Law for Small and Mid-Scale Start Up Enterprises

Course Description: 

As the majority of CEU students comes from emerging markets or from transitory countries where the business culture and thus also the law for various avenues whereby a new business can be started by an individual entrepreneur or a few partners is underdeveloped, the course aims to fill this vacuum by exploring the experiences of developed legal systems with small and mid-scale start up enterprises (SMEs). This is of importance because SMEs are not only genuine motors of economic growth but also panacea for unemployment suffocating especially emerging markets. Admittedly, they play pivotal role in developed economies as well, however, as these market segments survive overshadowed by large business forms (corporations), legal education tends to neglect them in developed systems as well. For example, although franchise has become one of the most popular business forms in much of Central and Eastern Europe, the contract is only cursorily touched upon by some of the present courses offered by our programs. The same could be said also to private equity and venture capital; let alone the options offered by the not-for-profit sector. This course aims to remedy these deficiencies by exploiting the offerings of comparative law. The main blocks covered include: agency and distributorship, business format franchise (contractual and regulatory aspects), unincorporated business forms (sole proprietorships, partnerships, closed corporations), the idiosyncrasies of not-for profit law and its exploitability for doing business, venture capital and private equity.

Learning Outcomes: 

Core Learning Area

Learning Outcome (or Educational Objective)

Methods used for assessing learning


Interpersonal Communication Skills


Mastering the complex terminology of the fields covered from a comparative perspective (Europe versus US).

  1. One of the aims of the closed book part of the final examination is exactly to test the understanding of basic legal terms. In the open book part, correct use of terminology will be also taken into account in grading.


  1. The interactive way of teaching is meant to assess the students’ oral communication skills. 




Technology Skills


Students are expected to find themselves the statutes/laws discussed during the course.

Independent research and use of internet-based legal materials will be taken into account in grading the overall performance of the students.



Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity


Besides the fact that the course is based on comparative law approach – what in and of itself introduces the students into the diversity and cultural sensitivity of doing business nowadays – special emphasis will be given to fundamental differences among legal families. For example, the differing philosophies & importance of venture capital, the not-for-profit avenue for doing business. 


The exam questions themselves take account of the diversity, and thus the students are [often] expected to think and answer from the perspectives of more than one culture/legal system.



Critical Thinking



The comparative teaching method will show to the students that as a rule more than a single model of solving legal problems is available. This, in other words, requires critical thinking esp. about one’s own legal system and stimulates critical thinking also about other legal systems.

The comparative teaching method is to show the students that problems are solved by various legal systems differently and that will make and provoke the students critically assess the solutions known to them.


The final grade will be made of the following components:

Final exam                                                                                          

          - closed book part:                                                                             60%

Constructive class participation                                                                 20 %

Take home paper                                                                                        20%