Time: August 9-13, 2021

Place: Otaniemi, Espoo, Aalto University School of Business & online via Zoom

Instructor: Professor David Robinson (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University)

NFN Travel Grant: NFN offers Travel Grants for attending PhD students in finance coming from Nordic institutions outside of Finland. To apply for the Travel Grant, please use this this form (rtf), and send it to nfn (at)

Lectures: 20 h of lectures (20 x 45 minutes). Please note that the times below are in Helsinki time.

Monday 9.8. 12:00-13:45 & 15:15-16:30 V001, Ekonominaukio 1
Tuesday 10.8. 10:30-12 & 13:30-15 V001, Ekonominaukio 1
Wednesday 11.8. 10:30-12 & 13:30-15 V001, Ekonominaukio 1
Thursday 12.8. 10:30-12 & 13:30-15 V001, Ekonominaukio 1
Friday 13.8. 10:30-12 & 13:30-15 V001, Ekonominaukio 1

Course objectives: This course is designed to provide a deep, fast-paced dive into the emerging field of entrepreneurial finance. We will cover both classic papers as well as new work. The ultimate objective of the course is to prepare advanced graduate students for research in this rapidly growing sector.

The course will approach the topic of entrepreneurship from two perspectives: labor
and capital. On the labor side, we will explore the economics behind the decision to
eschew standard wage-earning employment and instead "go out on one's own," either by starting a business that employees other people or merely working for oneself. On the capital side, because startups of all types often require lots of financial capital, we study venture capital, private equity and other forms of financing in greater detail.

Another way of thinking about the course structure is in terms of the supply and
the demand for entrepreneurial capital. Who demands entrepreneurial capital except for the people starting new firms? We cover this side of the market in the first part of the course. Banks, venture capital organizations, and angel firms form the supply of entrepreneurial capital. Then we cover this side of the market in the second part of the course.

Class schedule:

Day 1: The Dynamics of New Firm Formation
Day 2: Behavioral Economics and the Returns to Self-Employment
Day 3: Venture Capital and Private Equity: Contracts and Individual Performance
Day 4: Venture Capital and Private Equity: Sector Performance
Day 5: New Questions in Entrepreneurial Finance

Grading:  The examination is based on term paper/project. Ideally this is a team work of 2-3 persons, solo projects are acceptable too. More information about the project will be provided during the lecture week. Grading will be on a scale of 0-5.

Term paper deadline: October 15, 2021. Papers should be returned directly to Professor Robinson via email.

Instructions for the term paper project: PDF

Credit units: 6 ECTS cr.

List of Participants: PDF

Participants: Doctoral students in Finance, Economics and related disciplines.

Registration / Application

  • Doctoral students of GSF and FDPE (finance & economics): Please register through this link.
  • Doctoral students in related fields and doctoral students at foreign universities: Application form can be found here: PDF file or Word file. Please, send in addition to your complete contact information, a report on the status of your doctoral studies, and a brief CV. Please ask also your thesis advisor to send us a short letter of recommendation by-email. All the required documents should be sent by e-mail to All students will be informed of their acceptance soon after the deadline.


The deadline for registering in this course is July 1, 2021.