Entrepreneurs, Technology & Sustainability

Human beings seem entrepreneurial by nature. The human conquest of the world in a rather short period of time (remember that the human race entered the world rather late in the global history) would not have been possible without the exploring and exploiting attitudes of human beings. Until the publication of the Report of The Club of Rome in 1972, The Limits to Growth, the prevailing idea was that the Earth offered to mankind unlimited possibilities for the fulfilment of human needs. Since then the insight arose that present generations bear responsibility for the fulfilment of needs of future generations. For this book sustainability is taken as: the fulfilment of needs of the present generations should not affect that of the future generations.

Humans are entrepreneurial, but not all humans are entrepreneurially equal. Some people are more entrepreneurial than others. In all day life some people see more opportunities than others. An initiating entrepreneur sees opportunities for new economic functions creating new values. Human societies are gradually more and more based on science and technology. The explosion of the information technology at the start of the 21st century is a striking example. Hence, engineers and scientists often witness new developments and new entrepreneurial opportunities.

To acknowledge such opportunities entrepreneurship is a condicio sine qua non. Therefore, already in the 1990's it was decided that students of Delft University of Technology should be acquainted to entrepreneurship in an educational surrounding of problem-oriented studying. In view of the Brundtland report, this entrepreneurship should be based on sustainability. Students were challenged to design a start-up based on a technological innovation that contributes to a sustainable development. To facilitate the student's activities information was made available on different aspects of entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability.

This background information appeared to raise interests in and outside the university. Hence it was decided to write this textbook, an initiative taken by the second author. The present book is directed to all people interested in funding a start-up enterprise as it provides many practical guidelines. Hence it can indeed serve as a background for students groups in problem-oriented learning that are involved in designing a technologically driven start-up. A very important aspect is the ethics of entrepreneurship as the ethics determine to a large extent what you can do as an entrepreneur.

This book is as concise as possible. In all chapters illustrative examples and problems are included. The answers to these problems are gathered in a separate Appendix. The book can be used by students of all relevant science and technology oriented faculties. Besides it provides material and insights relevant to all involved in entrepreneurial start-ups and to students of business-administration faculties.

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