Creative Entrepreneurship

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Authored by Panos Panay, Ken Zolot


Course Code: OMBUS-391

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 3

Level 3

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Musicality is an exercise in developing good listening skills, experimenting, overcoming repeated failure, self-discipline, and successful collaboration. It turns out that these skills are not only the key to becoming a great musician but they are also the attributes and behaviors found in successful entrepreneurs. Creative Entrepreneurship will teach you how to leverage creativity for business innovation and career development.

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The course approaches entrepreneurship as primarily a creative discipline and borrows from design thinking concepts, such as observing, developing a point of view, prototyping, and constant iteration, as a means of guiding you through the process of the entrepreneurial endeavor. You will develop the basic mindset, knowledge, and insights required to pursue an entrepreneurial career, whether as the steward of your own career or as the founder of a new business in any creative field. Throughout the course, parallels will be drawn between musical creation and the entrepreneurial process, as a way of contrasting popular ideas of how to start and run a business.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the core characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset
  • Develop a mindset for observation and synthesis
  • Understand basic concepts around market analysis and competitive landscaping
  • Develop a methodology for how to solicit input from others about your startup plans
  • Write a simple marketing plan, leveraging social media to enhance customer reach
  • Put together an effective presentation for your business startup
  • Understand the critical importance of people selection
  • Write a culture plan
  • Select the right attorney and understand basic legal considerations
  • Understand basic finance
  • Build the right networks
  • Understand the inside obstacles threatening a startup
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: The Entrepreneurial Mindset

  • Deconstructing the Entrepreneurial Myth
  • Seeing the World Entrepreneurially
  • What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial?
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Roger Brown, Founder, Bright Horizons, President, Berklee College of Music

Lesson 2: Learn to Observe: Balancing Left and Right Brain

  • Five Skills Successful Innovators Share
  • What Is Your Innovator’s DNA?
  • Seeing What Others Don't
  • Good Things Come to Those Who Observe
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Diane Hessan (The Startup Institute)

Lesson 3: Developing Your Vision, Getting Input and Reducing

  • Connect with Your Intentions
  • Techniques on Discovering Your Intentions
  • Why Should People Care?
  • Asking the Right People the Right Questions
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Bill Warner (Founder of Avid and Wildfire)

Lesson 4: Prototyping and Iterating

  • Falling in Love with the Problem
  • Prototyping
  • Learning to Iterate, Or, Living in Permanent Beta
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Rich Goodstone (co-founder of Superfly)

Lesson 5: Sizing Up Your Market and Competition

  • Understanding Your Market
  • Sizing Up Your Market: Top Down vs. Bottom Up Look
  • Crossing the Chasm, Or, Making It Big Time
  • Addressing Customer Needs
  • Sizing Up Competition
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Emilio and Gloria Estefan

Lesson 6: Developing Your Brand, Marketing Message, and Plan

  • What is a Brand After All?
  • Authenticity and Your Brand
  • Developing Your Message and Making It "Stick"
  • Developing Your Marketing Plan
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Stephen Canfield (Red Bull)

Lesson 7: Inbound Marketing and Social Media

  • How to Think About Engagement
  • Treating Followers Like Customers
  • Stand Out - Be Remarkable
  • Social Media Outlets - A Primer

Lesson 8: The Perfect Pitch: Presentation and Sales Essentials

  • So, What Makes a Great Presentation?
  • Learn to Present
  • Presentation Secrets of Rock Stars
  • A Word on Body Language

Lesson 9: Building the Right Team and Culture

  • Company Culture
  • The Pixar Way
  • Building Your Team
  • Building an Advisory Board
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Paul English (Founder Kayak)

Lesson 10: Legal and Financial Aspects of Entrepreneurship

  • Creating Your Corporate Entity
  • Start-Up Documents Overview
  • Founding Team and First Hires
  • Entrepreneurial Financial Basics
  • The Case of Bootstrapping
  • Financing Options (If You Must Raise Money)
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Alex Rigopoulous (Harmonix)

Lesson 11: The Art of Relationship Building

  • Developing Your Network
  • The Care and Feeding of Relationships
  • All Business Is Personal
  • Music to My Ears
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Lyor Cohen (Music Industry Executive)

