363-1038-00L  Sustainability Start-Up Seminar

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersA.‑K. Zobel, A. H. Sägesser
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 30.


363-1038-00 GSustainability Start-Up Seminar
Dates & rooms:
20.02. LEE E 101
27.02. WEV F 109
05.03. WEV F 109
12.03. WEV H 326
19.03. WEV H 326
26.03. IFW C 42
02.04. WEV H 326
09.04. WEV H 326
23.04. WEV H 326
30.04. WEV H 326
07.05. WEV H 326
14.05. Impact Hub Zurich Viaduct
28.05. WEV H 326
2 hrs
Thu15:15-17:00WEV H 326 »
20.02.15:15-17:00LEE E 101 »
27.02.15:15-17:00WEV F 109 »
05.03.15:15-17:00WEV F 109 »
26.03.15:15-17:00IFW C 42 »
A.‑K. Zobel, A. H. Sägesser

Catalogue data

AbstractExperts lead participants through a venturing process inspired by Lean and Design Thinking methodologies. The course contains problem identification, idea generation and evaluation, team formation, and the development of one entrepreneurial idea per team. A special focus is put on sustainability, in particular on climate change and renewable energy technologies specifically.
Objective1. Students have experienced and know how to take the first steps towards co-creating a venture and potentially company
2. Students reflect deeply on sustainability issues (with a focus on climate change & energy) and can formulate a problem statement
3. Students believe in their ability to bring change to the world with their own ideas
4. Students are able to apply entrepreneurial practices such as the lean startup approach
5. Students have built a first network and know how to proceed and who to approach in case they would like to take their ventures further.
ContentThis course is aimed at people with a keen interest to address sustainability issues (with a focus on climate change and renewable energy), with a curious mindset, and potentially first entrepreneurial ideas!

The seminar consists of a mix of lectures, workshops, individual working sessions, teamwork, and student presentations/pitches. This class will be co-taught by an academic expert (studying innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability) and an entrepreneurship and sustainability “practitioner”. Real-world climate entrepreneurs and experts from the Swiss start-up and sustainability community will be invited to support individual sessions.

All course content is based on latest international entrepreneurship practices.

The seminar starts with an introduction to sustainability (with a special focus on climate change & energy) and entrepreneurship. Students are asked to self-select into an area of their interest in which they will develop entrepreneurial ideas throughout the course.

The first part of the course then focuses on deeply understanding sustainability problems within the area of interest. Through workshops and self-study, students will identify key design challenges, generate ideas, as well as provide systematic and constructive feedback to their peers.

In the second part of the course, students will form teams around their generated ideas. In these teams they will develop a business model and, following the lean start-up process, conduct real-life testing, as well as pivoting of these business models.

In the final part of the course, students present their insights gained from the lean start-up process, as well as pitch their entrepreneurial ideas and business models to an expert jury. The course will conclude with a session that provides students with a network and resources to further pursue their entrepreneurial journey.
Lecture notesAll material will be made available to the participants.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisite:
Interest in sustainability & entrepreneurship.

1. It is not required that participants already have a business idea at the beginning of the course.
2. No legal entities (e.g. GmbH, Association, AG) need to be founded for this course.

Target participants:
PhD students, Msc students and MAS students from all departments. The number of participants is limited to max.30.

Waiting list:
After subscribing you will be added to the waiting list.
The lecturers will contact you a few weeks before the start of the seminar to confirm your interest and to ensure a good mixture of study backgrounds, only then you're accepted to the course.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersA.-K. Zobel, A. H. Sägesser
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationGrading:
o Part 1 Essays (Individual): 40% of final grade
o Part 2 Mid-term Presentation (Team): 40% of final grade
o Part 3 Final Presentation (Team): 20% of final grade

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


PlacesLimited number of places. Special selection procedure.
Waiting listuntil 09.02.2020
End of registration periodRegistration only possible until 26.01.2020

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