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Sustainable Entrepreneurship - Getting Started

Module WI001165

This Module is offered by Associate Professorship of Corporate Sustainability - Brewery and Food Industry Management (Prof. Belz).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2017 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2017SS 2016

Basic Information

WI001165 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of soft-skill courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
180 h 60 h 6 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Whether it is tackling climate change, resource degradation or social inequalities - responding to sustainability issues constitutes the biggest challenge for businesses in the 21st century. Embracing a great range of industries including food, energy or textiles, the field of life sciences is a key area for sustainability. Since the production of these goods accounts for an extensive use of resources, there is great potential for effecting real improvements on a way towards more sustainable production and lifestyles. In this module we want to invite and inspire students to make a difference. We introduce them to the theory and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship, pursuing the triple bottom line of economic, ecological and social goals. We present the sustainable business model canvas as a tool for the students to explore their own ideas and to develop a sustainable business in the area of life sciences. Adopting a step-by-step approach, the following topic will be covered (all topics will be explained in general and then discussed in the context of life sciences):

1) The nexus of entrepreneurship and sustainable development
2) An overview of the theory and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship
3) Social and ecological problems as opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship
4) Developing a sustainable customer value proposition
5) Describing key activities, resources and partners
6) identifying revenues and costs
7) Consolidating all parts in a lean and feasible business model
8) Pitching and presenting a business model

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to (1) discuss and (2) evaluate the socio-economic challenges of the 21st century. They will be able to (3) evaluate the concept of sustainable entrepreneurship as a means for addressing these complex sustainability issues. More specifically, students will be able to (4) perceive socio-ecological problems as opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship and to (5) generate their own ideas for a sustainable venture. In addition, participants will be able to (6) transfer the provided theory and examples to their own idea and (7) design their own business model. Students will (8) have gained experience and new skills in presenting in front of a large audience. Finally students are able to exchange in a professional and academic manner within a team. They show that they are able to integrate involved persons into the various tasks considering the group situation. Furthermore the students conduct solution processes through their constructive and conceptual acting in a team. They can make this contribution in a time limited environment.


Modules in entrepreneurship, corporate sustainability and/or sustainability marketing are recommended.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module is a seminar which intends to familiarize the student with the theory and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship. Since the main goal of the module is to ignite entrepreneurial thinking and passion, as well as to provide the students with the required know-how to get started, the module has an interactive format with excursions and a project work in small groups. A special feature of the module is the co-teaching by an academic and a practitioner with a mutual interest in the theory and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship.


Presentations, slides, cases, links and further literature will be provided via


The module is based on a few key scientific papers and practical tools such as the business model canvas. These form the basis for classroom discussions and are to be used for developing an own business model. All materials are provided as pdf files in TUM Moodle (
Students should be familiar with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the basics of the business model canvas:
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
Business Model Canvas:
Osterwalder, A. & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Wiley: New Jersey, US.

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The module assessment consists of project work. Students are divided into teams of 3 to 5 students. Starting from the student's initial idea, each team has to develop a sustainable business model over the term. By working in a team, students demonstrate their ability to manage resources and deadlines together and to be able to complete their tasks in a team environment.
Each team will work on assigned tasks. Each group member has to contribute to the final group presentation (a 15 minutes pitch per team, 25%) that will take place during the last session of the term. By presenting their sustainable business plan, students demonstrate they are capable of presenting their business model in a clear and comprehensible manner to an audience. In addition, each team member will work on a section of the final written project report, describing and analyzing the sustainable business plan of the team. The written paper is due four weeks after the oral presentation (max. 8,000 words, 75%). By writing the project report students demonstrate that they are able to elaborate more in-depth on their sustainable venture. They also show their ability to apply the theory and real-life examples provided to them to their own idea and business model.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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