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BA 260 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship



Professor: Dr. Violetta Gerasymenko, Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Office: Austin Hall 320, College of Business, Oregon State University

Phone: 541-737-6104                                                        


Office Hours: Wednesday 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, or by appointment

Course Credits: 4 hours

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Classroom/Class time:  2:00PM-3:50PM AUST 226; 4:00PM-5:50PM AUST 226


Dr. Violetta Gerasymenko’s Short Biography:

Violetta Gerasymenko is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Oregon State University.  Violetta is also an entrepreneur.  Violetta Gerasymenko has her own consultant company and, with her husband, co-owners The Little Gym of Corvallis. She earned her Ph.D. from HEC Paris and holds several other degrees: an MA (with honors) and BA (with honors) in Finance and Banking from Dniepropetrovsk State University (Ukraine), an MA in International Management from EUROMED, Marseille School of Management, and an MA in Economics from University Sorbonne-Pantheon, Paris.  Before joining the faculty at Oregon State, Gerasymenko held visiting scholar positions at MIT Sloan, New York University and National University of Singapore and an Assistant Professor position at Nova SBE in Portugal.  Her research focuses on understanding the boundaries of organizational learning in cognitive forecasting under high uncertainty, the behavioral antecedents and consequences of dynamics of organizational attention, and business model change processes and implications for entrepreneurial ventures.  Gerasymenko’s research work has been published in the Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings and other international journals and book chapters both in English and French.  She currently teaches Entrepreneurship at the College of Business.  Prior to joining academia, Violetta Gerasymenko worked as an analyst in one of the major venture capital firms in Paris, France.  Violetta Gerasymenko served on the Board of Advisors of the Advantage Accelerator, is regularly invited to be part of start-up competition juries, and is a passionate coach of entrepreneurial ventures.



This course is delivered in collaboration with Austin Entrepreneurship Program, OSU Advantage Accelerator and OSU Career Success Center. A special thank you to the outstanding participating speakers, coaches and jury members in this course.


Learning Objectives


A primary objective of this course is to encourage entrepreneurial thinking. Whether you simply want to learn more about entrepreneurship or whether you desire to launch an actual venture, this course will expose you to the tools you will need to be more effective in the entrepreneurial process. Indeed, entrepreneurship goes beyond starting new companies (although it is an important part of it). Having an entrepreneurial mindset means using a more creative and critical thinking, which you could then leverage within an existing national or multinational company or by starting your own company.


In this course I create an active learning environment, so you will learn through a combination of engaging lectures, discussions, readings, speakers, exercises, illustrative cases, and a field project. Because the most effective way to understand entrepreneurship is to practice it, a major part of your learning will occur when you—in small teams of students—will jointly propose and investigate starting a new business venture in an iterative entrepreneurial project. This team project reflects the modern “lean start-up” approach to entrepreneurship that emphasizes reaching out to potential customers and validating the need for your product or service as well as its market potential before starting a business or even investing a significant amount of time in business planning. I don’t expect you to start a business in this course (although often several groups of students decide to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas during or after the course); however, you are expected to successfully complete the first three steps of the “lean start-up” process, that is, (1) idea generation, (2) opportunity validation, and (3) go-to-market plan development and validation.


In summary, in this course you will learn to:


·         Shift your thinking toward an entrepreneurial mindset

·         Understand the issues faced by entrepreneurs when starting a venture

·         Recognize and analyze new business opportunities that exist in the marketplace

·         Evaluate the feasibility of pursuing an opportunity that you’ve recognized

·         Understand, articulate, and communicate value propositions and the components of a business model

·         Gain some experience working in teams


With these foundational tools, you should be better prepared for the subsequent courses in the entrepreneurship program at OSU, and you should also be better equipped to identify entrepreneurial opportunities in your career and to become a more valuable team member in today’s fast-paced business environment.





Required Reading


Both mid-term, mini-test, and final exams will include questions from the lectures and the reading material listed below.

Textbook (customized version): Berringer, Bruce R. & Duane Ireland R. 2015. Entrepreneurship: successfully launching new ventures. (4th edition), Pearson.

You are expected to read and understand all the reading material before each corresponding class as well as actively engage in in-class discussions.  All exams will be extensively based on the reading material as well as material covered in class.

All book chapters, journal and online articles as listed below.  All listed articles can be found on Canvas.




Reading Material

Due Before Class/Date



Reading #1. Article: Florida, R., & Goodnight, J. 2005. ‘Managing for Creativity.’ HBR, 83(7/8): 124-131.

Class #3/Sep 29th


Reading #2. Chapter: ‘Recognizing Opportunities and Generating Ideas’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.

Class #4/Oct 4th


Reading #3.  Article: Baron, E. ‘The B-school lean strartup revolution is underway.’ Fortune, May 4, 2015.

Class #6/Oct 11th


Reading #4.

