7 Free Online Business Courses for Entrepreneurs

Students of business and management are educated and trained to improve business environments by either a) generating additional revenue for the business entity, b) deciding how to invest resources or c) hiring qualified employees, to name a few. However, Business Management is a broad industry with many sub-disciplines.  The more refined sub-disciplines include:

·      Marketing

·      Finance

·      Project Management

·      Human Resource Management

·      Business

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Graduates of Business & Management schools have the option to select a variety of different career paths within the business industry. However most business school graduates select the following sub-disciplines:

• Entrepreneurs
• Forensic Accountants
• Project Managers
• Bankers
• International Business Specialists

Free online entrepreneur classes can be quite useful to those who want to improve their business-related skills, but do so, without earning college credits. The courses listed below offer instruction through:

  • Self-check exams
  • Video lessons, and
  • Transcripts

These free courses are available through a variety of institutions, agencies and industry specialists. They are listed in no particular order.

The United States’ Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration offers an online service known as The Small Business Learning Center. It is there that you can find information via instructional videos to learn about finance, marketing, government contracting and entrepreneurship. The website has some basic technical specifications and computer requirements that include:

  • A Flash Player
  • An Adobe Reader
  • Complete an optional demographic survey before starting

Available courses include:

Course Name: Encore Entrepreneurs – is a half-hour course designed to help business professionals become small business owners. The objective is for the student to understand the business options available that can be started with a minimal amount of capital
and to identify the non-profit resources that might be able to help you if you are interested in pursuing a new vocation.

Course Name: Young Entrepreneurs – is a course offered that takes about 40 minutes to complete. Its objective is to help interested potential business owners determine if their business concept is viable, and to determine if the person has what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

The Young Entrepreneur course employs a multi-media learning platform with visual-audio formats to discuss the varying types of financing models, ownership options, business models and the sharing of resources.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The Video Portal, managed by the Internal Revenue Service, is an open archive of visually appealing presentations to help business professionals answer their specific tax concerns.

Course Name: Starting a Business – is a course that covers topics that include: how to report income properly for a self-employed individual (those who receive a 1099 or K-1), record keeping strategies, and the way in which to successfully plan for retirement.

The various video presentations run from two minutes to more than one hour.  They are given with an easy to use online transcript.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers their business development courses through its Open Courseware (OCW) initiative.

What is Open Courseware (OCW)?

OCW is a free and open platform that makes available 1000’s of MIT courses, that cover the entire MIT curriculum. Each course is offered with instructional material, learning activities and a syllabus. The OCW content is sourced from MIT classrooms exclusively.

Courses are presented with the use of a multi-media platform that includes audio, print and video materials.

Course Name: Entrepreneurial Marketing – is an online course teaches the essential strategies and tactics one can use to ensure they succeed in the often competitive business markets. It is important to note that all reading materials, and lectures can be downloaded as a PDF.

The Carnegie Mellon University (TalkShoe)

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TalkShoe, is a community service that is web-based, on which people can learn or even participate in online conferences, webcasts, and podcasts. TalkShoe is a learning platform offered online by Carnegie Mellon University.

Course Name: Entrepreneurship and Business Planning – is an online lecture course with 16 different lectures. Course materials include handouts, PowerPoint presentations as well as a case study. The course was initially developed to augment a live master’s class offered by MIT’s Information Systems Management program. Course topics include team building, concept development, marketing, financing options and sales strategies.

The Open University

The Open University’s Learning Space offers more than 550 Web-based courses at no cost. These courses are provided on all levels, from an introduction class to postgraduate classes. Those interested have the option of reviewing course materials without even registering, however, registration, which is free, opens their educational options to include LabSpace.

Course Name: Entrepreneurial Behavior discusses the fundamental qualities required for successful leadership, and the role of leaders in the current economic environment.

Stanford University

Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner provides about 2,000 podcasts and videos for those seeking to become an entrepreneur. Available classes include finance, marketing leadership, sales, and social methodologies.

Course Name: Two Generations of Entrepreneurship – this course is a part of the lecture series entitled Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders. The lecture (which covers about 45 minutes) focuses on the company’s ethos and venture financing.

Course Name: Two Reasons Companies Can Fail – is a course that features the career of the founder and CEO of Idealab, Bill Gross. Bill Gross’ speaks about the fundamental causes of a company failure.

The University of California @ Irvine

The Entrepreneur’s Forum, offered by the University of California – Irvine, provides free business courses by way of YouTube videos.

Course Name: Conducting a Thorough Market Assessment – is a course that offers a platform for entrepreneurs. Patrick Vlaskovits and Brant Cooper discuss simple start-up techniques and business development strategies.

Course Name: The Elevator Pitch explains how entrepreneurs can begin to craft meaningful descriptions and stories that describe their services or products.

The Take-Away

These online business and entrepreneurship courses noted above may not give you an automatic income boost (like a two-year MBA might) but it will provide lessons from top business schools and watchdog agencies. Use them to your benefit.  They are free!

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7 Free Online Business Courses for Entrepreneurs

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