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2022 Top Free Entrepreneurship Exercises

2022 Top Free Entrepreneurship Exercises

“Your posts help me keep my students engaged – they and I thank you!” – ExEC Professor

Based on the popularity of our 2019 Top 5 Lesson Plans and 2020 Top 5 Lesson Plans articles, here is the list of our 2021 top entrepreneurship exercises and lesson plans based on feedback from our fast-growing community of thousands of entrepreneurship instructors.

We designed the following exercises and lesson plans to transform your students’ experience as they learn how to stay motivated, prototype, and work with finances.

5. Teaching Business Model Canvas with Dr. Alex Osterwalder

Most entrepreneurship programs use the Business Model Canvas (BMC) in some way (it is a core element of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

In collaboration with the BMC creator himself, Dr. Alex Osterwalder, we produced a series of lesson plans detailing how he teaches his powerful tool.

Learning the Business Model Canvas with Dr. Alex Osterwalder

With this 3-part series, you can . . .

  • Part 1: Introduce the Business Model Canvas
  • Part 2: Teach students how to write business model hypotheses
  • Part 3: Demonstrate how to prioritize their riskiest assumptions

View Directions to Teach the Business Model Canvas the Way Dr. Osterwalder Does

4. Financial Modeling Showdown

Financial modeling is incredibly difficult to teach in an engaging way.

That’s why, in addition to our more advanced Financial Projection Simulator, we developed a new game that makes introducing financial modeling fun and interactive.

Financial modeling simulation

If your students get overwhelmed by financial modeling, this game will help them learn the core concepts in an accessible way.

View The Financial Modeling Showdown Exercise

3. 60 Minute MVP

Imagine your students, in just one hour, building, and launching, an MVP . . . with no technical expertise! In our 60 Minute MVP exercise, we present an exercise during which students build a landing page MVP that:

  1. Tells their customers the problem their team is solving,
  2. Uses a video to demonstrate how the team will solve the problem and
  3. Asks for some form of “currency” from their customers to validate demand.

Immersion pressure challenge chaos motivation 60 minute MVP

If you’re looking for an immersive exercise that activates your class, complete with a chaotic, noisy, high-pressure environment, that teaches real entrepreneurial principles, give “60 Minute MVP” a shot.

View the 60 Minute MVP Exercise

2. Design Thinking with the Ideal Wallet

The Ideal Wallet is an awesome exercise for teaching students to use empathy, prototyping, and iteration to design creative solutions to problems. This exercise that comes from Stanford University’s d.school is a fast-paced way to introduce your students to design thinking.

Design Thinking 101: Design the Ideal Wallet

During this intense exercise, students will learn:

  • That what is important for them to discover is what is important to their customer
  • To design solutions specifically related to their customers’ emotional needs
  • To prototype their design with simple household materials and
  • To gather customer feedback on prototypes

As a result, students will know how to develop powerful solutions for customers because they can empathize with the person or people for whom they are designing solutions.

Available in both an In-Person Version and an Online Version.

View the Design Thinking with the Ideal Wallet Exercise

1. Motivate Students with Pilot Your Purpose

Students engage when entrepreneurship feels relevant.

This exercise makes entrepreneurship relevant by helping students discover that entrepreneurial skills will help them pursue their passions – regardless of whether they become entrepreneurs.

Pilot your Purpose

This is our favorite exercise because when we help students discover their passions, it becomes clear to them that entrepreneurial skills will help them turn a passion into their life’s purpose.

Suddenly, entrepreneurship becomes relevant and engagement increases

In fact, our students like this exercise so much, we’re making it the first lesson plan in the next iteration of our full Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

View the Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

Want 15 Weeks of Lesson Plans?

If you are looking for a fully structured, experiential entrepreneurship curriculum, with a semester’s worth of lesson plans that students love, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

We’ve done the work for you.


What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans for new exercises we shared at our Winter Summit!

Subscribe here to be the first to access these new exercises.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!

Last Call For ExEC This Spring

Last Call For ExEC This Spring

If you’re considering ExEC’s award-winning structured curriculum in Spring …

This is your last call!

We want your prep to be as easy as possible, so we’d like to get you set up by December _____.

Semester Experiential entrepreneurship education schedule

ExEC Engages Students

Whether you are teaching classes in-person, online, or hybrid, there’s a version of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) that will engage and motivate your students.

For more details on this award-winning curriculum …

Preview ExEC Now

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC for Spring

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC for Spring

Spring is just around the corner!

Adopt ExEC today and let us set you up for success by delivering detailed lesson plans and a simplified grading process, and enabling you to deliver award-winning experiential exercises that transform your classroom into a hive of activity from day one.

Engage Your Students This Spring

We’ve been busy updating our curriculum to adapt to your learning environment:

Sample ExEC Syllabus

We’ve got you covered whether you’ll be in-person, online synchronous or asynchronous, or some hybrid model.

