FU-BEST 26: Start-up Businesses: Theory and Practice in Berlin, Germany, and Europe

InstructorAndreas Voss, Janina Freigang
Credit Points5 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits


In this course, we introduce students to entrepreneurial thinking and acting by familiarizing them with state-of-the-art tools and methods they can use to turn ideas into actual business ventures. Participants acquire the start-up fundamentals required in order to found their own companies and receive an overview on topics such as corporate planning, start-up finance and pitching. Besides examining how to create the more traditional business plan, we will particularly focus on the following tools: Design Thinking, Systems Thinking, Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas. Furthermore, we look into creativity techniques which can help to generate business ideas and the most relevant tools needed to exploit one’s own research results. Students will use the newly learned tools and methods to analyze existing case studies and develop their own business ideas.

The course offers a mix of theoretical input as well as creative and practical group work, which encourages students to think and act like entrepreneurs. In addition, participants are required to spend time at social start-ups in Berlin’s start-up ecosystem and directly apply what they have learned. This could, for instance, involve developing a new marketing strategy for social media channels or performing market research on a new region the start-up wishes to add to their portfolio of customers. During the semester, students will spend approximately 30 hours outside the classroom at such a social start-up, thereby adding 1 ECTS to their overall course credit. Each project provided by a start-up will be prepared individually and is adapted to the current circumstances in which the start-up finds itself. The subsequent project report which the students have to submit should describe how they contributed to the start-up’s projects and include a reflection of the experiences and key knowledge and experience the students have gained on a daily basis. This should, for example, include a description of the main tasks for which the students were responsible, the tools and methods they have applied, and the results they have achieved.