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1-Credit Grinds

Grinds are one-day, 1-credit courses open to all DU undergraduate and graduate students! With more than 30 to choose from, these courses have become among the most popular at the University of Denver.

Schedule of Upcoming Grinds

featured grinds

Design Thinking (EVM 3413/4413)

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that builds your ability to first see and then solve human-centered opportunities. It starts with empathically looking at frustrations inside and around your organization, then moves through a variety of brainstorming sessions to build customer-centric solutions. Design thinking is a wonderful tool to help you monetize the human capital in your organization. Once you know the process, you’ll bring real challenges into the classroom, where you’ll use design thinking to build potential new products, services and solutions.

Creating Your Digital Presence (EVM 3402/4402)

LinkedIn isn’t enough. Your digital presence is a reflection of who you are personally and professionally, which expands to many social venues online. Your goal is to show customers, strategic partners and stakeholders who you are with a focus on authenticity and transparency. We’ll cover content best practices and how your personal brand parallels your business’s digital presence.

The Perfect Pitch (EVM 3407/4407)

Essential to most new business ventures is the ability to raise capital, initially from angel investors and then from venture capitalists (VCs). The capital-raising process usually starts with the “pitch”: a presentation that is compelling, exciting and informative. It also addresses what funds are required by the venture, how they will be used and how the investor will financially benefit from their investment. This course will help you learn how to create the perfect pitch for your new business venture. We will review the elements of both successful and unsuccessful historical pitch presentations, plus elements of ones that you create before and during the class.

All grinds

EVM 3400: The Innovation Amphitheatre

Do you want to start your own business and invent your own future but haven’t come up with a great product or service? Do you already have a business but want to expand into new spaces and offerings? This course is for people who answered “yes” to either of those questions. The Innovation Amphitheater takes you through 16 proven strategies and techniques to help you innovate, move into new spaces and find opportunities. You’ll explore strategies such as cross-overs, combos, slivercasting, inside-out, old school, retro and many more. 

EVM 3401: Project Management

Success in any facet of life requires a good plan … and any good plan defines your goal, tasks, resources, timeline and success factors, among other things. Defining (and executing) your plan in the context of solving a business problem is known as project management.

This course will help you understand the components that make up a good project management program and pitfalls to avoid, as well as tools and techniques to help ensure your project starts out on the right foot.

EVM 3402/4402: Creating Your Digital Presence

LinkedIn isn’t enough. Your digital presence is a reflection of who you are personally and professionally, which expands to many social venues online. Your goal is to show customers, strategic partners and stakeholders who you are with a focus on authenticity and transparency. We’ll cover content best practices and how your personal brand parallels your business’s digital presence.

EVM 3403: Ethics in Entrepreneurship

Creating a business for the sake of generating profit is not enough. Businesses must contribute to the betterment of society through social, environmental and financial gains. This course will help you build the right vision for your business by engaging you in ongoing reflection and dialogue about your ethical responsibilities in product and service innovation, and helping you understand cognitive, behavioral and principled approaches to ethical issues in product and service innovation.

EVM 3404/4404: Primary Research

To be successful in your business venture, you need to make data-driven decisions. Much of that data can come from internal operations or perhaps secondary sources. But, to truly be successful, you need to gather, analyze and make decisions based on primary research data from your external market. In this course, you’ll learn the basic tenets of performing primary research including defining your market segment, building a primary research instrument, gathering data using a primary research instrument, analyzing the data and making recommendations.

EVM 3407/4407: The Perfect Pitch

Essential to most new business ventures is the ability to raise capital, initially from angel investors and then from venture capitalists (VCs). The capital-raising process usually starts with the “pitch”: a presentation that is compelling, exciting and informative. It also addresses what funds are required by the venture, how they will be used and how the investor will financially benefit from their investment.

This course will help you learn how to create the perfect pitch for your new business venture. We will review the elements of both successful and unsuccessful historical pitch presentations, plus elements of ones that you create before and during the class.

