Societal Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences


Course Objective

This course focuses on societal aspects of entrepreneurship. During the
course you will study the meaning of societal and responsible
entrepreneurship in the context of health and life sciences. In the
course theoretical insights are combined with practical experiences.
Both types of knowledge will culminate in the development of a thorough
and competitive business plan that conveys an understanding of
societally relevant, financially viable and commercially interesting

Lecturers from Athena and experts from the field discuss various
relevant topics, such as: in-depth insight into the elements of a
business plan, different business model configurations, the role of
societal impact, and elements of CSR. The course is relevant for a wide
range of business cases in the health and life sciences, ranging from
starting an NGO-like organization, to starting a strong business-driven
life sciences corporation.

This course is thus intended for students that have truly considered
becoming entrepreneurs themselves. To this end, we specifically
encourage students to formulate a business case (as a group of 3
students) before registering for this course. In addition, real-life
business cases from the life sciences will be made available for
students to work on.

Learning objectives
- Understand the relevance of entrepreneurship and innovation for
science disciplines.
- Explain the importance of valorisation of findings from the health and
life sciences and business ideas for a knowledge-based economy.
- Outline the financial, social and ecological aspects (sustainable
entrepreneurship) of value-adding opportunities.
- Recognize and design opportunities that create economic and social
- Understand the nature and role of networks in value creation
- Recognize and understand different entrepreneurial processes and
- Construct a business plan on how to bring an innovation to the market.

Course Content

This course consists of both a theoretical and a practical component.
Both components run simultaneously so that the theoretical knowledge can
be applied to the development of the business plan. In the theoretical
component you learn about societal entrepreneurship. We address
questions such as: What is entrepreneurship? What are societal
entrepreneurs? What is the role of innovation in entrepreneurship? What
is corporate social responsibility (CSR)? How can we judge the
feasibility of entrepreneurial ambitions?

The practical comment focuses on creating a business plan based on a
real-life business case. Based on the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder
& Pigneur, 2010) you will develop a business plan covering aspects such
as value propositions, key activities, key partners, customer segments,
cost structure, and revenue streams. In setting up this business plan,
commercial, organisational and societal aspects of entrepreneurship
should play a key role. A jury of financers judges the business plans on
creativity and feasibility.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and workshops are key elements of this course. Each week
several lectures are given. These lectures provide key knowledge for
both the exam and the business plan. Additionally, each week students
have workshops in which specific parts of the business plan are further
developed. Attending the workshops is compulsory.

Schedule and study time
The total study time is 160 hours. The following hours are contact
- Lectures: 42 hours
- Workshops: 14 hours
- Exam: 3 hours
- Writing business plan: 70 hours
- Self-study for remaining hours

Method of Assessment

Both the exam and the business plan determine 50% of the grade each. The
exam and business plan must be of sufficient quality to pass the course.

Entry Requirements

Proven knowledge of business aspects in the Health and Life Sciences is
required (e.g. by having passed the Business Management course).


Business Model Generation (Osteralder & Pigneur, 2010)

Target Audience

Optional course for Master students Management, Policy Analysis and
Entrepreneurship in Health and Life sciences (MPA), M-differentiation of
the Health, Life & Natural Sciences, Biology, Biomedical Sciences.

Additional Information

Attendance to lectures and working groups is compulsory. Prior
knowledge: Business Management in Health and Life sciences.

Custom Course Registration

VU-net registration will close 4 weeks before the start of the course. Students are strongly encouraged to formulate their own health & life sciences related business case to work on. In addition, we will arrange for a limited number of real-life business cases to work on.

General Information

Course Code AM_470575
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator drs. ing. E.M. Janse
Examiner prof. dr. H.J.H.M. Claassen
Teaching Staff dr. L.H.M. van de Burgwal
prof. dr. H.J.H.M. Claassen

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: