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MAN 458: Crowdfunding for Ecological Entrepreneurship

MAN 458


Course Outline

What is sustainability? Is it just ecology, or something more? How can my venture help to heal the planet? How do we utilize AI to design crowdfunding campaigns that promote human well-being?
This hands-on course at the intersection of cinematics, business studies and ethics will familiarize students with developing sustainable business ideas and help them harness the power of the crowd, AI and smartphones to turn them into reality.

In workshop sessions, students team up to develop their own sustainable business idea, design a crowdfunding campaign for financing and shoot their own crowd video. We will learn from experts how to create our own videos. Overall, the course embraces re-thinking our role as humans for how we can develop economies that align with the intertwined nature of society and ecology, where success is more than short-term profit, but a balance of ecology, economy, purpose and happiness – all drivers of human well-being. 

Finally, this course aims to promote dialog, exchange of experiences and collaboration between participants in an enjoyable setting - with the ultimate goal of finding the best-damn-sustainable-start-up-idea (bdssi). Is this a course for you? Hell, yes!


Learning Outcomes

Students are capable to:

  • understand fundamental concepts of crowdfunding for human well-being,
  • work in teams to develop their sustainable startup ideas, 
  • generate a business model with economic viability,
  • craft multimedia content for a crowdfunding campaign and plan campaign management,
  • pitch their video, business and campaign plan in front of an expert jury.


  1. Students that have absolved MBS M1 (Summer School) SEC 3 or MAN 450 or MAN 456 in past semesters cannot enlist in this course.

  2. Students from all semesters and faculties (including non-business studies and exhange students) are welcome.


Students willing to take the course have to register for the course between 15.01.2024 - 08.02.2024. All students who want to register have to do ALL of the following:

  1. register to the course via Portal2.
  2. send an email to the course instructor [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] with "MAN 458 Registration" in the subject line, and attach their CV (1 page) and transcript of grades. 
  3. since you will receive the feedback if you are accepted to the course on 12.02.2024, please refrain from sending Emails before this date regarding your status or regarding the receipt of your email.

Course capacity is strictly limited as the format involves groupwork. Thus, students who registered but decided not to participate in the course have to deregister from the course during the deregisteration period indicated in Portal2Please see Portal2 for the periods of deregisteration and notification of acceptance for the course.



Attendance is mandatory and all students are required to attend all classes (exceptions are only made for students who provide a medical certificate or have an exam).


Place and Time


  • 04.03.2024 (9:00 - 18:00); Place: MAFINEX Technologiezentrum, Hub 1 (2. Floor in Block C)
  • 05.03.2024 (9:00 - 18:00); Place: 008.1 Seminar room (B 6, 30-32 section E-F)
  • 13.05.2024 (9:00 - 18:00); Place: ExpLAB, University Library Schloss Schneckenhof 


  • Crowdfunding video & pitch, campaign- & business plan


Persons in Charge

Melania Riefolo: PhD Student Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation, Italy

Robert Dehghan: COO ISTARI.AI / PhD Student Entrepreneurship, #MannheimerForLife

Dr. Jan-Philipp Ahrens: won 15 research awards, nominated for another 15, #MannheimerForLife


Course Load and Language


Language: English


Related items


  • University of Mannheim
  • Institut für Mittelstandsforschung
  • Gründerverbund
  • ESF
  • Europäische Union
  • Baden-Württemberg - Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft
  • Absolventum