Load and Language


Language: English


Readings & Resources

Readings & Resources:

  • See detailed course outline below.

Additional Resources:

Course Materials: 

All course material will be provided via the MCEI Group 'MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship Fall 2021'.
We will not use ILIAS for course materials in this class. We will use ILIAS to cunduct online exams only.


Preliminary Schedule (Fall 2021). Please check back for updates!

Session 1 | September 9 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Entrepreneurship in the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) - General introduction for all students
  • Course introduction to MAN 630
  • What is entrepreneurship?

Core Readings:

  • Shane, S.A. (2003). A General Theory of Entrepreneurship: The Indiviudal-Opportunity Nexus. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. (Chap. 5)
  • Bhide, A. (1996).The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer. Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996, pp. 120-130.
  • Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing entrepreneurship - Conceptual challenges and ways forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165-184.

Recommended Readings (over the entire course):

  • Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup. New York: Crown Business.

Attention: The kick-off will be held on Zoom. Make sure to register on Portal2 so we can contact you about the login details. You will receive the login details prior to the first session on your university email address. If you have trouble registering for the course, please contact the course administrator. 


 Session 2 | September 16 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Who is the entrepreneur?
  • 'Who is the entrepreneur?' is the wrong question
  • Understanding entrepreneurship
  • Forming case study teams (attendance is crucial - coordinate via MCEI Group upfront if you cannot attend!)

Core Readings:

  • Gartner, W.B. (1989). ’Who Is an Entrepreneur?’ Is the Wrong Question. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 13(4), 47-68.
  • Shane, S. & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research. The Academy of Management Review, 25(1), 7-19.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chap. 1, 2)

Homework: Prepare Case Study


Case Study Session 1 |September 23 | Online

1st Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.00-11.00 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.15-12.15 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.30-13.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 4: 13.30-14.30 (4 teams, 13min. each) 


Session 3 |September 23 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Guest Talk Georg Harenberg/ Caras
  • A strategy for an (entrepreneurial) life


Session 4 | September 30 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Defining and measuring startups
  • Analyzing and measuring business growth
  • Growing the business
  • Guest Talk Johannes Britsch/ contagt

Core Readings:

  • Morrison, A., Breen, J., & Ali, S. (2003). Small business growth: intention, ability, and opportunity. Journal of small business management41(4), 417-425.
  • Welter, F., Baker, T., Audretsch, D. B., & Gartner, W. B. (2017). Everyday entrepreneurship—a call for entrepreneurship research to embrace entrepreneurial diversity. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice41(3), 311-321.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chap. 11 & 12)
  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chap. 13, 14 & 15)
  • Wyld, D.C., & Maurin, R. (2011). What Matters More in Growth Companies: The Leader or the Idea? Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(2), 95-96.


Case Study Session 2 | Oktober 7 | Online

2nd Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.00-11.00 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.15-12.15 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.30-13.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 4: 13.30-14.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)


Session 5 | October 7 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • An economists' perspectice and individual expected utility
  • Ecology perspective

Core Readings:

  • Baumot, W.J., & Strom, R. J. (2007) Entrepreneurship and economic growth. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(3-4), 233-237.
  • Aldrich, H.E. (1990). Using an Ecological Perspective to Study Organizational Founding Rates. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 14(3), 7-24.

Recommended Readings:

  • Kirchhoff, B.A. (1991). Entrepreneurship‘s Contribution to Economics. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 16 (2), 93-112.
  • Ruef, M. (2006). Boom and Bust: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Inertia on Organizational Populations. Advances in Strategic Management, 23, 29-72. (skim-read article)


Session 6 | October 14 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Nascent entrepreneurship and social networks
  • Social networks, opportunity recognition and resource mobilization

Core Readings:

  • Davidsson, P., & Honig, B. (2003). The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Vemturing, 18(3), 301-331.
  • Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Donnelly, P., Sell-Trujillo, L., & Imas, J.M. (2018). Liminal Entrepreneuring: The Creative Practices of Nascent Necessity Entrepreneurs. Organization Studies, 39(2-3), 373-395.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chap. 6 & 7 (skim literature))


Session 7 | October 21 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities
    • How are business opportunities evaluated?
    • Business model analysis
    • POCD, LTV, CAC
    • CCBN Case (self-study)

Core Readings:

  • Wood, M. S., & Williams, D. W. (2014). Opportunity Evaluation as Rule-Based Decision Making. Journal of Management Studies, 51(4), 573-602.
  • Foss, N. J., Klein, P.G., & Bjornskov, C. (2019). The Context of Entrepreneurial Judgment: Organizations, Markets, and Institutions. Journal of Management Studies, 56(6), 1197-1213.
  • CCBN Case ( by William A. Sahlman)

Homework: Prepare Case Study


Case Study Session 3 | October 28 | Online

3rd Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.00-11.00 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.15-12.15 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.30-13.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 4: 13.30-14.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)


Session 8 | October 28 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • The institutional context of entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Williamson, O.E. (2000). The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead. Journal of Economic Literature, 38 (3), 595-613.
  • Pacheco, D.F., York, J.G., Dean, T.J., & Sarasvathy, S.D. (2010). The coevolution of Institutional Entrepreneurship: A tale of two theories. Journal of Management, 36(4), 974-1010.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chapter 19 & 20 (skim literature))


Session 9 | November 4 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • International entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report 2020/21 and selected elements of other years 
  • Jones, M.V., Coviello, N., Tang, Y.K. (2011). International Entrepreneurship research (1989–2009): A domain ontology and thematic analysis. Journal of Business Venturing 26(6), 632-659.

Homework: Prepare Case Study


Session 10 | November 11 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Guest Talk Philipp Ortwein/ Instafreight
  • Financing early stage ventures
  • Building fast growing companies


Session 11 | November 18 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Guest Talk Dr. Michael Hoeck/ 5P Capital
  • Venture financing

 Homework: Prepare Case Study 


Case Study Session 4 | November 25 | Online

4th Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.00-11.00 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.15-12.15 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.30-13.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)
  • Group 4: 13.30-14.30 (4 teams, 13min. each)


Session 12 | November 25 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Innovation
  • Innovation ecosystems

Core Readings:

  • Ahlstrom, D. (2010). Innovation and Growth: How Business Contributes to Society. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(3), 11-24.
  • Isaak, R., Isaak, A., and Zybura, J. (2016). Replicating Silicon Valley: Talent and techno-management in a culture of serendipity. In Wang, H. and Liu, Y., editors, Entrepreneurship and Talent Management from a Global Perspective – Global Returnees, pages 149–187. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey, D.J. & Greene, F.J. (2010). Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. (Chap. 5)


Session 13 | December 2 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm


 Session 14 | December 9 | Online | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Re-cap & Exam Q&A

No additional readings




E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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