Bachelor Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation

Program and courses Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation BSc

Study Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and become an academically trained entrepreneur or business innovator: ready to start your own business or to become a change maker within an existing organization.

Successful engaging in entrepreneurship and business innovation revolves about mindset, knowledge and skills. The program is designed to nurture that mindset, to acquire that knowledge, and to develop these skills. Enrolling requires you to be curious, critical and ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone. For example when actively reaching out to entrepreneurs and investors for one of the many assignments that you will have throughout the program.

Video: short overview of this Bachelor's program (02:51)

Program structure and content

  • Each year is divided into two semesters.
  • Each semester has a study load of 30 ETC.
  • In each semester during the first two years, you will follow:
    • courses that introduce you to the theory and practice of entrepreneurship and business innovation, as well as to functional domains of management that are instrumental to doing entrepreneurship and business innovation;
    • a series of Entrepreneurship in Action (EiA) courses will allow you to learn by doing (and by reflecting on that doing);
    • a series of skill labs in which will hone your personal effectiveness as a student and future professional.
    • Each semester has an equal study load of 30 ETC.
  • In the first semester of the third year, you can:
    • go abroad to study at another university, OR
    • do a 30 ECTS minor at another university in the Netherlands, OR
    • do a 18 ECTS minor at Tilburg University (that does not overlap with the E&BI program) and two free electives.
  • In your final semester you choose a program elective, a specialization course, you will follow a course on philosophy, and you will work on your graduation project.

Program content

Year 1 Content

In the first year, we introduce you to the theory and practice of entrepreneurship and business innovation. You will also take courses in marketing, accounting and economics. The course Business Models: Innovation and Experimentation will shape your entrepreneurial mind. The two Theory in Action courses will have you identify opportunities and learn how you can develop innovative product and service concepts.

Semester 1

  • Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship
  • Mathematics for E&BI 
  • Fundamentals of Business Innovation
  • Quantitative Methods to Understand Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship in Action 1: Finding an Unmet Need
  • Skills Lab 1
  • PASS-TiSEM for E&BI: Mentoring program focused on social cohesion, study success, and personal development

Semester 2

  • Accounting for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Microeconomics: Markets and Games
  • Business Models: Innovation and Experimentation
  • Entrepreneurship in Action 2: Developing a Solution
  • Skills Lab 2
  • PASS-TiSEM for E&BI: Mentoring program focused on social cohesion, study success, and personal development
Year 2 Content

In the second year, the emphasis shifts to alternative perspectives on and specific contexts for entrepreneurship.

This will allow you to gain an understanding of entrepreneurship in the context of the start-up, existing business, intrapreneurship and sustainable entrepreneurship.

Semester 1

  • New Venture Creation and Growth
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Finance for E&BI
  • Entrepreneurship in Action 3: Developing a Business Model
  • Skills Lab 3

Semester 2

  • Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship
  • Law for Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation
  • Quantitative Methods to Optimize Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship in Action 4: Developing a Business Plan
  • Skills Lab 4
Year 3 Content

Semester 1

  • 30 ECTS International Exchange, OR
  • 18 ECTS Minor at TiSEM and two 6ECTS Electives, OR
  • 30 ECTS Minor at other Dutch University
  • Career Development for E&BI

Semester 2

  • Philosophy: Perspectives for Business Innovators and Entrepreneurs
  • Specialization course:
    • New Venture Creation and Growth (advanced), OR
    • Corporate Entrepreneurship (advanced), OR
    • Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship (advanced)
  • Program Elective:
    • Making Deals: Negotiation for hiring, partnering, sales, and investments, OR
    • Joining the Family Business: Challenges of Stability and Growth, OR
    • Acquiring an Established Business: (leveraged) Buy-ins as opportunity, OR
    • International Entrepreneurship OR
    • Advanced Analytics: Math and Statistics to Research and Practice E&BI OR
  • Entrepreneurship in Action 5: Graduation Project
  • Career Development for E&BI
Study abroad: going on exchange

We encourage all students to gain international experience. A popular and very exciting option is to go abroad on exchange. As an exchange student, you study at one of the many international partner universities of Tilburg University, typically for one semester.

The Study Abroad & Exchange Office of Tilburg University will be available to help you research the opportunities within your study program and a dedicated Study Abroad & Exchange Coordinator will be advising you before, during and after your exchange.

Most students will be eligible for a grant or scholarship to financially support them during their exchange experience. Additional grants for students with special needs or a difficult financial situation are also available.

More on studying abroad

Watch a trial lecture

You will find a detailed description of the courses and required literature in our course catalog.

Go to the course descriptions

Please note: programs are subject to change. We advise you to look up the current program in OSIRIS Student at the start of the year.

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Why study Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation in Tilburg?