·         Chapter ‘Feasibility Analysis’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.

·         Chapter ‘Preparing for and Evaluating the Challenges of Growth’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.

Class #7/Oct 13th


Reading #5. Article: Blank S. ‘Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything.’ HBR, May 2013.

Class #11/Oct 27th


Reading #6. Chapter ‘Getting Financing or Funding’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.

Class #12/ Nov 1st



Reading #7.

·         Article: Adams, S. ‘How to craft a job search elevator pitch.’ Fortune, March 2012.

·         Article: Elsbach K.D. ‘How to pitch a brilliant idea’, HBR, September 2003.

Class #13/ Nov 3rd




Reading #8.

·         Chapter ‘Unique Marketing Issues’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.

Class #14/ Nov 8th



·         Chapter ‘Industry and Competitor Analysis’, Textbook, Bruce R. Barringer/Duane Ireland.







Table 2. General Course Outline






1: Thu – Sep 22

Introduction to the Course




2: Tue – Sep 27

Creativity and Ideation

Creativity Boosting Exercises


Get to know your classmates


Assignment 1: Self-Introduction on Canvas

3: Thu – Sep 29

Creativity and Ideation (teams formed in class)

Creativity Boosting Exercises


Global Trends


Assignment 2: Upload a Photo of Your Brainstorming Results on Canvas

4: Tue – Oct 4

From Idea to Business Opportunity

Opportunity Evaluation Framework

Guest Coaches’ Feedback


Ideas Evaluation in Class

5: Thu – Oct 6

TEAM PRESENTATION: Entrepreneurial Idea

Collective Feedback

Feedback Review

Pivot or Not to Pivot?


Assignment 3

Part 1: Power Point Presentation

Part 2: 1-Page Summary of the Idea Update

6: Tue – Oct 11

How Can We Understand Who Our Customers are and What They Want?

Customers’ PNW

Mastering Interviewing Process



Interview Design in Class

7: Thu – Oct 13


Feasibility Hypotheses & Market Validation & Entrepreneurial Pricing

Key Resources at OSU Library

Mastering Survey Design Process Feasibility Hypotheses Design

3 Pricing Methods



Survey Design

8: Tue – Oct 18

No Class: “Go outside” and conduct market validation




9: Thu – Oct 20

TEAM PRESENTATION: Market Opportunity Validation

Collective Feedback

Feedback Review

Pivot or Not to Pivot?


Assignment 5: Power Point Presentation + Group Folder Submissions (check assignment description!)

10: Tue – Oct 25




11: Thu – Oct 27

Business Model: Value Proposition and Value Delivery

Business Model Canvas

Canvas Design



Assignment 5: Upload a Photo of Your Business Model Design (in Colors) on Canvas

12: Tue – Nov 1

Entrepreneurial Finance

Insights from Mark Lieberman


Startup Costs

Pro-Forma Statement & Balance Sheet

Sources of Financing


Financial Exercises in Class

13: Thu – Nov 3

The Ins and Outs of a Successful Elevator Pitch

Insights from Caroline Cummings

Elevator Pitch Discussion

Elevator Pitch Design



Elevator Pitch Exercises in Class

14: Tue – Nov 8

Entrepreneurial Marketing

Entrepreneurial Strategy

Marketing Mix

5-Forces Model

Competitive Advantage

Entrepreneurial Strategy Design



Discussion of Entrepreneurial Strategic Issues in Class Marketing Mix Exercises in Class

15: Thu – Nov 10




16: Tue – Nov 15

TEAM POSTER PRESENTATION: Entrepreneurial Go-to-Market Plan

Discussion and Feedback

Guest Coaches’ Feedback

Feedback Review


Assignment 6: Part 1: Photo of Team Poster uploaded on Canvas

Part 2: Feedback Form uploaded on Canvas

17: Thu – Nov 17


Entrepreneurial Eco-system and Local Resources

Insights from Key Eco-System Leaders

Austin Entrepreneurship Program

Advantage Accelerator




18: Tue – Nov 22


Q&A with judges



Assignment 7: 1-Page Executive Summary uploaded on Canvas

19: Thu – Nov 24

No Class: Thanksgiving Holiday



20: Tue – Nov 29


Q&A with judges



Assignment 8 : Final Project Presentation + Financial Plan

21: Thu – Dec 1


Q&A with judges

Concluding remarks



Tue - Dec 6th









TABLE 3. Assignments, tests, deadlines and grading scheme


In line with the Oregon State University policy, your final grade for this course will be in a range of 0-100 percentage points (%).   While doing your best on each individual assignments is the best way to go to succeed in this course, each assignment has its specific weight in the final grade and so will have a different impact on your final course grade.  Your final grade for the course will be determined as a weighted average of the grades for each assignment. The final number of percentage points should be matched to the cut-off percentage points (shown below) typically used by the OSU to determine the students’ grade.  Please pay attention to the due dates and times. Assignments will lose one full letter grade for each 24 hours (or portion thereof) that the assignment is late.  Typically, most of you assignments will be due at 9 PM the day before class.


