NCSSM Durham

Applications in Entrepreneurship

This experience is by application only.  It is open to both juniors and seniors on the Durham campus.  The course is taught during the spring semester.

About Applications in Entrepreneurship

Applications in Entrepreneurship offers students a rare opportunity to experience the startup process under the direction of a seasoned and successful entrepreneur.  Throughout the semester, students develop the entrepreneurial mindset while gaining the knowledge necessary to start and scale a proposed new venture. While the course is anchored by a series of seemingly linear steps, emphasis is placed on the dynamic and iterative process of early-stage startup.  Students explore the complexities of value proposition design, customer discovery, and market analysis as they attempt to substantiate the viability of their ideas.  In addition, students design a go-to-market strategy and business model to effectively create, deliver, and capture value.  As students build and refine their new ventures, they also design and deliver a weekly pitch to the class to receive frank and constructive feedback on their current assumptions.  The weekly pitch is a foundational experience in the course, offering invaluable insight and advice from both the entrepreneur-instructor and other guest entrepreneurs.  As a unique culminating experience, students enter a “shark tank” of sorts to deliver an expanded pitch deck presentation to potential investors.  

Current Student to Contact

What would I do in the program?

Students develop the entrepreneurial mindset as they build a startup from zero.  Along the way, students create value propositions, conduct extensive market research, build business models, and deliver an expanded pitch deck to real-world entrepreneurs and investors.

How do I know this program is a good fit for me? 

This program is ideal for students who want to innovate, discover, and build.  The experience is iterative, non-linear, and deals in the intersection of various disciplines.  Students who are excited by complexity and messiness particularly enjoy the journey.

What projects have past / current students worked on?

Student startups have created ventures around AI Fitness Coaching, Financial Literacy Software, Pizza-Making Robots, and a host of other wide-ranging value propositions.

Application Deadline

September 29,
12:00 PM (Noon)



(open to juniors and seniors)



Course Information

Academic Year

Chad Keister, NCSSM Durham Instructor of Economics and Social Science

Chad Keister is a Pennsylvania native, but Tar Heel at heart. As a four-year member of the humanities faculty, he has taught a variety of residential courses including AP Economics, Contemporary Challenges in Economics, International Relations, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, and Applications in Entrepreneurship. As a member of DEEP, Chad has taught International Relations, Western Political Thought, and AP Economics in the online program. Chad is passionate about teaching, collaborating with colleagues, and working with students on projects related to creativity and innovation. He has developed the J-Term course Walden Redux or How I Learned to Love Life More, Screen-Less—an adventure into the woods sans screens (or any technology for that matter). Before NCSSM, Chad was a faculty member of what some consider a friendly rival, Enloe Magnet High School. While at Enloe, he served as department chair and taught IB Theory of Knowledge, AP Economics, AP US Government and Politics, and various other social science courses. Prior to teaching, Chad was a social worker in Pittsburgh helping people transition from welfare to work. He earned degrees from the University of Pittsburgh (BA) and Duquesne University (MS). Chad is a serious Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Course Description

HU4010 Applications in Entrepreneurship

Prerequisite(s): Admission by application and selection.

Corequisite(s): None

Graduation Requirements Met: One elective credit

Schedule Requirements Met: One of five courses required each semester

Meeting Times: One 100-min. evening period per week

“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” – Victor Kiam. This course provides the necessary background material and a structured opportunity for students with ideas for products or services to bring their ideas from conception to market through this real-life activity of entrepreneurship. A thematic focus for the products or services is announced each year. Students submit their thematically-related ideas to a proposal evaluation committee which reviews the applications and selects the student teams for that year's course. Students then learn and apply the steps involved in marketing their ideas including market analysis, business plan development, and presentation to potential investors.