ExEC is an engaging and structured curriculum that’s flexible enough for your Fall. To fully engage your students this Spring, request a full preview of ExEC today!

Preview ExEC Now

Last Call For ExEC This Fall

Last Call For ExEC This Fall

If you’re considering ExEC’s structured exercises in Fall…

This is your last call!

We want your prep to be as easy as possible, so we’d like to get you set up by August _____.

Semester Experiential entrepreneurship education schedule

ExEC Engages Students

Whether you are teaching classes in-person, online, or hybrid, there’s a version of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) that will engage and motivate your students.

For more details on this award-winning curriculum …

Preview ExEC Now

Teach The Business Model Canvas with ExEC

Teach The Business Model Canvas with ExEC

On Aug. 3rd Dr. Alex Osterwalder will join our community to teach us how we can use the Business Model Canvas (BMC) in our classrooms!

Register Here

This free session will start with Dr. Osterwalder walking you through a number of Business Model Canvas exercises of varying difficulty and engagement. Then he’ll introduce exercises to teach the mechanics of experimentation.

Alex Osterwalder Teaching Business Model Canvas Workshop August 3rd

**NOTE: We will record the session for anyone who cannot make it, so please register even if you can’t attend so you will have access to the recording**

For more on Dr. Osterwalder, check out his company Strategyzer and his suite of books being used in entrepreneurship classrooms around the world.

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC

1 Week Left to Adopt ExEC

Fall is just around the corner!

Adopt ExEC today and let us set you up for success by delivering detailed lesson plans and a simplified grading process, and enabling you to deliver award-winning experiential exercises that transform your classroom into a hive of activity from day one.

Engage Your Students This Fall

We’ve been busy updating our curriculum to adapt to your learning environment:

Sample ExEC Syllabus

We’ve got you covered whether you’ll be in-person, online synchronous or asynchronous, or some hybrid model.

ExEC is an engaging and structured curriculum that’s flexible enough for your Fall. To fully engage your students this Fall, request a full preview of ExEC today!

Preview ExEC Now

2 Weeks Til Fall: Plan Today

2 Weeks Til Fall: Plan Today

Fall will be here before you know it!

Adopt ExEC today and let us set you up for success by delivering detailed lesson plans and a simplified grading process, and enabling you to deliver award-winning experiential exercises that engage your students from day one.

Be Prepared This Fall

To help with your Fall prep, we’ve been busy updating our curriculum to adapt to just about any learning environment:

Sample ExEC Syllabus

Whether you will teach:

  • In-person
  • Online synchronous
  • Online asynchronous
  • Hybrid

ExEC will help you design an engaging and structured course, that’s flexible enough for this Fall. For more details on using ExEC this Fall, request a full preview today!

Preview ExEC Now

How to Teach The Business Model Canvas

How to Teach The Business Model Canvas

Alex Osterwalder Teaching Business Model Canvas Workshop August 3rd

Join us Aug. 3rd to learn how to…

Teach the Business Model Canvas (BMC) from the creator himself, Dr. Alex Osterwalder!

TeachingEntrepreneurship.org and Alex are hosting a free workshop on how to use his industry re-defining tools: Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, etc.

Join us to get exercises to engage students in :

  1. Business model thinking &
  2. Testing business ideas

The session will start with Osterwalder walking you through a number of Business Model Canvas exercises of varying difficulty and engagement. Then he’ll introduce exercises to teach the mechanics of experimentation.

Register Here

**NOTE: We will record the session for anyone who cannot make it, so please register even if you can’t attend so you will have access to the recording**

For more on Osterwalder, check out his company Strategyzer and his suite of books being used in entrepreneurship classrooms around the world.

Workshop: Teaching the Business Model Canvas with Alex Osterwalder

Workshop: Teaching the Business Model Canvas with Alex Osterwalder

Alex Osterwalder Teaching Business Model Canvas Workshop August 3rd

Join us Aug. 3rd to learn how to…

Teach the Business Model Canvas (BMC) from the creator himself, Dr. Alex Osterwalder!

TeachingEntrepreneurship.org and Alex are hosting a free workshop on how to use his industry re-defining tools: Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, etc.

Join us to get exercises to engage students in :

  1. Business model thinking &
  2. Testing business ideas

The session will start with Osterwalder walking you through a number of Business Model Canvas exercises of varying difficulty and engagement. Then he’ll introduce exercises to teach the mechanics of experimentation.

Register Here

For more on Osterwalder, check out his company Strategyzer and his suite of books being used in entrepreneurship classrooms around the world.

Top 5 Free Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

Top 5 Free Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

“Your posts help me keep my students engaged – they and I thank you!” – ExEC Curriculum Professor

Based on the popularity of our 2018 Top 5 Lesson Plans article, we’ve updated our list based on feedback from our fast-growing community of now 4,600-strong entrepreneurship instructors.

The following are all lesson plans we’ve designed to transform your students’ experience as they learn how to generate ideas, interview customers, prototype and validate solutions.

