One might ask what there is to gain by taking free online entrepreneurship courses. The most obvious answer is the price tag. This list of free online Entrepreneurship classes equips students with knowledge and skills useful in starting a new business venture at no cost to the student. The courses explore how to approach the risks and, ultimately, how to make a profit.
In addition to providing valuable skills and knowledge to the budding entrepreneur, professionals who pursue free online entrepreneurship courses will, at the very least, walk away with more business know-how than they started with, making them a great asset for current and future employers. Many topics are similar to those which students would cover in a business master’s program with an entrepreneurial focus. While they won’t walk away with an official degree, in the end, those who follow through will, at the very least, gain valuable insight into some of the same topics as those who choose the more traditional path.
The free online entrepreneurship courses in this list come from top business schools within the United States. Many of these schools offer online entrepreneurship programs in addition to the traditional brick and mortar degrees. Students who choose to pursue the free online entrepreneurship courses discussed here attain a sense of what these programs are like and what online learning is like in general. Due to the current pandemic’s social distancing measures, more institutions have no choice but to incorporate online learning into their curriculum. Whether this is solidified as the new normal or not, online classes may gain an even more significant foothold in education. That being said, this is a great time to get a taste of what online learning is all about.
What is needed to be a successful entrepreneur? This question plays a vital role in the creation of this list of free online entrepreneurship courses. This list is the result of scouring content from leading MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) websites, edX and Coursera, on critical topics for entrepreneurship. These top 15 free online entrepreneurship courses are listed in alphabetical order. All courses highlighted in this list are available for free.
#1 Accounting 101 – Purdue University
The first free online entrepreneurship course on the list covers the topic of accounting. Titled Business Accounting Basics, the class lasts five weeks and requires around three to five hours of work per week. This introductory level course seeks to provide the essential tools needed to understand business. It begins with four basic financial statements. These include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, the Statement of Retained Earnings, and the Statement of Cash Flows. Beyond this, the class explains how these statements are created, and ultimately how to break down costs, project profitability, and analyze a company. The absence of accounting as part of a business is like a car driving down a dark country road in the rain with no headlights. Missed turns and obstacles blocking the way forward could go unnoticed until it is too late to do anything about them. Accounting is not only utilized to keep track of income and expenses, but it makes sure that a business complies with required statutes, and it gives decision-makers the information that they need to make wise decisions. As a business leader, an entrepreneur must make decisions, and those decisions require the right information. Accounting provides the bright headlights needed to navigate a dark and potentially treacherous terrain. It is the language in which that business information is conveyed and is crucial for decision making. This vital, free online entrepreneurship class provides a solid background for a budding entrepreneur.
Purdue University makes this free online entrepreneurship course available through the edX platform. The University holds the honor of being accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its Krannert School of Management is distinguished by its AACSB accreditation. U.S. News & World Report adds prestige to the business school by ranking it in the #80 spot. The Krannert School of Management offers an executive MBA that combines online learning with six on-campus residencies. Purdue offers many degrees that range from Doctorates in law and technology to Associate degrees in Veterinary Medicine and Psychology. Professional Development courses are available in many areas as well. Included among these is a mini-entrepreneurship titled Applied Management Principles.
#2 Business Modeling – University System of Georgia
Number two on this list of free online entrepreneurship courses is Business Model Canvas: A Tool for Entrepreneurs and Innovators. This class requires an investment of around 11 hours, and it has flexible deadlines. This course is unlike many other free online entrepreneurship classes. It is a project-centered course, meaning that instruction is based around students completing a real-world project that is directly applicable to their professions and goals. According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, varied definitions of business models exist. Michael Lewis defined the business model very simply when he stated in The New, New Thing, “All it really meant was how you planned to make money.” According to Entrepreneur.com, the key to entrepreneurial success lies not in the product but in figuring out the best business model. It states that a business model identifies how an organization “creates, delivers, and captures value.” A reliable business model isn’t something that gives one a better chance at success. It is crucial to success. Whatever the model, it revolves around the customer and provides value that hits right in the sweet spot of the experience that the customer wants. Steven G. Powell of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business writes about the importance of teaching modeling to business students. He states that modeling is a great way to understand the world and that teaching modeling to students aids in forging them into flexible and original thinkers.
