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BUU33602 Sustainability Entrepreneurship

(5 ECTS credits)


Eleanor Saunders

Module Content/Outline:

This course covers the concepts, theories and techniques of new venture start-up in the sustainability sector. It covers the application of sustainable business modelling and innovation management in the business sector. It examines the nature and importance of entrepreneurship and the typical characteristics, mindset and motivations of the entrepreneur. The generation of new ideas, the shaping of business models and the nature of innovation are outlined. The formulation of a viable business plan, the lean start-up and customer discovery are central issues of the course. This module also introduces students to the interdisciplinary and multifaceted field of innovation.

With sustainabilty as a focus, the course will look at areas where green business can be developed, and use innovative spaces to form ideas that are viable, scalable, and sustainable in terms of economic sustainability, and ecological sustainability. In the future no business will be able to operate without a conscious eye on the planetary boundaries in which we live, and learning to work within those boundaries is important to any developing entrepreneur.

Learning and Teaching Approach

Weekly lectures will be complemented by teamwork that takes each weeks concepts and builds it into a team project. Teams will be guided by the lectures and provided material to progress in their project and develop a viable business plan.

Customer discovery will form a key element of the course content, with teams expected to reach out to experts and consumers to gather opinions, input, expertise, and advice to progress. Peer learning will also be a core part of the learning process, with some lecture time dedicated to this. In peer learning slots teams will be coupled up to present their current start of play and receive input and suggestions from a peer team to probe their thinking and further their ideas.

Students will be required to read recommended articles and keep up to date with current business and sustainability trends. Class participation is expected.  Group presentations will also be a regular feature of this module. 

Learning Outcomes:

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Clarify the key concepts and principles of entrepreneurship and sustainability
  • Understand and explain the green entrepreneurial mindset and motivations
  • Conduct research of a primary and secondary nature in the context of analysing an organisation with respect to innovation and generating an innovative business idea
  • Assess the challenges and opportunities around a new business idea with a sustainability focus
  • Construct innovative business models, and a business plan, within the context of sustainability, balancing vision, ethics, and growth.
  • Perform effectively in teams; displaying in particular, commitment, time management, and an ability to group-write

Textbook and Reading:

The module draws on textbooks, academic articles, cases, practical examples, newspaper articles and exercises. In addition, video clips will be occasionally used in class and guest speakers maybe invited to share their experiences in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Required core course textbook and reading:

1. The Mom Test, Rob Fitzpatrick

2. Royal Society Green House Gas Removal Report:

General Supplemental Readings

The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
The Innovation Zone, Thomas M Koulopoulos

Student preparation for the module

Students should prepare for this module by regularly reading the business pages, and any sustainabilty or climate change reporting, of the leading broadsheet newspapers, such as:

  • The Irish Times
  • The Irish Independent
  • The Sunday Business Post
  • The Sunday Times

And take an interest in:

  • Irish green house gas emmission targets
  • Climate change policy (national and international)
  • Emerging innovation in the green business sector

Module Prerequisite:



Graded by course work only due to the ‘hands on’ nature of entrepreneurship.

  • Group video pitch (25%) [3 minute video pitch of the project enterprise]
  • Group business plan (75%) [10 page business plan]

Groups will have 5 – 6 people in them, all team members will get the same grade

Please Note: Guidelines on assignment requirements, completion and grading criteria are provided on Blackboard. Additional details on the specific deliverables in relation to assignments will also be discussed in class.