5. Idea Generation vs. Problem Generation

Many of our students believe an idea is the heart of entrepreneurship. In this lesson, we shatter that assumption and replace it with an appropriate focus on customer problems.

We want your students to develop ideas that are more feasible, impactful, and creative.

This is the toughest challenges entrepreneurship professors face. Student ideas tend to be a repetition of low-impact or infeasible mediocrity. You want more from them. We can help! We focus your students on problems in this lesson because the best business ideas come from problems.entrepreneurship, teaching, problem, solution, idea

After this lesson, your students’ ideas will be:

  • More feasible because they’re focusing on serving people they care about.
  • More impactful because they’re paying more attention to problems than they are products.
  • More creative because they’ll use those problems as inspiration.

View Idea Generation vs. Problem Generation Lesson Plan

4. Personal Business Plan

In this exercise, shared with us by Rebeca Hwang from Stanford University, students create a business plan about themselves. Students approach themselves as a company and apply the tools they learned during their entrepreneurship course to understand how they add value to the world.

Students answer questions about their future vision and about their present plans and passions. One of our professor’s favorite components of this exercise is that students choose who grades their personal business plan (and that our colleagues at Stanford provide a very robust rubric)!

teaching entrepreneurship personal business plan

Through this exercise, students:

  • Learn to see themselves as a company,
  • Learn they must continuously invest in and develop a plan for their future,
  • Embrace the tools and methodologies they learned in the course because they are applying them to their future,
  • Understand learning is meaningful when applied to a personal context

View Why Business Plans Fail Lesson Plan

3. Teaching Customer Interviewing

We consistently hear from faculty that teaching customer interviewing is their biggest challenge. In this lesson plan students use a combination of ExEC Customer Interviewing Playing Cards, with an online collaborative quiz game (Kahoot), to learn:

  • What their problem interviewing goals should be and should not be
  • What questions they should and should not ask

customer interviewing teaching entrepreneurship

Students then get an interview script template they can use as the basis for their problem discovery interviews.

This exercise teaches your students:

  • What objectives they should and should not attempt to accomplish during a problem discovery interview and why,
  • What questions they should and shouldn’t ask during a customer discovery interview and why,
  • What a comprehensive interview script book looks like

View Customer Interviewing Cards Lesson Plan

2. 60 Minute MVP

One of our most popular lesson plans is the 60 Minute MVP. During this class, students launch an MVP website, with an animated video and a way to take pre-orders, in an hour with no prior coding experience. One of our professors told us after running this exercise:

“One student described it as like a Navy Seal mental training exercise. Not sure it was that intense, but they were amazed and proud that they got it done.”

Your students will love this class period; they progress from the anxiety of the challenge confronting them (build a website in 60 minutes) to the elation of their journey (launching a website they built in 60 minutes). This exercise creates tremendous energy in your classroom. Students create something real.

On the lesson plan page you can view an example video students created in about 20 minutes, built around actual customer problem interviews:

You can also view a great example of a website built in just 60 minutes:

Your students will create landing pages like thisUpscale dining at its finest!

Some critical learnings for your students are the true meaning of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), that it’s easier to launch a product than they thought, and that the easiest thing about building a business is launching that product.

View 60 Minute MVP Lesson Plan

1. Teaching Customer Observations

During our years of research on what topics entrepreneurship professors struggle to teach, we heard “customer interviewing” over and over again. Our ExEC curriculum includes a robust method of customer interviewing, but customer observation is another great way to gather customer information. So we developed our Teaching Customer Observations lesson plan to help students learn the value of seeing how their customers experience problems, as opposed to imagining their customers’ problems.

In addition to our community thinking this is a powerful experience in the classroom, this exercise also won first place in the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Exercises Awards at the USASBE 2019 Annual Conference!

This exercise positions your students to observe customers in their natural settings. This allows them to discover new business opportunities and increase their empathy and behavioral analysis skills.

Our goal with this exercise is to teach students to have an empathy picture/analysis that frames the problem they are trying to solve before they jump to a solution. Having this clear picture will allow them to come up with better creative solutions.

During this two-class exercise, your students will experience customer empathy and how to plan and translate an observation experience into ideas for products and services. This will provide the following benefits:

  • Introduce students to a powerful tool to gather information on customer experience in real-life situations. This allows students to avoid predicting customer behavior by actually observing it.
  • Students practice how to listen with their eyes in order to understand what people value and care about, & what they don’t.
  • Provide a common reference experience for expanding on topics later in the course.

View Teaching Customer Observations Lesson Plan

Want 15 Weeks of Lesson Plans?

If you are looking for a fully structured, experiential entrepreneurship curriculum, with a semester’s worth of lesson plans that students love, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

We’ve done the work for you.

Get our Next Free Lesson Plan

We email new experiential entrepreneurship lesson plans regularly.

Subscribe here to get our next lesson plan in your inbox!

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!