EVM 3408: Accounting for Entrepreneurs

Accounting is critical to the success of every business—large or small, private or public. Even governments and nonprofits need accounting. In fact, accounting is so important that it’s often referred to as the “language of business.” This course will introduce you to that language, the process that accountants use to create records of a business’s operations and how that information is communicated to decision-makers, including you. An entrepreneur needs relevant, accurate and timely financial information in order to make the best decisions for their business, and you are the one person best suited to make this happen, especially early in the life of your business. Understanding this “language” will also help you become a better business partner to others, a better investor and a better consumer of business news.

EVM 3409: Financial Statements for Entrepreneurs

Of the four major financial statements, the most important to a new business venture are the balance sheet, the income statement and the statement of cash flows. Knowing how to build and interpret these is critical to your success during not only the early stages of your business but throughout its entire lifetime. In this Grind, based on a wide variety of financial transactions, you will learn how to build and interpret an income statement and a statement of cash flows. (It is assumed that you already know how to build and interpret a balance sheet.) You’ll also learn how to build a proforma income statement, based on the financial projections of your new business venture. 

EVM 3413/4413: Design Thinking

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that builds your ability to first see and then solve human-centered opportunities. It starts with empathically looking at frustrations inside and around your organization, then moves through a variety of brainstorming sessions to build customer-centric solutions. Design thinking is a wonderful tool to help you monetize the human capital in your organization. Once you know the process, you’ll bring real challenges into the classroom, where you’ll use design thinking to build potential new products, services and solutions.

EVM 3414/4414: Market Discovery/Product Fit

Market discovery is about identifying opportunities that you believe are worth exploring. Some markets have already been established; others have yet to be created. Is your product right for the market? Is the market right for the product you want to build?

This course is for people who are eager to use their ideas or develop new ideas to improve an existing market or discover a new market. We will study the market discovery and product-market fit for companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, Snap and Slack. You will learn how to quickly identify and test product-fit for your target market.

 

EVM 3417/4417: Branding & Messaging

What makes an amazing brand and how can you build one? How can customers find your brand if you’re a startup? How do you partner with your customer to create your brand? We will walk through the process of developing an amazing brand experience using search engine optimization and customer journey mapping while developing real brand depth—step by step.

EVM 3418: Build & Validation

Deciding what to build, how to build it and who to build it for is the basis for every business concept.  This applies not only to startups, but also existing companies that want to expand their enterprise.  When building a new product, service or venture, it’s important to create a buyable product with efficiency and limited resources. In short, you don’t want to build products your customers don’t want, and if they don’t want what you are building, you want to find that out as soon as possible.

This course will help you understand the concept of MVP (minimum viable product) by taking your own team-created concept from idea to inception. Concepts covered will include business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases and validated learning. The process will include team formation, ideation, collection of information to learn, and translating the data into action through market testing. You’ll present an MVP for your final project.

EVM 3420/4420: Cloud Technologies

Welcome to the cloud! But wait — what is the cloud? Is it a thing? A concept? If you are starting a new business (or thinking about it) or improving efficiencies in an existing one, you need to understand the technologies and tools available in the cloud.

The cloud has dramatically changed the competitive landscape for startups by reducing the cost of starting a new business. The cloud removes expensive equipment, software and support expenditures; with the cloud, you pay for what you use. This course will focus on identifying, analyzing and implementing cloud technologies to help run your business. Topics include the cloud’s flexible costs, how and when to implement cloud-based tools, data safety, comparing services and improving collaboration.

Additionally, we will tackle some common questions related to the cloud: Where do I host my website? How do I handle accounting? Where is the email server? How do I track customers? How do I share information? What tools are available for customer support? These are just a few issues the cloud can solve efficiently and cost-effectively. 

EVM 3421: Intellectual Property Issues for Startups

All businesses have assets—both tangible and intangible—that must be managed, nurtured, accounted for and protected. Among the most important of those assets fall in the realm of intellectual property (IP) and are protected through mechanisms such as copyrights, trademarks and patents. As a business owner, you must be aggressive and vigilant in ensuring that your most important IP assets are protected, as they are an important part of your brand portfolio. This Grind will introduce you to the role of copyrights, trademarks and patents as tools for protecting your IP. In doing so, you will learn about your rights as an IP owner and, equally as important, your responsibilities for not infringing on the IP assets of other organizations. 

