What you'll learn

  • Identify and evaluate an idea; assess the market
  • Leverage experiments to validate your idea and refine your business strategy
  • Appreciate the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship
  • Discover the key financial decisions any entrepreneur must make in the early stages of a new venture
  • Understand the process of raising capital and how to speak to investors
  • Learn from successful entrepreneurs and leading venture capitalists, as well as peers

Course description

Entrepreneurship Essentials introduces you to the entrepreneurial journey, from finding an idea, to gaining traction in the marketplace, to raising capital for your venture. You will learn an overarching framework—People, Opportunity, Context, Deal—to evaluate opportunities, manage start-ups, and finance ventures. That framework has been taught to thousands of Harvard Business School MBA students over the past 30 years.

This course explains how entrepreneurs run structured experiments to validate ideas and refine business strategy. You will dive deep into the numbers behind how entrepreneurs and their investors make financial decisions to create value and grow their operations. Whether you are a current or aspiring entrepreneur or someone who is looking to gain an understanding of how businesses are built.


  • Baker Foundation Professor; Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff - MBA Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus
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