Business Model Canvas comes to Coursera through the University System of Georgia, which comprises 28 different colleges. This System includes the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clayton State University, and the University of Georgia. Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business and the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business are among U.S. News & World Report’s top business colleges for 2021. They are ranked #27 and #33, respectively. Many online degrees are available throughout the University System of Georgia. In addition to the free online entrepreneurship course in business modeling, the University System offers a variety of free online classes in Six Sigma, Cybersecurity, and other areas through the Coursera platform.
#3 Customer Targeting – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? is a free online entrepreneurship course offered by MIT. The program is ten weeks long and requires between two and four hours of effort per week. Beginning with the premise that customers are what make a business successful, this course teaches a systematic approach to getting those customers. The course uses several MIT startup companies as case studies to drive these concepts home. What is a customer? Merriam Webster defines a customer as one that purchases a commodity or service. According to the Houston Chronicle, the customer is the foundation upon which a successful business is built. Success is dependent upon figuring out what the customer wants and how best to get that to them. The more a company satisfies a customer, the more likely that it is that the customer will come back to that business. The importance of customers cannot be overstated. Customers pay the bills. Whether a business is a charity, a church, or a widget producer, it needs money to operate, and without customers, there is no money. While it is debatable that customers are not the most crucial factor in business success, it is not debatable that they are a vital element. Harvard Business Review points out that there is a difference between a profession and an academic discipline. An academic discipline is akin to a science, like chemistry, and is not a proper model for entrepreneurship curricula. A more relevant entrepreneurship program should have a professional structure like medicine or the law where the focus is on client needs instead of academic theory.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes this free online entrepreneurship course available through the edX platform. The School’s Sloan School of Management, accredited by the AACSB, offers several entrepreneurship programs in addition to its various other master’s and doctorate selections. Sloan is highly rated by U.S. News & World Report as the #19 best business school. While they do not offer an online MBA, they do have a vast array of free online entrepreneurship programs and other online classes through their MITx courses on edX.
#4 Digital Marketing – University of Colorado Boulder
Titled Social Media Advertising, this free online entrepreneurship course focuses on specific digital marketing platforms. It approaches marketing on the major social media platform of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This course constitutes a portion of a four-part series in Digital Advertising Strategy Specialization and requires a time investment of about ten hours. The AMA describes digital marketing as identifying, and satisfying customer needs through electronic devices. Digital marketing is a relatively new area in the world of advertising and marketing. Still, it is arguably even more critical now than more traditional media advertising and marketing due to the enormous growth of digital technology. Computers and smartphones are primarily responsible for this growth. This article explains that customers need to be reached where they are, and that is in front of a computer screen or smartphone screen. Plus, whereas traditional media is mostly a one-way road where info is sent to the customer through various mediums like a tv ad or a billboard, digital marketing opens things up for two way communication. Due to the growth of this medium and the ability to precisely target customers and prospective customers, digital marketing is necessary for the marketing strategy of today’s businesses. The professional who wants to understand marketing leadership is well served by a Digital Marketing focus, according to Concordia University Chicago. They’ll learn to adapt traditional concepts to create digital campaigns and acquire an understanding of digital marketing analytics.
The University of Colorado Boulder is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, the University’s AACSB accredited Leeds School of Business makes this free online entrepreneurship course available through the Coursera platform. Leeds is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #70 business school in the United States. Leads also offers several masters and doctorate degrees and executive education opportunities that include a certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility, Executive Leadership, and Food Industry Executive Leadership Development. Many additional free online classes from the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera include Advanced Business Analytics, Predictive Modeling and Analytics, and Business Writing.
