Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Startup Design

Startup Design
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

Lecturer: Pau Amigó

Phone: +34 634 544 825

E-mail:  pamigo@uic.es 

Office: Inmaculada, 22. 08017 Barcelona, Catalonia. Spain

Office hours: by appointment


This course introduces the concept of entrepreneurship and the related theories as well as identifying business opportunities, defining business models and overall strategy.  The course also covers business Model Patterns and Operations, and the Role of Information Management and Business Model Design. The ultimate goal is to help students generate their own Business Plan.

Pre-course requirements

Business and Society course #13569. Knowledge of the main business fundamentals.


The educational goals for this course are threefold: First, get used to the entrepreneurial process of idea generation and how to bring them to market; second, to understand what is required to build a successful business; and third, to gain appreciation of some of the basics of private organizations and the economic environment in which companies operate.


By the end of the course, students should be able to:


  • Understand of the concept of entrepreneurship
  • Know the main models, techniques and methodologies used in creating a business plan
  • Turning an initial business idea into a real operating business
  • Understand what a business model is and what it is not
  • Understand how to think about a business strategy and relate it to a chosen business model
  • Identify and define a company’s business model and explain how it relates to the company’s chosen strategy – target market, value proposition, source of competitive advantage – and relate them to existing business model archetypes
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of a business model for a given market situation and chosen positioning
  • Implement a business plan including monitoring
  • Identify the operational risks associated with implementing a chosen business model and understand the approaches available to mitigate those risks
  • Develop presentation skills and deal with fund raising with potential investors

Learning outcomes

CB1 - Students must demonstrate that they have and understand knowledge in an area of study based on general secondary education. This knowledge should be of a level that, although based on advanced textbooks, also includes some of the cutting-edge elements from their field of study. 
CB2 - Students must know how to apply their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and have the competences that are demonstrated through the creation and defence of arguments and the resolution of problems within their field of study. 
CB3 - Students must have the ability to bring together and interpret significant data (normally within their area of study) and to issue judgements that include a reflection on important issues that are social, scientific or ethical in nature. 
CB4 - Students can transmit information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences. 
CB5 - Students have developed the necessary learning skills to undertake subsequent studies with a high degree of autonomy. 
CE1 - To solve the maths problems that arise in the field of Bioengineering. The ability to apply knowledge of geometry, calculate integrals, use numerical methods and achieve optimisation. 
CE10 - To design fixed and removable structures for the application of prosthetics and orthotics. 
CE11 - To evaluate manufacturing, metrological and quality control systems and processes.  
CE12 - To undertake a professional project in the field of Bioengineering-specific technologies in which knowledge acquired through teaching is synthesised and incorporated. 
CE13 - To identify, understand and use the principles behind electronics, sensors, air conditioners and systems that acquire biomedical signals
CE14 - The ability to understand and apply the principles of basic knowledge of general chemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and their applications in engineering
CE15 - The ability to undertake a project through the use of data sources, the application of methodologies, research techniques and tools specific to Bioengineering, give a presentation and publicly defend it to a specialist audience in a way that demonstrates the acquisition of the competences and knowledge that are specific to this degree programme. 
CE16 - To apply specific Bioengineering terminology both verbally and in writing in a foreign language. 
CE17 - To be able to identify the engineering concepts that can be applied in the fields of biology and health. 
CE18 - To define the main principles of the technologies that are used for the design and manufacture of micro and nano-sensors in biotechnological areas. 
CE19 - To know how to select and apply material based on its properties and electric, magnetic, mechanical and chemical behaviour
CE2 - To know how to apply the basic concepts of mechanics and biomechanics to resolve problems that are specific to the field of Bioengineering. 
CE20 - To be capable of devising experimentation systems to measure the intrinsic physical and chemical properties of biological materials of human origin. 
CE21 - The ability to understand and apply biotechnological methodologies and tools to research, as well as to the development and production of products and services. 
CE3 - To apply fundamental knowledge on using and programming computers, operating systems, databases and IT programs to the field of Bioengineering. 
CE4 - To have spatial vision and know how to apply graphic representations, using traditional methods of metric geometry and descriptive geometry, as well as through the application of computer-assisted design
CE5 - To promote entrepreneurship and acquire knowledge for the organisation and management of Bioengineering companies while paying attention to their legal framework and the regulations in force at the time
CE6 - To incorporate the foundations of science and materials technology, while taking into account the relationship between microstructure, synthesis or process and the properties of materials. 
CE7 - To know how to recognise anatomy and physiology when applied to the structures Bioengineering involves. 
CE8 - To hold a dialogue based on critical thinking on ideas connected to the main dimensions of the human being
CE9 - To apply the basic foundations of elasticity and the resistance of materials to the behaviour of actual volumes. 
CG1 - To undertake projects in the field of Bioengineering that aim to achieve a concept and a design, as well as manufacture prosthetics and orthotics that are specific to a certain pathology or need.
CG10 - To know how to work in a multilingual and multidisciplinary environment. 
CG2 - To promote the values that are specific to a peaceful culture, thus contributing to democratic coexistence, respect for human rights and fundamental principles such as equality and non-discrimination. 
CG3 - To be able to learn new methods and theories and be versatile so as to adapt to new situations. 
CG4 - To resolve problems based on initiative, be good at decision-making, creativity, critical reasoning and communication, as well as the transmission of knowledge, skills and prowess in the field of Bioengineering
CG5 - To undertake calculations, valuations, appraisals, expert reports, studies, reports, work plans and other similar tasks.
CG6 - To apply the necessary legislation when exercising this profession.  
CG7 - To analyse and evaluate the social and environmental impact of technical solutions
CG8 - To apply quality principles and methods. 
CG9 - The ability to organise and plan in the field of business, as well as in institutions and organisations. 
CT1 - To understand company organisation and the science that governs its activities; to apply work-related rules and understand the relationship between planning, industrial and commercial strategies, quality and profit.  
CT2 - The ability to link welfare with globalisation and sustainability; to acquire the ability to use skills, technology, the economy and sustainability in a balanced and compatible manner. 
CT3 - To know how to communicate learning results to other people both verbally and in writing, and well as thought processes and decision-making; to participate in debates in each particular specialist areas. 
CT4 - To be able to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team, whether as a member or by management tasks, with the aim of contributing to undertaking projects based on pragmatism and a feeling of responsibility, taking on commitment while bearing the resources available in mind. 
CT5 - To use information sources in a reliable manner. To manage the acquisition, structuring, analysis and visualisation of data and information in your specialist area and critically evaluate the results of this management.  
CT6 - To detect gaps in your own knowledge and overcome this through critical reflection and choosing better actions to broaden your knowledge. 
CT7 - To be fluent in a third language, usually English, with a suitable verbal and written level that is in line with graduate requirements. 


SESSION 1. Lecture

Introduction. Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneur.

SESSION 2. Lecture

Exploration of Business Ideas.


“What Are The Best Ways To Think Of Ideas For A Startup?”2013. Forbes

“The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer”. Amar Bhide. 2004. HBR 87584-910-5

“Assessing a New Business Opportunity”. Rob Johnson. 2013. IESE EN-17-E

“Hypothesis-driven Entrepreneurship: The Lean Start-up”. Eisenmann, Ries, Dillard.  2013. Harvard Business Review

“Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything”. Steve Blank. 2013. Harvard Business Review

SESSION 3. Lecture

From the idea to the opportunity (I). Business Model Design
Exercise: Business Model Canvas



“How to Design a Winning Business Model”. J E Ricart 2011. Harvard Business Review

“Strategy in the XXI Century: Business Models in Action”. J E Ricart 2012. IESE SMN-685

Business Model Generation. Alexander Osterwalder 2010. John Wiley & Sons Inc

SESSION 4. Presentations of your Canvas + Lecture

Hypothesis Definition



Chapters 1, 2, 3 (The Four Steps to Epiphany)
The Startup Owner’s Manual . Steve Blank & Bob Dorf. 2012.  K and S Ranch Inc
“Customer Discovery and Validation for Entrepreneurs”. 2012. Cespedes, Eisenmann, Blank. Harvard Business Review


SESSION 5. Lecture + Work in-class

Market and Competitors


Value Proposition Design. Alex Osterwalder and Ives Pigneur. Strategyzer 2014



SESSION 6. Lecture + Work in-class

Starting the Business Plan



SESSION 7. Lecture + Work in-class

Sales & Marketing

Advance on your Business Plan: doubts at class

Important: Bring an already advanced version of the business plan to work at class.


