Beyond Silicon Valley

Offered by Certificate
Instructor image

Professor Michael Goldberg


About this Course

Beyond Silicon Valley

Entrepreneurs fostering new ventures outside of well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystems like Silicon Valley face significant challenges. These markets are unlike Silicon Valley, and they will likely remain so. That doesn't mean they can't nurture and sustain new businesses.

In transitioning markets that lack abundant private sector financing, creative approaches from government officials, donors, and business leaders can fill the void to support entrepreneurial activity. Northeast Ohio (where Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University are located) has become a laboratory for such innovative solutions. During our time together in this course, we will explore some of these creative approaches to promoting regional entrepreneurship.

Northeast Ohio has seen a massive infusion of government and donor resources for over ten years. In that time, Northeast Ohio has promoted regional development (including job creation and follow-on funding) through alternative methods of financing startups.

It has not been easy. The region has made progress, but it remains to be seen whether it has struck upon an enduring formula. A dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem takes many years, even decades, to develop. Government policymakers and donors typically seek quicker returns on their support programs, which makes long-term support for entrepreneurship challenging.

This course includes case studies and first-person testimonials from entrepreneurs who have launched products and services ranging from medical devices to LED lights to whiskey. You will learn how these entrepreneurs discovered and procured resources from various programs and intermediary organizations. You will hear from business people still in the process of developing their companies as well as those whose ventures have flourished.

Our focus will extend beyond Cleveland to selected markets around the world, including Greece, Vietnam, Tunisia, Argentina, Rwanda and China. You will learn about international incentives and other supports available to developing startups and small businesses across the globe.

This course examines how different communities around the world approach implementing strategies and methods to support businesses. I will ask you to reflect on how to apply the principles we learn to growing entrepreneurship where you live. The social interactive features of the online platform will enable students from around the world to share ideas and learn from one another.

Most MOOCs rebroadcast professors’ lectures; this course is different. Don’t expect to see me standing in front of the camera, talking and lecturing every module. Instead, the lectures will be relatively short in length. They have more of the feel of an engaging documentary than a static classroom setting.

What type of person takes the Beyond Silicon Valley course?

  • Active and aspiring businesspeople in communities looking to initiate new startup ecosystems or bolster existing ones
  • Current and prospective entrepreneurs who want to learn about funding sources, risk management, and the lifecycle of startups
  • Professionals who work in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropic institutions, and various private funds that fund startups
  • Anyone curious about how to create and grow startup ecosystems outside the major tech hubs
  • The principles Beyond Silicon Valley teaches have been drawn from and applied to startups worldwide, from small villages to megalopolises. You'll study success stories spanning the globe from Vietnam to Kosovo to Botswana.

What will you learn in Beyond Silicon Valley?

  • How and where startups can find funding to get their businesses off the ground
  • What role government can play in encouraging startups and a healthy startup ecosystem
  • How anchor institutions such as universities and healthcare systems participate in startup ecosystems
  • How nongovernmental organizations support startups
  • How to raise funds from venture capitalists, angel investors, and accelerators
  • How to navigate challenging periods in the startup lifecycle
  • The importance of mentoring in successful startups


Instructor image

Professor Michael Goldberg

Assistant Professor, Design and Innovation
offered by
Case Western Reserve University
At the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, future leaders are built for the advancement of business and society through innovative curriculum that infuses business with analytics, technology and design thinking. Learn concepts from world-class faculty with industry experience and gain the skills to be competitive for in-demand positions upon graduation. Are you ready to discover the Weatherhead difference?


Week 1

  • Course Overview
  • The Role of Government

Week 2

  • The Role of Philanthropy/Donors

Week 3

  • The Role of Intermediary Organizations/NGOs

Week 4

  • Leveraging Anchor Institutions

Week 5

  • Access to Capital and Mentoring

Week 6

  • Course Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead