Accueil > The World of entrepreneurship

KEMI 2095A - World of entrepreneurship (The)

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 12

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course introduces students to the changing forms and roles of entrepreneurship in society. Entrepreneurship is widely promoted around the world nowadays, with entrepreneurial ventures, finance, policies and centers flowering all over the planet, but what is it exactly that we call entrepreneurship today? Has it always existed? Are there different forms of entrepreneurship? Where do they come from and how are they changing? Who are the entrepreneurs? What is it that they do in practice? Do they need a business plan? What do venture capitalists want from them? What is the Silicon Valley? What was the dot-com bubble? In answering these questions, the course considers entrepreneurship not as a theoretical object but as a socio-historical phenomenon in need of description. Its aim is to familiarize the students with the world of entrepreneurship as it exists around them, with its specific institutions, populations and practices.


GIRAUDEAU, Martin (Assistant Professor, London School of Economics & Political Science)

Pedagogical format

The course is organized around six sessions of two hours each for a class of 30 to 35 students. The conversation with the students revolves around the provided documents, which range from academic articles and case studies to journalistic reports and indigenous materials (such as actual business plans) from the world of entrepreneurship.

Course validation

There will be both an individual and a collective grade for each student. The individual grade will be based on a one-page written work related to one particular session of the course. A collective contribution is, on the other hand, expected, which can be a “multi-media” product – a blog, a video associated with a short report, etc. Full details and guidelines for these two small exercises will be provided in the first session.


Students are expected to read the weekly course materials prior to each session, to participate in class, and to prepare the short individual and collective assessment pieces.

Required reading

  • Martin Kenney (ed.), Understanding Silicon Valley: Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region (Stanford Business Books, 2000) (selection)
  • David Kirsch, Brent Goldfarb and Azi Gera (2009), "Form or substance: the role of business plans in venture capital decision-making," Strategic Management Journal, 30: 487-515
  • Naomi Lamoreaux and Kenneth Sokoloff, Financing Innovation in the United States, 1870 to Present (MIT Press, 2009) (selection)
  • Simon Schaffer (1995), "The show that never ends: Perpetual motion in the early eighteenth century," The British Journal for the History of Science, 28(2), 157-189
  • Steven Shapin, "The Scientific Entrepreneur," in Steven Shapin, The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation (University of Chicago Press, 2009)

Additional required reading

  • Lynda M. Applegate, “Amazon: The Brink of Bankruptcy” (HBS Case Study, 2008)
  • Michael Lewis, The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story (W. W. Norton & Company, 1999) (selection)
  • Martin Giraudeau (2012), Remembering the Future: Entrepreneurship Guidebooks in the US, from Meditation to Method (1945-1975), Foucault Studies, vol. 13, pp. 40-66.
  • Martin Giraudeau, "Administering the Future: Project Appraisal in Early Venture Capital," in Jens Beckert and Richard Bronk, Uncertain Futures: Imaginaries, Narratives and Calculation in the Economy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2018)
  • Anne Saxenian, Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (Harvard University Press, 1996) (selection)