Table 4. Grading grid

Letter Grade

Percentage (%)

Letter Grade

Percentage (%)
























59 or lower



Your final grade may also be adjusted up/down based on the peer evaluation of your contribution to the group project.   


Student evaluation and final course grades will be based on the following:


Individual Components (61%):

·         Assignment 1: Self-introduction: 1%

·         Assignment 9: Attendance, Feedback, Participation & Presentation (AFPP): 10%

·         Assignment 10: Exams (2 highest grades out of 3 exams, if you take the Final Exam): 50%



Team Component: Iterative Entrepreneurial Project (39%):               

·         Assignment 4: Market Opportunity Validation (4% of Course Grade )

·         Assignment 6: Entrepreneurial Go-to-Market-Plan Poster & Feedback Reflection Form: (5% of Course Grade)

o    Assignment 2 Ideation and Brainstorming: Pass/Fail (10% of Assignment 6)

o    Assignment 3 Entrepreneurial Idea Presentation & Update: Pass/Fail (10% of Assignment 6)

o    Assignment 5 Business Model Design: Pass/Fail (10% of Assignment 6)

·         Assignment 7 Elevator Pitch (and Executive Summary): (10% of Course Grade )

·         Assignment 8 Final Project Presentation: (20% of Course Grade)



If your group achieves outstanding results in developing an entrepreneurial project, you may qualify to be the winning team and receive the grade A for the course (1 team per session).  The student or students who deliver the best elevator pitch will be rewarded with a Dutch Bros gift card generously sponsored by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program.



Course Policies


Academic Integrity and Student Conduct:  I expect the highest standards of academic honor and integrity of all class members. As a student taking classes in the OSU College of Business, you have taken the following oath, and you are expected to comply with all regulations pertaining to academic honesty. 


COB Code of Honor:


The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, integrity stands as the backbone of character and is essential for success.


Respect for others and yourself is a commitment to the fair treatment of and the fair competition with others. Through respect we embolden the character of others and ourselves.


We are held accountable for our words and actions as professionals to embed a steadfast commitment to honor in our decisions.


You may have noticed that attitudes toward academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, differ across professional contexts and even across cultural settings. For example, what may be an accepted writing convention in a corporate setting, such as attaching a list of sources used at the end of a report without citing specific references within the text, is considered academic dishonesty in an academic setting. Academic dishonesty is one of the most serious academic offenses you can commit.


Academic Dishonesty: According to OSU student conduct regulations, academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in which a student seeks to claim credit for the work or effort of another person or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work. See OSU Student Conduct code (576-015-0020) and   for a comprehensive definition of academic dishonesty. All cases of suspect academic dishonesty will be handled in strict accordance with OSU policy and College of Business policy


Non-Use of Electronic Devices in Class: Per department policy, laptops, cell phones, PDAs, and other personal electronics must be turned off and stowed for the duration of class time. Research has shown that the use of electronic devices during class time interferes with the ability to learn course material and negatively impacts the performance of both students who use the devices in class and their classmates (see Fried, 2008; Sana et al., 2013).


Fried, C.B. (2008). In-class laptop use and its effects on student learning. Computers and Education, 50, 906-914.


Sana et al. (2013). Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers. Computers and Education, 62, 24-31.


Written Communication: I expect all assignments and written communication (including e-mails you send me) to use standard business writing style, that is, proper grammar and no text-messaging-style abbreviations. Also, please be sure to include your class time (10am or 2pm) in the subject line of any e-mails to me. If you prefer, please feel free to communicate with me using Canvas instead of e-mail.


Disability Accommodation: Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Disability Access Services (DAS). Students with accommodations approved through DAS are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at 737-4098.


Exam Policies:  Exams must be taken on the day and at the time they are scheduled. You must present written documentation to me and obtain prior approval to take an exam at a time other than that scheduled.  


Incompletes:  Take this course only if you plan to finish it in a timely manner (during this term). I assign an "I" or incomplete only when there is a strong and compelling case for doing so (e.g., health reasons, military commitment). I will not consider assigning an incomplete unless you have completed over 75% of the course tasks. Please note that students receiving incompletes are subject to assignment weight reduction (and consequently may not be eligible for A or A- grades) because some of their work will be submitted late. 


Withdrawals: Students may withdraw from a course with a W grade after the tenth day of classes and through the end of the seventh week of classes. After the seventh week of classes, students are expected to complete the class and will receive letter grades for all courses in which enrolled unless they officially withdraw from the university. Please refer to the term Schedule of Classes for procedures for withdrawal from individual courses.


Last, if you have questions about anything in this syllabus, please ask!