  • It is the only program offered by a Research University in the Netherlands, and one of a few in Europe. You will acquire a strong academic foundation: in entrepreneurship, business innovation, as well as in other fields of expertise, such as economics, finance, law, and ethics.
  • The program matches courses that transfer rigorous academic insight and understanding with action-oriented Entrepreneurship in Action (EiA) courses in which will learn to do business innovation and entrepreneurship by doing it. The sequel of EiA courses runs throughout your entire bachelor's program.
  • You will learn through reflection: how to best apply scientific insights and skills to play your role in doing good. Tilburg Alumni contribute to society and are (pro) active and ethical global citizens.
  • You will build a relevant network with scale-up entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate business innovators.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between this program and International Business Administration?

The differences between International Business Administration (IBA) and Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (E&BI) are substantial and you should carefully consider what suits you best.

First, the content is different:

  • IBA is a general business program that prepares students to operate in (existing) international companies, in either Marketing, Finance, Strategic Management, Accounting or Information & Operations Management. The program covers all major business areas, focuses on international contexts, and contains a fair share of quantitative and research methods courses.
  • E&BI has a more focused positioning and provides a solid preparation to start-up and scale-up new business operations. E&BI teaches students the business aspects that they need within innovative and entrepreneurial contexts. For example, the finance course focuses on the specific challenges of financing start- and scale-ups. The program trains skills critical for entrepreneurs and business innovators, such as embracing and driving newness & disruption, and coping with setbacks.

Second, we expect the students to differ:

E&BI students embrace uncertainty and ambiguity. What others would regard as chaotic or disorganized they see as dynamic and inviting. IBA students prefer to operate in a more structured environment where the expectations are clear and boundaries are firm. In general IBA students are more structured and analytical in nature, whereas E&BI students are analytical doers, creative and eager to think out-of-the-box. We expect that graduates of the two programs will later in life also end up working in different professional contexts and/or roles.

What start-up support does Tilburg University provide?

We expect that many of the Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation students will aim to start their first (or second?) business during their studies, if shortly upon graduating. The university has for many years provided active start-up support to its students and alumni. It is a key partner of Braventure, the incubation program of North-Brabant (the region in which Tilburg is located). 

We expect that many of our students will experience the program to incubate entrepreneurs and ventures. Some of these ventures may grow out of course assignments. You may experience how valuable the network with Dutch entrepreneurs, investors and specialist advisors that you develop during the program will be to your future entrepreneuring. In addition, Tilburg University's IQONIC program offers you a variety of opportunities to further develop your entrepreneurial mindset.

For those that will be already scaling-up their business during the program the university can assign you a talent-status to assist you having a dual-career during your studies. That will allow you to combine being an entrepreneur with being a successful student.

Is it doable to run a company next to your studies?

That depends: some will be able to do both at the same time. However, we expect that most will first focus on graduation before committing to doing their first serious start-up. If you would run a small enterprise as a side-kick (for example by providing private tutoring to high school students), then you might very well be able to combine that with your studies.

If you do very well in the first semester, then perhaps you may be more capable to combine your studies with a serious start-up project. However, you will then have to be willing to compromise how you will spend your time as both the Bachelor’s program and a start-up will indeed require substantial effort.

But we have seen many others successfully combining a degree program with starting up a business that they continued to grow after graduating. It can be done, but not by everyone. Obviously your first priority should be to obtain your Binding Study Advise (BSA) as you otherwise would not be able to continue with your studies.

Are you expected to have your own business upon graduation?

No, we do not believe that the best way to prepare for a career in entrepreneurship and business innovation is to start your first business while being an undergraduate student. Many of our graduates will prefer to first gain some industry experience before venturing of themselves. Others would dram to join a large firm to drive future development as a business innovator or internal entrepreneur.

Throughout the program you will learn that one can be entrepreneurial in many different forms and flavors. Some will end up becoming an entrepreneur by acquiring a company in their thirties after having worked for an employer for several years. Obviously, we will not block you from graduating while (co-)owning a business but we do not expect all our students to aspire to do so.

What are other career options next to becoming an entrepreneur?

Different routes

One of the beauties of the Bachelor's-Master's structure of higher education is that your initial degree does not block you from shifting perspectives. Some will start with a Bachelor's program in Business Administration and then realize that entrepreneurship is their passion and then decide to do a Master in Entrepreneurship. Others may start in Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (E&BI) and then decide that they want to become a marketing expert and therefore opt for a Master in Marketing.

Irrespective of how you choose your programs, you should also bear in mind that employers often are keen on hiring talents, not necessarily on hiring graduates that already believe to be a specialist. Hence, also in your future career you will be able to change course. You might even end up becoming and Human Resource Manager. 