Lesson 12: The Inner Game of Entrepreneurship

  • What They Don't Tell You About in Business School
  • Failure is Part of the Process - Accept It
  • Setting Priorities - Urgent vs. Important
  • Learn to Replenish
  • Entrepreneur Profile: Tim Westergreen, Founder, Pandora


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Panos Panay


Panos Panay is the Founding Managing Director of Berklee ICE (Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship) as well as a passionate entrepreneur and active startup mentor in the creative media space. As the founder of Sonicbids, he created the leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online, building a subscriber network of 550,000 bands and 35,000 promoters from over 100 countries. He led the company as CEO for 13 years, from its inception until after its successful acquisition by Backstage LLC, in a deal backed by Guggenheim Partners.

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Panos is widely credited for spotting and capitalizing early on three distinct emerging trends in the music business over the last decade: the shift to a primarily online means of marketing, the emergence of an “artistic middle class,” and the shift from a record-label-funded industry to a consumer brand-funded music business. He writes weekly about startups and entrepreneurship for blogs and publications such as Huffington Post, Forbes, WSJ Accelerators, and Fast Company. He guest lectures at universities including MIT, Boston University, Brown University, and Bentley College, and speaks often at industry events like SXSW, MIDEM, and CMJ. As a passionate arts and business advocate, Panos serves on a number of boards, including being the Chair of Berklee College of Music’s Presidential Advisory Council for six years. He is a die-hard supporter of English football club Arsenal F.C.

Panos’s awards include Fast Company’s “Fast 50″ honor, Inc Magazine’s “Inc 500,” Mass Hi-Tech All Stars, Berklee College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Boston Business Journal’s “40 under 40.” Sonicbids and Panos were also profiled in a chapter in the Financial Times-published book “Outsmart” by best-selling author Jim Champy. Read Less

Ken Zolot


Ken Zolot is a Senior Lecturer at MIT, where he guides scientists and engineers who aspire to transform inventions into startups. Ken has been named by Mashable as “one of 15 people shaping Boston’s Tech Scene,” and has been either a founder or advisor to dozens of tech ventures founded by MIT alumni. He joined Berklee as a founding steering committee member of the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

Peter Spellman


Peter Spellman is focused on helping people discover and express their potential as creative careerists. As former director of Berklee’s Career Development Center, Peter advised thousands of students and alumni, and facilitated collaboration among numerous college departments to ensure high-quality service to and engagement with the Berklee community.

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He is the author of several handbooks on music career development, including The Self-Promoting Musician: Strategies for Independent Music Success (Berklee Press), Indie Business Power: A Step-By-Step Guide for 21st Century Music Entrepreneurs (MBS Business Media), Plan Your Band! (MBS Business Media), and Indie Marketing Power: The Resource Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing (MBS Business Media).

As a composer, Peter has scored films for the National Science Foundation and composed video game soundtracks for Massachusetts General Hospital.

He has worked as an artist manager, booking agent, label director, and producer. With more than 30 years of experience as a performing and recording artist, he brings this experience to Berklee in order to help students effectively bridge their college experience to real-world opportunities in their chosen fields. He also performs with the improvisational collective, Underwater Airport. Read Less

Nicole d'Avis


As Managing Director of Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, Nicole led the Open Music Initiative, a 300+ music industry member consortium focused on streamlining metadata and payment tracking for artists, and is a co-founder of RAIDAR, a blockchain based music licensing platform built BY and FOR Berklee student artists. She designed Berklee College’s minor in Creative Entrepreneurship, including teaching a course on Music + Blockchain, and directed its annual Silicon Valley Student Trip, the Berklee-Brown Summer Program, executive ed programs with ESADE Business School and numerous Berklee Artist Residencies with Grammy-Award winning artists. 

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Nicole’s speaking engagements include the MIT Connection Science / Forbes Imagination in Action event at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, the Unclaimed Royalties Symposium at the U.S. Library of Congress, the Beatvyne Music x Tech Conference in Dublin, the American Film Market Conference and the Ace Hotel Artists Workshop in London. For the last 15 years, Nicole’s work has straddled the intersection of technology, creativity, value and education, working with thousands of young creators and makers globally to use emerging technology and the arts as tools for social justice and career sovereignty. Read Less


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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