SESSION 8. Business Case + Work in-class

A new Business Model: BuyVip (case discussion)

Advance on your Business Plan: doubts at class



IESE E-177 BuyVip



SESSION 9.  Lecture + Work in-class


Advance on your Business Plan: doubts at class


SESSION 10. Lecture + Work in-class

Implementation and Management of the NewCo
Advance on your Business Plan: doubts at class


SESSION 11. Lecture

Elevator Pitch: Introducing a Business Plan to Investors

Advance on your Business Plan: doubts at class

. Presentation of your projects. Date: 17th of December 2021

Teaching and learning activities

In person

With respect to teaching, this course focuses on the main topics involved in the creation of successful enterprises. This course seeks to provide the founding principles and knowledge to entrepreneurs and managers of businesses. Students are encouraged to learn how to use well-researched theories about strategy, innovation and business management.


Teaching will be integrative, student-oriented and practical that combines both theoretical content with exercises in class. Students are expected to work on a business idea early on and develop their Business Plan throughout the course. The sessions are thought to support them in the development of their Business Plan which will be pitched and graded at the end.


We will learn at class the most important concepts and theoretical frameworks to start practicing them with a “learning by doing” approach. Therefore, students are asked to develop a holistic point of view able to integrate the knowledge acquired in other courses along with this course. An active participation at class is required to pass the course, reading all the material required for discussions and exercises.
In short, the course seeks to identify critical success factors in creating and managing business and gives the student the opportunity to exercise related skills with an active and practical methodology.


Students can expect the following learning activities:

  • Synchronous lectures and tutorials
  • In-class and online role-play activities: Students take on an assigned role in a group or individual activity
  • Group-work activities where students work collaborate in a “Wiki” at moodle in order to prepare online presentations of a case study analysis to the whole class
  • Asynchronous discussion forum
  • Problem-based learning in-class and online activities
  • Discussion boards, chat, e-mail,  blogs, video conferencing, desktop sharing applications and whiteboards



  • Please be prompt. Arriving late or leaving early from class meetings can disrupt the learning experience for other students.
  • Dress code for class is “student formal”
  • No eating during class. Please eat before, after, or during the break.
  • Remember to turn off / silence mobile phones. Laptop computers or tablets are allowed but could be asked to remain closed if its use hampers participation or distracts from the learning experience in class.


The language by default is English. 

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

Class Participation:     20%

Pitch (presentation):   30%

Business Plan:            50%
*Self  and group assessment


  • Class participation (20% of final grade): Evaluates your preparation for in-class discussions as a critical part of the learning experience, not your class attendance record. This is an extremely important part of the learning experience in this course as the richness of the learning experience will be largely dependent upon the degree of preparation by all students prior to each class session.

    Missing classes or coming unprepared to classes lowers your grade for this evaluation element. A missed class, weather justified or unjustified, counts as an unprepared class. If your attendance falls below 80%, this grade will fall to zero. A student can have a perfect attendance record and still score zero in participation grade.
    A failure to actively participate in group and class activities during the discussions of cases and articles will be considered as an indication that a student has not prepared for the class. Do not think of this grade as an entitlement or a gift – it has to be EARNED. 

This course incorporates the use of case analyses to illustrate the practical application of concepts and practices requires the student to diligently and thoroughly prepare cases and actively offer the results of the analyses and conclusions derived as well as recommendations during each class session. My expectation and that of your classmates are that you are prepared for all classes and will actively participate in and meaningfully contribute to class discussions.
If you have not previously participated in case discussions in class, please find one or more of the excellent guides to student preparation for case discussions online, such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tauV48IEcgc  (very short, very basic).

Cold calling may take place to encourage active participation and to gain multiple perspectives and points of view, thus lending itself to the richness of the learning experience. In-class participation grading will be based on students’ demonstrated willingness to participate and the quality of the comments expressed, rather than quantity. While some students are far more comfortable than others with class participation, all students should make an effort to contribute meaningfully.

Students will offer their opinions in group settings many times in their careers; thus, class participation serves to prepare students for this business experience. The evaluating of in-class participation is based on the following:

  • Relevance – Does the comment or question meaningfully bear on the subject at hand? Irrelevant or inappropriate comments can detract from the learning experience.
  • Responsiveness – Does the comment or question connect to what someone else has said?
  • Analysis – Is the reasoning employed consistent and logical? Has data from course materials, personal experience, or general knowledge been employed to support the assertions/findings?
  • Value – Does the contribution further the understanding of the issues at hand?
  • Clarity – Is the comment concise and understandable?

During class sessions, the role of a facilitator could be assumed by a student to encourage a discussion that includes perspectives from a variety of viewpoints and, secondly, to help pull together prevailing analyses and recommendations. The direction and quality of a discussion is the collective responsibility of the class.

To provide clarity on the expectations for class participation, the following behavioral rating scale is provided as follows:

Excellent Performance

•  Initiates information relative to topics discussed

•  Accurately exhibits knowledge of assignment content

•  Clarifies points that others may not understand

•  Shares personal experiences or opinions related to topic

•  Offers relevant / succinct input to class

•  Actively participates in class exercises

•  Demonstrates ability to apply, analyze, evaluate & synthesize course material.

•  Demonstrates willingness to attempt to answer unpopular questions

•  Builds on other students’ contributions


Average Performance

•  Participates in group discussions when asked

•  Demonstrates knowledge of course material

•  Offers clear, concise, “good” information on class assignments

•  Offers input, but tends to reiterate the intuitive

•  Attends class regularly


Unacceptable Performance

•  Fails to participate even when directly asked

•  Gives no input to discussions

•  Does not demonstrate knowledge of the readings

•  Shows up to class: does nothing

•  Distracts group / class

•  Irrelevant discussion

  • Pitch (30% of final grade): Individual oral presentation of your business plan with the most relevant aspects. Each student will have 15 minutes long presentation, followed by a Questions and Answers round (Q&A) of 5 minutes where the rest of students are encouraged to ask. Students will grade other’s participants using the same grade only once. Their grade will account for 50% of this part, the other 50% will be graded by the Professor. The sum of both will be the grade of the Pitch.
    Aspects to grade: business idea, order structure and content of the slides, consistency, elaboration/work done, communicating skills and overall presentation quality.


  • Business Plan (50% of the final grade): Minimum of 5 out of 10.
    To obtain a passing course grade, you must obtain a final project grade equal or greater than 5.0 AND the total course grade that is equal to or greater than 5.0.
    In case of failure in the first chance, there will be a second chance to pass where the student will be able to pass, but with a penalty. The minimum grade to pass will still be 5 but out of 7. Hence, students in the second chance can get a maximum grade of 7 instead of 10 in this part.
  • Self and Group work assessment: Additionally, students will run a self-assessment at the end of the course where they will grade their own perceived grade in key variables of the group work (contribution to the group, deliverables, effort, etc) as well as an assessment of their group peers. These grades will be ranked freely and anonymously in a rank from 0 to 10 (0 being no contribution and 10 outstanding contribution/work). These grades will have an important impact on the final grade.


There is no exam scheduled.

Plagiarism, copying or any other action that may be considered cheating will be zero in that evaluation section.

Bibliography and resources

See above, within each session.


Recommended additional bibliography:

1) The Lean Start-Up. Erick Ries

2) Four Steps to the Epiphany. Steve Blank

3) The Startup Owner’s Manual. Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

4) Business Model Generation. Alexander Osterwalder 2010. John Wiley & Sons Inc

5) Growth Hacker Marketing. Ryan Holliday

6) Blue Ocean Strategy. W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

7) How to write your first Business Plan. Boomy Tokan.

8) Business plans that work. Joan Gillman & Sarah White.

9) Anatomy of a Business Plan. Linda Pinson


All the resources required to follow the content of the class will be provided to the students either through the intranet of the UIC or handled in person.

Students that wish to develop further or deepen their knowledge on a topic are encouraged to do so through the additional bibliography suggested. 

Note that many of these materials are copyright protected.

Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:
  • E1 19/01/2023 P2A02 16:00h