Courses and Workshops
Experiential Learning

From validating your idea with the market to building a team, creating a business model and exploring financing options, we offer state-of-the-art entrepreneurship courses and workshops through the Entrepreneurship Center. 

These experiential courses — students work on a team to create a business plan while they are learning — inform how to create a commercializable business in life science/healthcare.  We assume our students have no business background and target the learning to their level.  Courses are offered to students, faculty and staff at UCSF; to the business community; to Berkeley and Stanford communities.  We believe that a diverse group in the classroom enhances the learning experience. 

Experienced members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Silicon Valley teach at our classes and mentor teams.  They are CEOs, members of a company's management, investors, attorneys and consultants.  Our classes are mainly not for credit because we want to serve students who are passionate about the education, not looking for a grade. 

Whether you have an idea you want to explore, are curious about entrepreneurship, already have a company or would like to join a startup team, you will find knowledge and experience in our classes and workshops.

We are a unique resource in the Bay Area, delivering top quality entrepreneurship education with a life science twist.   


Introduction to Entrepreneurship

This four-week course, with four 1.5 hour sessions, is for those starting new science- or medicine-based ventures. We focus on for-profit ventures that have the potential to scale to solve important healthcare problems. 

We will cover key topics such as how to know if your idea is a commercial opportunity, business plans, business models, Intellectual property and investment. You will gain exposure to the world of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset in four lectures/Q&A sessions.

The course is appropriate for clinical or research faculty/students, post docs, or PhD and Masters students who are curious about the startup world or are considering whether to do a startup.



Startup 101

Startup 101 is the Entrepreneurship Center’s core entrepreneurship course.

Interested in creating a startup? Considering joining an entrepreneurial team? Have you been working on a startup but not had any business training? Would you like to find more team members or meet other entrepreneurs at UCSF?  Are you considering alternative careers to scientific research and curious about the Silicon Valley startup world?

If you’re in any of those categories, Startup 101 is perfect for you.

This experiential, team-based class will cover the topics important to starting a scalable, for profit commercial venture. You’ll learn how to recognize a business opportunity, how to do market research, business plans and business models, clinical development, regulation, how to get reimbursement from insurance companies, intellectual property, building the team, financing strategy, budgeting, sources of capital and more. The class ends with a Pitch Night to investors from the angel and venture capital community. You do not need to have an idea or a team to participate —we’ll help connect you.

If you have an idea or a venture, you may find team members in class that can help and even become part of your permanent team. Our classes are similar to entrepreneurship courses at Stanford and Berkeley with Silicon Valley sophistication and life science/healthcare specificity. This course is the successor to Idea to IPO; UCSF students can earn credit by signing up through Biochem 241. The course is open to UC Berkeley, Stanford and the business community.






David Johnson, JD, JSM, Lecturer in Law, Stanford.

This is the 6th year of David's workshop on negotiation skills, and it has been one of our most popular workshops. All of us negotiate with others in our public and private lives, but most people have not had access to the knowledge and training in this important skill. Whether you are negotiating a term sheet with an investor, a founders’ agreement, a new hire or a corporate partnership, your skill at negotiating will determine the outcome. In this workshop, you can learn about your negotiating style, the basics of a productive negotiation and work on a case study to practice.

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Donna LaVoie, President and CEO, LaVoieHealthScience

Founders of health science companies are asked to do it all - take a key scientific discovery or theory and show their stakeholders how they plan to turn it into a commercial success. Being a great scientist or clinician is not enough - communication plays a pivotal role in conveying your rationale to a diverse group of stakeholders - investors, customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, attorneys, employees, doctors, patients, caregivers and advocacy groups. Learn how to make your presentation comprehensive, succinct, accurate, specific, understandable and interesting for investors.


Intellectual Property

Deborah Kang, JD, Director, [email protected] Law, UC Berkeley School of Law

Whether you want to start a company or license your technology, having the right IP is essential. Learn about patents and other types of IP, what you need to do to protect your invention, mistakes that can destroy your IP and what investors will require. Our presenter was formerly at Fenwick & West and now heads the Berkeley Law School startup program.