Startup as Thesis

Today, in the rapidly changing and uncertain world, there are new requirements for the knowledge and skills of future university graduates. 

An important factor in successfully developing leadership and entrepreneurial skills of future graduates is the opportunity to try their hands at being an entrepreneur or project manager during their studies at university.

In 2019, ITMO University launched the program "Business-Thesis": Technological Breakthrough and Global Technology Transfer. This program offers all ITMO students the develop their own innovative business projects as theses and defend this business project at the state final examination.

The Business-Thesis program at ITMO University is implemented by the staff of the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovation (FTMI).

The program relies on the following terms to differentiate between a startup and a business-thesis:

A startup is a company with a short operation history, running under conditions of uncertainty, in order to create an innovative product or service. 

A business project is an educational project created by students during their studies that is meant to develop and/or commercialize the results of research and design activities, which makes it possible to assess the level of a graduate’s professional competence.

Business- thesis - is a graduation thesis in the form of a business project. It is  - completed and submitted for defense, to demonstrate a graduate’s level of readiness for independent professional activity in the field of their educational program.

A business- thesis is carried out by students as part of a team but each member of the team will have to defend their own contribution to the project individually, to demonstrate their capability for independent professional activity in the field of their educational program.

During their studies at ITMO University, students who have chosen this thesis format need to prepare three main documents:

  1. The text of their graduation thesis in accordance with the requirements of their educational program and on the topic corresponding to their specialization at ITMO
  2. The presentation of a business project prepared in accordance with the requirements of the “Business- Thesis” program
  3. A business project verification sheet based on the feedback of mentors, which confirms the feasibility and relevance of this business project.

The business project team may include students of ITMO University and other educational institutions, as well as other competent participants, including employees of Russian and foreign private and public organizations.

There are additional opportunities for those students who choose to defend their theses as business projects:

  • The chance to take part in Advance Your Business Thesis, an intensive educational program for early-stage technology projects 
  • A separate coworking space for developing their on ITMO’s campus on Chaykovskogo St. 11/2
  • The opportunity to consult with leading experts in the field of technological entrepreneurship on the subject of their project

Application deadline: November 15

Timeline for developing your thesis as a business project

You can learn more about the program "Business- Thesis": Technological Breakthrough and Global Technology Transfer at ITMO University in the Regulations on the implementation and defense of business projects (business-theses) at ITMO University , as well as in the following presentation (in Russian):

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If you have any questions about the business project as thesis initiative, you can contact Daria Stazharova at or

Useful links (in Russian):

Regulations on the implementation and defense of business projects (business-theses) at ITMO University