4 Free Online Courses for Entrepreneurs

by Dave Clarke on February 21, 2014
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Among educators and anyone who’s anxious to learn, massive open online courses — MOOCs for short — are all the rage. It seems that when you pair online instruction with everybody’s favorite word, free, you’re onto something.

“We estimate at least 10 million people have registered for MOOCs,” writes Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central, in a post for the educational technology website EdSurge. “The number of courses offered has grown from about 100 MOOCs in 2012 to almost 700 starting in 2013, with an average of nearly two new MOOCs starting every day. More than 1,200 courses have been announced so far.”

Here are four upcoming MOOCs small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs may find especially useful.

The DO School Start-Up Lab (April 15 to June 3) — Emerging social entrepreneurs with solid plans for their ventures will benefit the most from this seven-part course, which is taught by five experienced educators. You’ll need two to three hours per week to complete the “startup lab.” The DO School grants a certificate to students who fully participate, including critiquing others’ work.

Lead Like an Entrepreneur (late winter/early spring 2014) — This MOOC, taught by two of Babson College’s senior leadership professors, is an “action-oriented course to help develop your entrepreneurial leadership skills, whether or not you intend to start a new business.” Set aside three to four hours per week to keep up with coursework.

Financial Analysis of Entrepreneurial Ideas (spring 2014) — In this class, two accounting experts help entrepreneurs understand the four stages of the entrepreneurial cycle: develop, test feasibility and plan, launch, and scale, grow, and sustain. If you’re familiar with basic accounting principles and terminology, you’ll want to set aside three to five hours per week for coursework; if you’re not, you’ll need more time.

How to Build a Startup (self-paced) — The only requirements for this MOOC, says entrepreneur/instructor Steve Blank, are “passion, tenacity, and a willingness to learn.” The course covers the essential steps of the customer-development process: “How to identify and engage the first customers for your product and how to gather, evaluate, and use their feedback to make your product, marketing, and business model far stronger.”

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