Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module BUSI2141: Entrepreneurship

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI2141: Entrepreneurship

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with an understanding of entrepreneurs and the firms they create and manage.
  • To develop knowledge of the nature and role of new and smaller firms as well as different types of entrepreneurs.
  • To develop understanding of the characteristics, attributes, resources and contributions of different types of entrepreneurs.
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the various theoretical lenses used to explore the behaviour of entrepreneurs.
  • To broaden and deepen understanding of the factors which encourage public policy-makers and practitioners to support entrepreneurship and the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.
  • To develop student knowledge of 'hard' (i.e., finance and premises) and 'soft' (i.e., education and training) support to promote new firm formation and business development.
  • To develop understanding of the nature of managerial and decision-making tasks facing the owners of new firms and SMEs as well as public policy-makers and practitioners.


  • The roles of SMEs.
  • Differences between SMEs and large enterprises.
  • Economic theories of entrepreneurship: Kirzner and Schumpeter.
  • Entrepreneurial business: Casson, Leibenstein and Marshall.
  • Psychological approaches to entrepreneurship.
  • Sociological approaches to entrepreneurship.
  • Barriers to enterprise and the need for public policy intervention to assist SMEs and entrepreneurs.
  • Supporting business start up and growth: hard and soft support measures.
  • Cultural barriers to enterprise development: the role of graduate education.
  • Theories and factors explaining regional variations in new firm formation.
  • 'Hard' support: the role played by property-based Science Park incubators in encouraging the formation and development of technology-based firms.
  • 'Hard' support: is there a market failure in the provision of finance to SMEs?
  • 'Soft' support: the take-up and impact of formal training provision by SMEs.
  • Entrepreneurs and networks.
  • Business support for under-represented groups: female entrepreneurs.
  • Factors encouraging business development.
  • Special groups: the role and contribution of family firms.
  • Special groups: the role and contribution of firms exporting their goods or services abroad.
  • Special groups: the behaviour, resources and contributions of novice, portfolio and serial entrepreneurs.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To accumulate knowledge and critical understanding of the key characteristics of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures.
  • To be able to identify particular features of SMEs which differentiate them from large businesses.
  • To be able to demonstrate detailed knowledge and critical understanding of theories pertaining to the role, nature and function of the entrepreneur and the development issues facing SMEs.
  • To develop an appreciation of theories, models and frameworks to understand the new firm formation process as well as the behaviour required to ensure superior business performance.
  • Acquisition of knowledge pertaining to the barriers to business formation and development.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the objectives of policy towards SMEs: Why intervene? How to intervene?
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To further develop the ability to work independently and to conduct independent learning drawing upon recent research.
  • To apply the various concepts to review initiatives to support the supply of entrepreneurs and the development of new and established privately owned ventures.
  • To develop critical analytical abilities to investigate the contributions of different types of entrepreneurs and SMEs in various contexts.
  • To further develop writing, presentational and analytical skills relating to the field of entrepreneurship.
Key Skills:
  • Synthesis of data - by bringing together located relevant information and presenting it in a coherent way.
  • Critical thinking - by considering issues from a range of perspectives and drawing upon appropriate theories, models and concepts to reach a balanced critical assessment.
  • Reflection on learning - by standing back, reviewing a barrier, behaviour or method of intervention, capturing its essence and systematically reviewing potential policy support scenarios.
  • Action planning / decision taking - by planning, setting and meeting own objectives and making decisions starting from a variety of possible intervention scenarios.
  • Written communication - by constructing grammatically correct and well written formative assignment and essays.
  • Information skills - by seeking, storing, synthesing, using and presenting information in ways appropriate to the specified task.
  • Computer literacy - by typing up the formative assignment.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lectures and seminars. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminar classes, and private study. Formative assessment is by means of a written assignment. Summative assessment is by means of a written examination.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 per week 1 hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in term 1 & 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 171
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written examination 2 hours 30 minutes 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

One 1000 word essay assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University