The Center offers six interesting courses to help cultivate and actualize the ideas of student entrepreneurs. Students receive practical, real-world lessons about launching digital media ventures. Classroom discussions not only focus on concept and business model generation but also customer development, scalability and startup culture.

Trendspotting in Digital Media (MMI 434/MMI 634)

This course identifies issues posed by the evolving new media sphere, answering questions about privacy, entrepreneurship and emergent technologies and services. From overnight Youtube sensations to Twitter inspired social revolutions, digital media plays an increasingly important role in how people connect to one another and understand the world.

Entertainment Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MMI 428/MMI 628)

This course provides study in the entrepreneurial process for the creative industries. Students learn effectuation, the five types of new ventures and the basics of startup culture and media product development. Woven into this class, students will learn about media innovation by doing via in-class activities and major assignments, while debunking the myths of entrepreneurship.

Students will also meet a diverse group of founders and leaders in creative enterprises, including new media startups, innovators inside established media companies, social impact media leaders, as well as freelancers, independent contractors, social media influencers and others recreating the entertainment and media industry. This class will also have a major project where students will either:


New Media Venture Launch (MMI 427)

New Media Venture Launch enables innovative students to explore, validate and prepare new business concepts to launch as start-up companies. Students work in teams to develop their ideas into new media products and services and learn the process of growing a digital media business from the ground up.

The class is divided into three parts:

This class is recommended for students with digital media business ideas or is interested in launching a startup. It also is for students who hope to work or intern at digital media startups and other emerging companies.

Entrepreneurial Thinking (MMI 510)

Most people believe that entrepreneurs are born and act as lone rangers with a vision for the future with unquantifiable skills and charms. The work of Saras Saravathy (professor at UVA) has debunked that myth and developed a model of entrepreneurial thinking that can be learned. Her work shows how successful entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and others act to achieve and create innovations in business and our world.

New Ventures in Media (MMI 510)

New businesses are started all the time, but startups are not all the same. Startups differ in their growth rates, with some remaining small and others expanding to a larger scale.  Some are lifestyle businesses driven by the founder’s interests, while others are formed to address a market need. Most new ventures are officially defined as Small Businesses, and some new ventures are spin-outs from larger, established businesses and may take the form of a new business unit, subsidiary or separate entity. Plus, there are new kinds of “Social” ventures emerging: for-profit and not-for-profit organizations designed to fulfill a social mission. Only a few new businesses are high-tech, high-growth ventures – the ones we usually hear about in popular culture, such as Twitter and Google.

Startup Culture and Careers (MMI 510)

Lean Media Startups is a one-credit course covering the “Lean Startups” movement-an emerging approach to launching new business ventures, particularly in digital media. Students will learn the basic components of the Lean approach, a rigorous way to develop and launch startups, to search for a repeatable and scalable business model and to iterate and adapt to new and unknown markets. Students will learn the basic components of Lean, be introduced to resources and learn about how this process creates today’s “startup culture.”

Starting Your Creative Freelance Business (MMI 510)

This five-week class prepares students to consider and start a creative freelance business. Typically, these ventures are in graphic design, writing, photography, video & audio production, branding, marketing, publicity, talent representation and creative content creation of all types.   Most of these types traditionally provide services and sell business-to-business (B2B), but with the emergence of the Creator Economy and direct-to-consumer digital channels, freelancers can also sell to consumers. Consumer freelancer products and services could include art, books, newsletters, blogs, videos, training, and all kinds of entertainment and personal services. Assignments and class discussion cover getting started, finding your market, partnering, subcontracting, and more.