Colorado Leeds School of Business
frank moyes   graduate studies in arts entrepreneurship | musc 5968 | Syllabus    




MUSC 5968

Graduate Topics in Arts Entrepreneurship


Fall 2005



This course will introduce the entrepreneurial process in the context of the arts industry.  Students will gain a general understanding of the arts industry, as well as analyzing in-depth a segment (cinema, dance, fine arts, music or theater) that is of interest to them.


Students will examine entrepreneurship as a career. A comprehensive self-assessment will help students to better understand their own personal aspirations, and assess their unique skills and competencies.  Students will learn about opportunity assessment for new venture ideas; developing marketing plans; managing cash flow; and raising money.


Course Objectives

Students who take the course will:

  • Understand the issues faced by arts entrepreneurs who start their own venture
  • Learn about how the market works in your field and to better understand what it takes to be successful
  • Gain a basic understanding of the feasibility plan, which serves as a guiding framework for evaluating venture opportunities
  • Gain experience in interviewing customers and industry experts
  • Learn why entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting
  • Determine your own potential to be an entrepreneur



Case Studies

Case studies are a key element of this course. They have been selected to illustrate situations that are faced by entrepreneurs. Case studies give students a glimpse into the real world and require thoughtful, lively class discussions. Students are encouraged to meet in groups before the class to discuss the issues that are raised. You are expected to draw your own conclusions, recommend a course of action and be prepared to explain your decision in the classroom discussion.



Guest Speakers

Entrepreneurs from various segments of the arts industry will visit with the class to discuss their experiences in starting a venture. This is an excellent opportunity learn from someone who has succeeded (or failed) and ask the questions that you have not had the opportunity or courage to ask.



Description of Assignments

Entrepreneur Interview

Students will select an existing entrepreneurial venture in their field and conduct an in-depth interview with the owner. The goal is to provide you with insights about entrepreneurs that cannot be obtained from classroom experience alone.

  • Each student will visit the entrepreneur’s place of business to conduct the interview and observe how he or she responds to the questions. The company can be in any type of business in your field and must be at least 3 years old. 
  • The objective is to drill down into the venture and thoroughly understand the entrepreneur and how he or she does business. Write a 6-page 1.5 spaced paper that discusses what you have learned.
  • Describe the entrepreneur’s background, motivations for starting the venture, and challenges in growing the business.
  • Evaluate the value proposition (target market, product/service description and unique benefit).
  • Conclude with what makes the company successful (or not)? What are your recommendations for improvement?
  • Discuss how the findings of the interview apply or are meaningful to you. What have you learned about your own potential to be an entrepreneur?


Arts Industry Analysis

Students will analyze a segment of the arts market that is of interest to them, subject to instructor’s approval.  The analysis will identify and evaluate opportunities within that industry.  What overall trends are occurring within the industry?  What are the fundamental sources of these trends? What problems exist? What are the demographic, social, economic and political forces shaping the industry? 


Write a 5-page 1.5 spaced paper that discusses what you have learned. A suggested structure for this paper is as follows:


  • General overview of industry
  • Current state of this industry
  • Major forces and trends at work to change the industry
  • Opportunity created by these forces
  • Future of this industry
  • Include a complete bibliography and cite references as appropriate.

Feasibility Plan

Small teams of two students will be formed to study the feasibility of an opportunity in a segment of the arts industry that they have selected. It will be up to the students to form their own groups based upon similar interests. The feasibility plan consists of ten parts:

  • Venture Description
  • Opportunity/Need
  • Product/Service
  • Target Market
  • Unique Benefits
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Risks
  • Financial Projections
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations

Both primary and secondary research will be required to determine feasibility. The underlying basis of the plan is interviews and discussions with relevant business people. You should meet with industry experts and organizations, competitors, distributors, investors, bankers, real estate companies, product and service designers, engineers, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, consultants, etc.


Class Participation

Classroom discussion is vital to the learning process in this course. Each student is expected to participate in the class discussion of the assigned material and case studies. You should attend every class having read the materials and case study. Participation points will be awarded daily on the basis of the contribution to class discussions.


In classroom participation, the quality of comments is more important than quantity. Quality comments are those that move the discussion forward by:

  • Revealing important issues
  • Bringing the making of a decision closer
  • Making decisions that are well thought-out, logical, and rationalized
  • Offering opinions that are well thought-out, logical, and rationalized
  • Debating or challenging your peers without personal attack


Course Materials

  • Text: William J. Stolze, Start Up: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching and Managing A New Business, 5th edition, Career Press
  • Case studies: to be provided.
  • Reading materials on the arts industry: to be handed out in class.




Classroom participation and attendance     20%

Entrepreneur Interview                                    20

Arts Market Analysis                                       20

Written Feasibility Plan                                   20

Feasibility Plan presentation                          15

Weekly Art Concept Paper                               5                                                                 

              Total                                                   100%


Students will be expected to do the required readings; participate in class discussions; and analyze and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources.



University Policies

The following university policies apply in this course:


Code  The purpose of the honor code at the University of Colorado at Boulder is to secure for students an environment in which all individuals have responsibility for, and are appropriately recognized for, their individual academic and personal achievements.  See .


Students with Disabilities  Students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations must provide a letter from Disability Services (DS) and discuss specific needs with the professor, preferably during the first two weeks of class. See


Religious Holiday  The University of Colorado at Boulder has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays. 



Student Behavior  Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty has the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.  See




Frank Moyes

Entrepreneurship Teacher

Leeds School of Business

University of Colorado

Boulder, CO 80309-0419

Telephone: 303.473.9478

Office: Leeds Room 328A

Office Hours:     

Monday 2:00 to 4:00pm

Wednesday 4:00 to 5:30pm

Thursday 4:00 to 6:00pm

and by appointment


Web site:


Kevin Woelfel                                                                                

Director Entrepreneurship Center for Music                             

College of Music                                                                          

University of Colorado                                                                 

Boulder, CO 80309-0301                                                           

Telephone: 303-735-1272                                                          

Office: Music N-105                                                                     

Office Hours:                                                                                 

Friday 11:00 to 12:00                                                      

and by appointment                                                         


Web site:



Information about the course is available at both web sites. We welcome your questions and comments throughout the semester.










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