#5 Entrepreneurship 101 – University of California, Irvine
The building blocks to entrepreneurship are found in this free online entrepreneurship course titled Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking & Action. Covering core topics such as new business strategies, business plans, and how to be successful, students enrolled in this class will have a better understanding of how to evaluate a business venture of their own or how to be more resourceful in their current profession. It’s hard to go wrong with this free online entrepreneurship course when it is all conveniently pressed into a four-hour package. Business News Daily published an article by Max Freedman that explores entrepreneurship. In basic terms, an entrepreneur identifies a need that is not being addressed by businesses and comes up with a way to fulfill that need often to turn a profit. Well-known entrepreneurs who exemplify this include Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates. Forbes speaks to the importance of entrepreneurship in an article titled Why Young Entrepreneurs Are Crucial to Growing the Economy. Referencing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they argue that there is a strong relationship between startups and positive economic performance. The majority of job creation is from new businesses, while more established companies show a tendency to shrink in terms of employment. The percentage of younger people who are successful entrepreneurs is dropping, showing a clear need for why entrepreneurship should be a part of the curriculum in education. Plus, plagued by failures, budding entrepreneurs garner confidence and fortitude in learning to overcome those failures.
The University of California, Irvine, provides this free online entrepreneurship class through the Coursera platform. Its Paul Merage School of Business stands out through its AACSB accreditation and its #67 best business school ranking by U.S. News & World Report. The business school’s Fully Employed entrepreneurship (FEMBA) is a hybrid program that combines online and on-campus courses to offer convenience to working professionals. In addition to its MBAs, the business school offers several other master’s programs, including one in innovation and entrepreneurship. Certificates available through their professional programs include Arts Management, Corporate Innovation, and Business Data & Analytics.
#6 Entrepreneurial Funding – University of Maryland, College Park
The next course on the list of free online entrepreneurship classes takes number five, entrepreneurship 101, and advances to the next step. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs plays a crucial role in the entrepreneurial process. The free online entrepreneurship class aims to equip students with an understanding of how to finance their bright idea. This 18-hour class answers questions like when to raise capital, different ways to obtain funding, how to effectively get investors on board with an idea. Entrepreneur.com published an article titled The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup. It stresses the need to think through all the options before just focusing on a few, as well as appreciating that not all will work out. A few of these sources of investment are trading equity or services for startup help. For example, one might barter skills for free office space. Another avenue is to obtain funding from venture capital investors. A third approach is to start a crowdfunding campaign through a site like Kickstarter. Even with a great idea, investors are not very often standing around waiting to throw money at a new venture. A course in entrepreneurial funding provides the information needed to get an idea off the ground and running and is not a variable that one can just skip over.
New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs is a free online entrepreneurship class offered by The University of Maryland, College Park. Accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, UMD is the nation’s first Do Good campus. Students take on social issues through entrepreneurial endeavors, gaining invaluable experience, and attempting to make the world a better place. UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is accredited by the AACSB. The school is also highly rated by U.S. News & World Report, which places the business school at #44. Robert H. Smith’s online MBA program demonstrates outstanding achievement through its #10 ranking by U.S. News. UMD offers a variety of master’s programs in addition to its MBAs. Choices include degrees in Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, and Supply Chain Management.
Course Name: New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs
Business School: Robert H. Smith School of Business
#7 Entrepreneurial Growth – Case Western Reserve University
This free online entrepreneurship class recognizes that ecosystems like Silicon Valley are unique and that entrepreneurs outside of this bubble face very different challenges in terms of growth. Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies explores other communities within the U.S. and around the globe in order to determine successful growth strategies. The class includes discussions with entrepreneurs who are in the midst of their endeavors and have not yet achieved success, along with lectures from leaders in places like Greece and Vietnam. An article posted on Inc.com makes it clear that there are sources outside of Silicon Valley that provide resources to the budding entrepreneur. These resources don’t only come in the form of funding, but they also include mentoring and education. This free online entrepreneurship class outlines specific resources, such as those listed in the Inc.com article, that are available to entrepreneurs. For those who diligently seek help and guidance, there is hope to be found. One simple benefit of having furthered your education while in pursuit of resources for an entrepreneurial opportunity is the credibility that it imparts to potential investors, as mentioned in a U.S. News article about how an MBA can Pay off for Entrepreneurs.