EVM 3422/4422: Startup Legal Issues

Starting a business involves a host of tasks—from product and service development to marketing and sales—and at the foundation of all these activities are legal considerations. To get your business off on the right foot, this course introduces you to the legal concerns that are vitally important to your success. Legal considerations for startups include establishing a form of business operation, registering with the government, obtaining the appropriate licenses, filing sales taxes, hiring and managing employees and a plethora of other essential activities.

EVM 3424/4424: Visualizing & Presenting Data

Being able to tell a compelling story, in particular with data, is a skill that is rarely taught. Today, most people either adopt reports that have existed in an organization for a long time, or they create flashy reports using the latest tools. In most cases, neither of these reports give the end users what they want.

This course will focus on giving you the tools to create purposeful reports by helping you learn age-old design principles: form, fit and function.

EVM 3425/4425: Rapid Prototyping – 3D Printing and Laser Engraving

The purpose of this Grind is to empower you to more effectively develop your creative and entrepreneurial capacities through the tools of rapid prototyping. You will identify appropriate rapid prototyping technologies to apply to unique situations. This Grind’s curriculum progressively builds by presenting more challenging problems. At the end of the course, you will be able to turn ideas into solutions that add value to a product, process or service.

EVM 3428/4428: Developing a WordPress Website

If you are starting a new business or thinking about starting a new business, you need to understand the technologies and tools available to help you build and manage a website. But where do you host a website? And how do you create and update that website? These are just a few questions we will answer in the WordPress Grind.

Designed from a beginner’s perspective, this Grind provides a step-by-step tutorial for creating and publishing a website via WordPress. We will cover the conceptual framework of open source and content management systems (CMS) before leading into the fundamentals and tools required to build and maintain a WordPress website. At end of this course, you will be able to develop, publish and manage your own WordPress website. 

EVM 3430: Retail, Supply Chain & Distribution Management

If you have ever walked into a retail store or shopped online and wondered what it would take to create the experience yourself—including setting up the store, purchasing inventory, setting prices and deciding the layout—or just wondered how it all came together to become a viable business, then this Grind is for you. This Grind is also applicable if you are in the process of manufacturing a product or would like to know what goes into the supply chain to create and price your product. You will learn what to consider when choosing a distribution method to get your product to market. This Grind has been designed from a new entrepreneur’s perspective, helping you to understand the steps and process for marketing, pricing and selling. It is great for students who want to create a product or students developing a retail store that sells products manufactured by a third party or developed in-house. 

EVM 3431/4431: Emotionally Effective Leader

Did you know emotional and social skills are four times more important than IQ when considering success and prestige in professional settings? Emotional intelligence (EI) can be confusing. What does it mean? Is it fluffy stuff or something tangible? Now more than ever, employers and clients are seeking leaders who display emotionally intelligent thinking, decision-making and actions. How do you know if you meet those requirements? Until recently, EI was a “gut assessment” of someone’s ability to control their emotions or to care about someone or something. Now, we have a valid and reliable way of understanding our own emotional intelligence as well as that of others. We can even measure the EI of teams, but still, EI is quite complex. EI is a “talent” that, unlike IQ, can be learned and improved throughout one’s life. Research has distinguished 12 components of EI including self-regard, self-actualization, self-awareness, emotional expression, assertiveness, independence, interpersonal relationships, empathy, social responsibility, problem solving, reality testing, impulse control, flexibility, stress tolerance and optimism. Want to know how you score in these areas? In the Emotionally Effective Leader Grind, you will have the opportunity to assess your own EI through a valid and reliable EI talent assessment. Revealing your strengths and weaknesses, you will learn how to build your own EI and maximize the magnitude of your impact within the organizations or teams you lead. 

