The aim of this course is to sharpen your skills in all of the activities associated with entrepreneurial finance, including identifying attractive business opportunities; estimating the resources necessary to undertake these opportunities; securing such financial and human resources on favorable terms; and prudently managing them in pursuit of the opportunity.
Comments from Professor Fleming:
Why is the course valuable to entrepreneurial students?
I think the class is valuable to entrepreneurially-minded students because unlike many “finance classes”, which tend to focus on mature companies, the focus in this class is on the kinds of financial issues that really matter to early stage companies, such as building pro formas, managing cash flow, getting financing, crafting a financially viable business model and negotiating equity splits between founders. In addition, I try to make the class very hands on, practical, and engaging by using 8+ case studies, multiple in-class simulations and exercises; and lots and lots of class discussion so that students can see how a variety of different companies have engaged in entrepreneurial finance.
What kind of students should/ should not take this course?
Entrepreneurial Finance is intended for individuals interested in careers in small businesses, family enterprises, entrepreneurial new ventures, and private equity and venture capital investing. I think it is the most valuable for students that want to start their own business or work in the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” but have only been exposed to more formal accounting and finance for mature companies. It is also great for students that have just basic exposure to accounting and finance but haven’t yet mastered it. While it might seem intimidating for some students to take a finance class, if you want to start a company, you really need to understand the basics – and that is what this course teaches. I do list course prerequisites HADM 1121 Financial Accounting and HADM 2222 Finance or the equivalent. However, if you have not taken one of these classes, but do have familiarity with accounting and finance concepts, as well as some experience with using Excel, you should probably be fine and I’ll be happy to have you in class.
What will be the challenges associated with taking this course?
This course is a lot of work. While I provide flexibility in letting students choose which cases to write up for a grade, they are expected to attend class, speak up, and have done the reading or other preparation. One of the best things about the class is that it is half grad students and that there is a real mix of students from across the university, as it allows students to learn from each other as well as me. Some students find being in class with grad students challenging. Others find it difficult to speak up with confidence. However, as I say on the first day of class, this is a fantastic opportunity to get over those fears and have a lot of fun while learning an interesting topic.
Are there any new updates or plans for this course?
I don’t plan to make any huge changes to the class, other than occasionally updating the cases I use with even better ones and changing up our guest speakers.