Case Western Reserve University is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. The University offers this free online entrepreneurship class in entrepreneurial growth through the Coursera platform. Case Western’s business school, the Weatherhead School of Management, is accredited through the prestigious AACSB. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranks Weatherhead as the #88 business school in the country. The school offers several MBA options from a traditional MBA to the Cleveland Clinic-Weatherhead Executive MBA. Master’s degrees available include Accountancy, Engineering and Management, and Business Analytics. Several Ph.D. programs are also available. Case Western offers a number of free online classes through Coursera. Among these classes are Inspired Leadership; Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence; Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change; and Be a Leader, Develop a Leader.
Course Name: Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies
Business School: Weatherhead School of Management
#8 Entrepreneurial Management – University of New Mexico
Entrepreneurial Strategic Management is a free online entrepreneurship course offered by the University of New Mexico. Through an inquiry-based approach, student-focused approaches analyze companies and organizations to identify what makes them stand out from competitors. This course is typically completed in six weeks and requires about an hour of effort each week. While there are certainly commonalities between a traditional management role and an entrepreneurial management role, according to the Global Enterprise Institute, there are noteworthy differences. The most glaring difference is notably a personal stake. The decisions one makes as an entrepreneurial manager usually carry personal risk. There is more than just a job at stake. It’s not uncommon that one’s home, private credit, and lifestyle are at risk. The posting puts forth a formal definition of entrepreneurial management as “the practice of taking entrepreneurial knowledge and utilizing it for increasing the effectiveness of new business venturing as well as small-and-medium-sized businesses.” Some businesses that are household names began in difficult economic times. They didn’t get vast windfalls of capital to jump-start them. Included among the ranks of these companies are Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, and Intuit. These companies ultimately succeeded by overseeing their money carefully and by having proper management. They provide many excellent characteristics to emulate and discuss and analyze, which is what this free online entrepreneurship class is all about.
Offered by The University of New Mexico, this free online entrepreneurship class is available on the Coursera platform. UNM’s Anderson School of Management is accredited through the AACSB. Anderson offers an Entrepreneurial Challenge based around launching startups in New Mexico. A successful entry will be up and running within 18 months of beginning the program and will operate for more than a year. Coaching and preliminary funding are available to participants throughout the program. The University of New Mexico offers free online classes on Coursera. Some of the more relevant free online Entrepreneurship classes include International Business I, International Business II, and Web Application Development. Additionally, UNM offers several career and professional development programs. Subject matter covered includes accounting and grant writing, communication and conflict resolution, leadership and management, and strategy and ethics.
#9 Entrepreneurial Mindset – Michigan State University
This free online entrepreneurship class titled Developing An Entrepreneurial Mindset: First Step Towards Success is part of a broader set of courses on how to start a business. While technical execution is undoubtedly crucial in creating a successful business, of equal importance is the way that one thinks. Successful entrepreneurs have many different qualities, but one thing that they all have in common, whether they are a famous household name or own the corner store a block down the road, is an entrepreneurial mindset. The primary goal of this free online entrepreneurship class is to explain that mindset and show students how to acquire it. Forbes describes the entrepreneurial mindset in similar terms and mentions how it is often missing from the discussion. They describe this state-of-mind as a drive to improve one’s skill set and to be obstinate in the face of failure. It’s a crucial part of the equation because it is what moves one forward. Also, unlike riding a bike, it’s not something that one readily picks up after being set aside for long periods. It needs to be evaluated continuously with constant focus. Lack of proper mindset causes a loss of focus and often leads to frustration and second-guessing. Eventually, it will slow the whole endeavor to a crawl or derail it altogether.
Michigan State University teams up with Coursera to deliver this free online entrepreneurship class. The University’s Broad College of Business is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #40 ranked business school. Within Broad is the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Burgess New Venture Challenge awards cash prizes to the top three teams best able to demonstrate their entrepreneurial talents. Winning teams also get a meeting with Red Cedar Ventures and an opportunity to have them invest in their ideas. Michigan State University offers a significant number of free online courses through Coursera in addition to their free online entrepreneurship courses. Some of the more relevant classes include Business of Games and Entrepreneurship, Transmedia Writing, The Search for Great Ideas, and Launch Strategy, the final course in a series about launching one’s own business.