Job prospects

Upon graduating from the E&BI program you could decide to already enter the labor market. Some large Dutch employers are hesitant to hire university graduates with only a Bachelor’s degree, they would expect you to first also complete a Master’s program. Others, especially the more entrepreneurial scale-ups will recognize your added value. They would expect you to be more proactive and self-driven than the usual recruit. You can help an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial company to scale. For example by working on product or service development, assisting in new market entry, being a product manager, or by driving B2B sales.

We guarantee that your will learn about such job prospects while interacting with entrepreneurs, business innovators and other business representatives during the program.

How many of your faculty are, or have been entrepreneurs themselves?

It is understandable that you want to know if your educators know enough about entrepreneurial and innovating practice to teach you valuable skills and knowledge. Yet, as a program taught at a research university we hope you will agree with us that although you probably will refuse to take flying lessons with someone who has never piloted a plane herself, you might as well be wary to be explained how a glider plane is able to fly by someone who has been able to not crash the plane during the few times that he has piloted a plane.

The first relates to learning by doing under the guidance of a master (as was common in the Medieval guilds in Europe), the second relates to learning before or while doing from someone who understands the relevant theories (which obviously are derived from carefully studying what business innovators and entrepreneurs do in practice).

As much as the aerodynamics required to explain why gliders planes can fly is applied physics, theoretical insights from sociology, psychology and economics can help you to explain (and therefore understand) what one can do to increase the odds of success (and minimize the costs of failing) when engaging in business innovation or entrepreneurship. That explains why all your instructors have been trained as academic researchers, and why some have experience in doing business innovation and entrepreneurship.

Luckily, we will draw on a large pool of alumni-entrepreneurs and alumni-innovators to ensure you will meet enough with actual flying hours . . .

Will the university claim ownership of the ideas that I develop during my studies?

No, under Dutch law, employers are entitled to claim ownership of inventions and other forms of intellectual capital created by employees. However, as a student you are not an employee. Tilburg University will also not force you to sign a legally binding contract in which you hand over the ownership of your intellectual property to the university. Imposing the signing of such a contract would probably thwart entrepreneurial and innovative endeavors.

However, if you would decide to start a business on an idea co-created with fellow students during (or outside) a course you would obviously have to agree on a proper settling of claims on intellectual property. Such could also be an issue when working with a company on possible growth options for that company. In such case we expect that the companies will have you agree that it would be fair and reasonable to hand over those ideas to that company. That is one of the reasons why we also include a course on the legal issues of business innovation and entrepreneurship in the Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation program.

What is the balance between theory and practice?

Tilburg University prides itself to be one of the best research institutes in economics and management. We aim to ensure that what we teach is academically sound and practically relevant. We want you to become a critical consumer of tools, models and theories. You are able to debunk myths, recognize fads, and know that what may have worked for a few may not work for others. If someone tells you how something should be done, you want to know why that would be the best way to act. You want to do AND reflect.

Some may discover that they like this so much that they would actually like to (learn to ) develop to our collective academical understanding of business innovation and entrepreneurship. A famous saying amongst social scientists is that there is nothing as practical as good theory. That is why you will iterate between both worlds in basically each and every course of the Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation program. Also because one of the best ways to learn theory is to reflect on practice, for example through experiential learning and case learning.

How much time should I expect to spend on attending classes?

You should expect to spend about 20 hours a week in class. You should expect to spend another 20 hours on class preparation, course assignments and other program related activities. The program was not designed to require a part-time commitment. To fully immerse in studying and preparing for business innovation and entrepreneurship  you need to commit about 40 hours a week to the program. Of course there will be quite some flexibility on where and when you want to do the out-of-class learning.

How large- or small-scale is this program?

At Tilburg University, you will usually attend lectures with all other students, whereas tutorials are commonly with 60-100 other students. A lot of the learning will be project-based. Project teams are small: they consist of just a few people. Hence, irrespective how many others may enroll, the learning environment will remain to be (relatively) small-scale.

What is the exchange window in the first semester of the third year?

We are keenly aware that entrepreneurs and business can only thrive when they can do business across border. Not only within Europe (that would not surprise you knowing that the Netherlands has the population of a big city) but across the globe. Many of the Entrepreneuship and Business Innovation students come from abroad.

We provide the exchange window to get some (more) first-hand experience as a global citizen. We have partnerships with about 300 universities, each of them resembling Tilburg’s ambition to root its education in outstanding research. Selection for an exchange slot will be competitive and merit based. Some locations are in high demand (think of the US), others attract the more adventurous. We hope you will try to go where you can deepen or broaden your competences.

Are you...

  • A creative thinker and doer?

  • Ready for entrepreneurship?

  • Willing to make a positive contribution to economic growth, society or the environment?

Then Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation is the program for you!