Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Throughout the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Specialization, students gain the competencies to manage technology innovation, entrepreneurial ventures and commercialization processes in generating business plans and ideas.

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship MBA, supported by the eHUB Entrepreneurship Centre, provides a valuable tool to jump to the forefront of new venture creation and innovation management.

Focusing on all levels of innovation management, from idea generation, through feasibility studies, and finally to market launch, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Specialization develops knowledge and skills in the important areas of:

  • Identifying opportunities
  • Facilitating innovation and development
  • Managing intellectual property
  • Building new organizations and markets

The Program

During the first year of MBA studies, Innovation & Entrepreneurship students complete the same core courses as all other MBA students. Students are able to take Innovation & Entrepreneurship electives during the first year of the program.

In year two, students choose from a wide range of electives in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, either focusing on one key area such as finance or management or gaining a general overview of all areas. Students will apply their knowledge in a project course by developing business and strategy plans for University spin-off companies or other start-ups.

Program Outline

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Courses

SMO 631: New Venture Creation (Required)
This course concentrates on the development of a new enterprise and the management of an existing small business. Casework and projects enable students to assess the opportunities, risks, and capabilities necessary for entrepreneurial success. The course emphasizes managerial and strategic problems during the early years of business formation and growth, including business planning. The course emphasizes the interface between theory and practice.
SMO 659: Strategic Management of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Required)
This course addresses business principles at the interface of organization and technological change. It is intended for future managers and entrepreneurs, and provides the strategic frameworks needed to manage and profit from technological innovation. This course is designed in three parts, starting with an examination of innovation in the context of historical patterns of technological change. Second, it will address the organizational challenges in creating and managing innovation. To close, the course will integrate this knowledge and introduce strategies for commercialization and business development. Case studies and a final project will create opportunities to apply the frameworks.
B LAW 658: Intellectual Property Law & Commercialization
An overview of key legal concepts from a variety of jurisdictions related to intellectual property and its commercialization. The course will follow a comparative case-based approach to explore formal laws, institutions and business practices related to IP in technological innovation. Topics covered may include copyright, trademark, industrial design, database protection, patent law, application process and patent searching, and licensing strategies, with a special focus on the life sciences. The course aims to provide students with the skills required to address legal issues arising from technological innovation.
FIN 635: Venture Capital
Covers the theory and practice of venture capital financing of entrepreneurial firms. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following areas: venture capital fundraising (labour-sponsored venture capital corporations, limited partnerships and corporate venture capital) characteristics of entrepreneurial ventures (including agency problems, firm valuation) at different stages of development (seed, start-up, expansion, mezzanine, buyout, turnaround), the structure of venture capital financial contracts (staging, syndication, forms of finance), restrictive covenants, investment duration, and venture capital exits (IPOs, acquisitions, secondary sales, buybacks, write-offs). Prerequisite: FIN 501 or 503.
MARK 612: Marketing Research
Provides an examination of marketing research methodologies emphasizing the translation of marketing problems into researchable form, research design, data gathering, data analysis, and implementation of research results. Prerequisite: MARK 502
SMO 600: From Science to Business - Translational and Entrepreneurial Challenges
This is a project-focused course on technology entrepreneurship and translation. At the core of the course will be `real life' projects that require business development analysis and assessment. Based on their projects, students will be expected to produce technology commercialization plans as a key output for the course. In addition, the course will address key strategic and policy issues related to enhancing technology entrepreneurship at the science-business interface. Topics covered include open innovation systems, the challenges associated with the bridging the gap between science and business, and the strategic management technology translation and entrepreneurship. Prerequisite: SMO 659
SMO 601: Innovation & Sustainability - The Cleantech Revolution
The clean technology and renewables course is a course designed to fit with three areas of graduate study: technology development and transfer, strategy, and sustainability. In this course, we will begin with an examination renewable energy industries (solar, water, wind, etc.) and clean technologies focused on waste and recycling. Clean and green strategies will be identified and discussed, using specific examples from our international clean technology research and database. At the end of the course, students will present either a project with a local clean technology company project or a case analysis of a key clean technology company of interest.
SMO 603: Managing Innovation
This course is an introduction to practical applications to manage the innovation process in established companies. The focus will be on building and exploring clear innovation strategies, as well as understanding successful innovative organizations. This course is intended to provide participants with an overview of the management structures, processes and roles for successfully managing and participating in the management of innovation activities.
SMO 627: Advising Family Business
In this course students will examine some of the most salient issues facing family businesses from the perspective of a professional advisor. Case studies and recent research will be used to demonstrate how to address fundamental challenges facing family businesses in practice (e.g. communication, governance and succession issues, family conflicts and nepotism). From the perspective of advisors, students will analyze the unique competitive advantages - and disadvantages - of family businesses. Guest speakers who are advising family businesses or who are family business members will share their unique experiences relative to working with, or in, family businesses. The course will be highly interactive and students will be encouraged to discuss how to best address the weaknesses of family firms while simultaneously building their strengths.
SMO 628: Managing Family Enterprise
Designed to improve managerial knowledge and practice through improved recognition and understanding of the significance of family firms and of the unique challenges they face. Designed primarily for individuals who a) are members of a family with established business interests; b) might find themselves working for family controlled firms; c) might find themselves working in a professional capacity with family controlled firms in roles such as accountant, lawyer, banker or consultant.
SMO 642: International Family Enterprise
International Family Enterprise provides an opportunity for students to investigate issues related to family enterprise in international contexts. Using a combination of theoretical information, written case studies, and presentations from guest speakers the course studies family firms from the perspective of family, ownership and business. As well, since family business is a prevalent organizational form throughout the world, the course allows students the opportunity to investigate how non-family businesses can best deal with family firms in other countries. The course looks at family firms operating outside Canada and the US, as well as Canadian family firms with international operations and addresses the following general questions: What are the key organizational and strategic issues for family businesses in other countries? How can we best understand the combination of family, ownership and business issues in international family firms? How can Canadian family firms best organize in order to compete internationally?
SMO 656: High Technology Business Development
This course introduces students to the skills and components involved in the development of a high technology based business. Emphasis will be on business development at the interface of science and technology product development, including challenges facing new start-ups. Key business development topics include product development, market creation, building a management team, intellectual property, financing, ownership and exit strategy. Students will experience business development through case studies, presentations and class discussions.
SMO 686: Design Thinking and Innovation
This course is intended to introduce you to design thinking models and practices. Hopefully it will excite an interest that will allow you to think and act differently. The course is designed to be rigorous. It will explore the core underlying principles and foundations as well as examine the implications of design thinking on larger organizational design and operational activities. The good news is that the best way to learn about design thinking is to become actively engaged in doing. The course will be highly experiential - classes will be active and stimulating and the opportunity to conduct a full design project on an important issue offers a powerful learning platform.
SMO 686: Entrepreneurial Strategizing
Entrepreneurial skills are increasingly needed across all domains of economy of society. While conventional entrepreneurial imagery invokes a Silicon Valley high technology start-up, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial behavior is prevalent in many large corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and community settings. This includes varied forms of cultural and social entrepreneurship. This course aims to provide a broad overview of general entrepreneurial skills that are vital for any successful career and organizational situation. Our focus will be on providing students with the strategic tools needed to think and act entrepreneurially and innovatively. Entrepreneurial strategizing emphases include framing, resource assembling, opportunity sensing and developing, value creating, designing, networking, effectual reasoning, and iterative validating and learning. Prerequisite: SMO 500.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Edmonton

With a very diverse economic and geographic climate, Edmonton is home to cutting-edge research in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Microelectronics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical diagnostics and treatments
  • Information and communication
  • Agribusiness
With University of Alberta researcher's receiving over $300 million/year for cutting-edge research, massive upgrading of University research facilities, strong government support, and the U of A's track record of creating spin-off companies (over 50 companies, more than any other Canadian University and 2nd in North America) no other business school can offer a program on par with the Alberta MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship.