MLD-829M B: Entrepreneurial Finance I

Semester: Spring 1

Credit: 2.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Carl Byers


Day Time Location
Term Start Date 1/23
Meet Day T/Th 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM Belfer 400 Land Hall (HKS)


"Creating something from nothing," the essence of entrepreneurship, requires more than the capacity to innovate, recruit, inspire, and strategize. Building a new organization also demands facility with the language of commerce. Whether leading for-profit or not-for-profit ventures, entrepreneurs must speak fluently with those who fund, oversee, and support them about the financial dynamics of their operations. This course teaches such leaders essential financial terms, tools, and concepts with an emphasis on "business plan" development. Those interested in innovation from the standpoint of policy, regulation, or politics also may benefit from gaining this type of knowledge about independent enterprises, as will those who seek to be "intrapreneurs" in governments or corporations. Subject matter will include the entrepreneurial process, expectations of investors / funders, key accounting terms / concepts, valuation, and the practical application of these topics to financial planning and performance analysis. Students will acquire familiarity and comfort with financial statements (income statements, balance sheets, statements of cash flows) and with related accounting issues. Lecture, discussion, case studies and small working groups are employed in the class. The class also engages real-world entrepreneurs and financiers from the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors in panel discussions to probe more deeply the application of these concepts. As they learn key concepts and practices, students construct an integrated financial plan for their proposed (or hypothetical) venture, sharing their work with the instructor via Dropbox. Each student pursues a unique plan, engaging in small working groups for feedback and support. The course concludes with a business plan competition within the class for those who chose to enter. In its inaugural year, more than 100 students completed this course in two sections. Weekly short assignments allow students to demonstrate comprehension of key concepts (graded check, check minus or check plus). Content grades are based 1/3 on the weekly short assignments, 1/3 on the financial projections project, and 1/3 on a final exam. Participation is a community expectation, which also can impact final grades.

This course precedes MLD-839M "Entrepreneurial Finance II" that extends the concepts and develops in greater depth the financing process for entrepreneurial ventures. Students with a background in finance / accounting and a well-developed venture plan may take MLD-839M alone, with the permission of the instructor.

Review Session: Friday 2:45-4:00pm (L332)

John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page