Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
Developmental Entrepreneurship (DE) was a Fall Semester seminar lead by Professor Sandy Pentland on the founding, financing, and building of entrepreneurial ventures in developing nations and emerging regions.
We surveyed developmental entrepreneurship via case examples of both successful and failed businesses and generally grapple with deploying and diffusing products and services through entrepreneurial action. By drawing on live and historical cases, especially from South Asia, Africa, Latin America as well as Eastern Europe, China, and other developing regions, we sought to cover the broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities facing developmental entrepreneurs. Finally, we explored a range of established and emerging business models as well as new business opportunities enabled by developmental technologies developed in MIT labs and beyond.
We asked students to craft a business plan executive summary, something worthy of submission in the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition $1K Warm-Up. We further encouraged the most promising teams to spend IAP internationally further researching and prototyping the new venture, perhaps under some kind of MIT Developmental Entrepreneurship Deployment Initiative.
Interwoven Strategic Themes
Woven throughout the semester were a series of critical strategic themes and threads, including broadly
MicroFinance and Financial Services Worldwide
Macro Perspective on Emerging Sources of Developmental Capital
By embracing live and historical cases drawn from a sampling of developing regions globally, we hoped to cover the broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities facing developmental entrepreneurs. Cases drawn from (although not all covered in depth) include:
Historical Cases of Success and Failure
Current Live Cases
Connection to Broader MIT Developmental Innovation Efforts
We hoped the course would support, promote, connect, catalyze, and otherwise accelerate MIT-wide efforts towards developmental innovation.
Many technology students have participated in Development Technologies, Design that Matters, and other classes on building appropriate technologies. Developmental Entrepreneurship helped such students investigate the further challenge of broadly deploying their technology solution via business action.
Promising students and projects were encouraged to participate in the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, global business plan contests, development conferences, and in real field trials, seeking fast iterative feedback on business viability.
We challenged our students and people generally to craft economically viable solutions for problems faced by at least One Billion people worldwide. We encouraged students to tackle these big challenges in any of many possible Problem Domains, but we hope folks will continue to pursue the most pressing and promising prospects with greatest vigor. Worthy sectors include: Water, Food, Shelter, Power, Transportation, Sanitation, Health, Communication, Recreation.