Entrepreneurship: Law and Finance

Start your business the right way. Make informed legal and financial decisions at each step of the entrepreneurial journey


8 weeks, excluding


6–8 hours per week,
entirely online

Learning Format

Weekly modules,
flexible learning

This Course Is for You if You Want To:


  • Build your entrepreneurial skills in order to launch a new business venture

  • Gain focused legal and financial knowledge to complement your existing understanding of business management

  • Augment your abilities with practical strategies to confidently start your entrepreneurial journey

You’ll Walk Away With:


Fundamental insights into launching a new venture, no matter where in your career you find yourself.


An understanding of new business funding, including how to secure future venture capital.


The legal knowledge to determine a business entity type and founders’ agreements, as well as an understanding of contract drafting and trademark laws.


The knowledge to build an effective team based around clear worker roles that meet the needs of your business, while navigating employment relationships.

Course Curriculum

Over the duration of this online short course, you'll work through the following modules:

Module 1
Leaving an Employer to Start a New Venture

Learn about starting a new business venture after leaving an employer.

Module 2
Entity Selection

Learn about different business entities, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Module 3
Founders' Agreements

Explore the value that founders' agreements can represent for new business ventures.

Module 4
Trademark Law and Branding

Learn more about how to create a competitive brand using a strong trademark.

Module 5
Employment Relationships, Worker Classification, and Team Building

Discover the intricacies of employment relationships and worker classification.

Module 6
Contract Drafting and Review for Start-Ups

Learn how to draft and negotiate contracts for new business ventures.

Module 7
Seed and Early-Stage Financing

Learn about the early-stage financing options available to entrepreneurs starting new business ventures.

Module 8
Venture Capital Financing and Exits

Learn how to structure the Series A funding round in order to secure future venture capital.


Please note that module titles and their contents are subject to change during course development.

Academic Directors

Steve Reed

Clinical Professor of Law, Assistant Director of the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center, and Co-Director of the JD-MBA Program, Northwestern Pritzker Law

Reed began his career as an attorney at Proskauer Rose LLP in Los Angeles, where he worked with public, private, and non-profit companies of varying sizes on a variety of legal issues, including contracts, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital transactions, and licensing. Reed graduated cum laude from Princeton University and received his JD from Columbia Law School. Reed is co-author of Entrepreneurship Law: Cases and Materials, the leading law school casebook on legal issues that affect entrepreneurs. He has won the Dean's Teaching Award and the Outstanding Professor of a Small Class Award at Northwestern Pritzker Law. Reed is a member of the California bar as well as the Illinois bar.

Esther Barron

Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center, Northwestern Pritzker Law

In the clinical program, Barron works with students to represent start-ups, more mature companies, and social entrepreneurs in a variety of transactional matters. She also co-taught a massive open online course on entrepreneurship law. Previously, Barron practiced at Goldberg Kohn in Chicago in its commercial finance department, representing lenders and other financial institutions in middle market debt transactions. In 2004, she co-founded a handbag company, Elezar, LLC. She also serves on the board of directors for the Coleman Foundation. Barron is the co-author of the legal casebook Entrepreneurship Law. At Northwestern Pritzker Law, she has received a Dean’s Teaching Award, the Student Bar Association Faculty Appreciation Award, and the Association of American Law Schools Teachers of the Year Award.

Darren Green

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and Practice, Northwestern Pritzker Law

Green is an expert in the fields of venture capital, early-stage financing, entrepreneurship, and contracts. In addition, Green advises a wide range of start-up and early-stage clients on corporate, technology, venture capital, and other transactional matters. Green’s clients span a wide variety of industries, including software, mobile, ‘green’ and sustainable industries, web design, SaaS, professional services, travel, engineering, retail, publishing, manufacturing, insurance, advertising, food services, and location-based technologies. He spent the first six years out of law school practicing corporate law at two first-tier law firms based in Chicago, and the next two years as the vice president of business development and legal affairs at MachineTools.com, a leading business-to-business metalworking machinery marketplace. In addition, Green is one of the founding members of Old Willow Partners, a boutique private equity fund based in the northern suburbs of Chicago. At Northwestern Pritzker Law, Green teaches classes on venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, advanced contracts, innovation, and client representation within the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center clinic.

An Online Education That Sets You Apart

This Northwestern online short course is delivered in collaboration with online education provider GetSmarter. Join a growing community of global professionals, and benefit from the opportunity to:


Gain verifiable and relevant competencies and earn invaluable recognition from an international selection of universities, entirely online and in your own time.


Enjoy a personalized, people-mediated online learning experience created to make you feel supported at every step.


Experience a flexible but structured approach to online education as you plan your learning around your life to meet weekly milestones.

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