EVM 3432/4432: Getting to Know Your Customer

Would you date a person you don’t know? Much like finding the right partner, developing lasting relationships with customers requires time and energy upfront. You need to get to know your customers and what they value before they will make a commitment to your brand. For example, Peloton’s 2019 ad campaign “The Gift That Gives Back” was designed to highlight the benefits of a customer’s fitness journey. However, it received criticism in the media for being offensive. In the end, the negative publicity seemed to help strengthen the brand. Why? Perhaps it’s because Peloton paid close attention to what their customers care about. Peloton customers value fitness and well-being and the discourse in the media highlighted how Peloton could support their journeys. This course will introduce you to tools and data sources that can help with segmenting and targeting, developing customer personas and mapping out customer journeys to better understand the customer experience

EVM 3433: The Sales Process

Revenue is key to the success of any business venture and selling is pivotal to generating that revenue. Successful selling requires knowledge of your customers and their needs, as well as a deep understanding of the product or service being sold. We’ll discuss the role of sales in a variety of different business models, noting the differences and similarities, and then explore the sales process itself. This course uses lecture, videos, a classroom guest and an interactive exercise to teach the sales process and will give you a framework for evaluating customer needs, pitching your product or service, overcoming objections and closing sales.

EVM 3435: How to Realistically Fund Your Business

Essential to most business ventures is the ability to raise capital to fuel growth. If you’re starting a business the capital comes from friends, family, angel investors, venture capitalists (VCs) and hard work. The capital raising process requires a degree of thoughtful planning, rapid execution, and unforeseen pivots and audibles along the way. If executed properly, it allows you to run your business!

This course will help you learn how to identify the best funding options (bootstrap, loans, credit cards, investors…) for your business. 

EVM 3436: High-Performing Teams

High-performing teams can be the difference between success and failure. New startups and scaleups are more likely to survive and thrive with high-performing teams. These teams enable efficient and fast execution and can attract, develop and retain the best talent. This course will help you learn how to effectively create, work within, contribute to and lead high-performing teams that drive results and success in your business ventures. Of course, great leaders are essential to high-performing teams, so you will also learn what makes a leader excel as well as the differences between managers and leaders. 

EVM 3437: Design for the Digital Economy

Essential to any new business venture is the ability to design and create a brand that resonates with customers. The design process usually starts with the brief, or a set of requirements needed by the venture, and how these designs will be used in the venture.

This course will help you learn how to create the branding palette and identity for your new business venture. We’ll review the elements of both successful and unsuccessful historical product designs and campaigns, and we’ll critique the concepts that you create during the class.

This is a highly collaborative class, and you’ll deliver your final package as a group.

EVM 3438/4438: How to Identify, Evaluate & Beat Your Competition

Every business has competitors, from large corporations to “main street” businesses and start-ups. They all compete for customers and market-share. Even the University of Denver competes for students.

How to Identify, Evaluate & Beat Your Competition is for people who like to win and don’t like to lose. In this class, you’ll study strategic frameworks and tools that you can use to identify, understand and dissect your competitors and the levers that you can pull to beat them (like price, quality, service). We’ll identify and discuss front-line tactics you can use to outwork your competition.

We’ll explore and discuss real life cases and personal stories from various industries to illustrate the key concepts used by professionals in competitive analysis and strategy. You’ll apply these concepts during the breakout sessions, where we’ll take on the media and entertainment industry.

EVM 3439/4439: Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is simply applying entrepreneurship principles to societal challenges. This can be for profit, nonprofit, social business or even not an official organization at all. The consistency across all these is the desire to make society better.

Finding a problem that gives you purpose is a challenge in itself, as you cannot simply think about it. You need to create a life that allows you the freedom to find this purpose, and then successfully devote yourself to this purpose. In addition, if your goal is to make society better, you want to avoid the trap of working on one problem while actively contributing to others. So the ideal social entrepreneur creates an organization and life that offer a net improvement to society. This involves learning to “socially” manage others, environmental impact, finances, etc.

The Social Entrepreneurship course is for people that are eager to improve the world. We’ll incorporate concepts from finance, management, psychology and even neurobiology. You’ll learn how to find the problem you wish to work on, and how to be more successful in addressing that problem.