Course Name: Developing An Entrepreneurial Mindset: First Step Towards Success
Business School: Eli Broad College of Business
#10 Finance 101 – Emory University
The next course discussed as one of the top free online entrepreneurship classes is Finance for Non-Financial Managers. Beginning with basic principles, this class then moves toward how to apply those principles in order to make the best decisions. This course takes about twelve hours to complete over a nine-week period. Forbes offers financial advice when starting a business. Some of the points that the article stresses include the following: While long term thinking is important, focus on things that drive revenue. Create a five-year financial plan and put everything into achieving it. Don’t worry about making a huge impact right away and just start small and focus on steady growth. The last piece of advice mentioned is that one should expect to fail, and it is ok as long as you learn from the experience. The Houston Chronicle calls finance an elixir for new businesses. It allows businesses to grow, supports other businesses, and ultimately supports the government through taxes. As long as financial instruments are used strategically, they are likely to play a key role in making a business prosper. Finance is crucial for the entrepreneur. It helps answer investor questions like how long will it take to get a customer to purchase one’s product. Entrepreneurship.org mentions five important elements in daily financial management. First is the balance sheet, then the income statement and cash flow statement, next is the business model formula, followed by operating budget and long-term forecasts. Lastly is monitoring performance.
Emory University offers this free online entrepreneurship class. The University’s business school, the Goizueta Business School, accredited by the AACSB, is devoted to entrepreneurship. Goizueta’s RAISE Forum has gathered funding for more than 25% of its represented companies. Pitch the Professors happens every week at Goizueta. Students pitch their ideas to the professors who provide advice and help make them better. Every year, the best eight pitches get a rent-free spot at the Atlanta Tech Village incubator for six months, free workshops, and a meeting with an attorney. Other events include The Summit, The Startup Launch accelerator program, and the Siggie Awards. Emory has more than twenty additional free online offerings through Coursera.
#11 Innovation – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Strategic Innovation: Managing Innovation Initiatives is a free online entrepreneurship class of intermediate level. This course accepts the premise that new markets, new technologies, and new people and firms often don’t fit the traditional mold. It is the purpose of this class to teach students how to manage innovation under these conditions successfully. An article from Vlerick Business School states that Joseph Schumpeter, a 20th-century economist, said, “necessity may be the mother of invention, but it does not automatically produce innovation.” This statement implies that there is a gap between the two, according to Fredrik Hacklin. He goes on to say that an entrepreneur is someone with both the desire and ability to bridge that gap. Innovation is taking something new and introducing it into an established system. It might be a new widget, a new service, or a new way of supply. It’s more than just having a great idea. It’s taking that idea and commercializing it successfully. A Forbes article states the rationale behind the importance of innovation concerning success in an organization. It gives several reasons for the importance of innovation. Innovation provides an edge to market penetration, it leads to new ideas and provides confidence to the innovator, and when innovation is embedded in company culture, it promotes growth. Innovation doesn’t have to be a grand idea that changes the world. It is often something simple like Starbucks’ idea of renaming cup sizes from the traditional small, medium, and large.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign makes available this free online entrepreneurship course through Coursera. The course is part of a seven-course series titled Innovation: From Creativity to Entrepreneurship Specialization. The coursework consists of about 21 hours of work, and it’s packed into a four-week time frame, which makes it a bit more intense than many of the other free online entrepreneurship courses on this list. The AACSB accredits the Gies College of Business at Illinois. Gies has more than a century’s worth of graduates among its ranks and boasts of successful experiential opportunities through programs like IVenture, EntreCORPS, and Illinois Business Consulting.
Course Name: Strategic Innovation: Managing Innovation Initiatives
Business School: Gies College of Business
#12 Opportunity Development – University of Pennsylvania
This free online entrepreneurship class is the first of five courses in an Entrepreneurship Specialization. The course is titled Entrepreneurship 1: Developing the Opportunity. This ten-hour course packs some big concepts and ideas into four weeks. Students choosing to take this course walk away with valuable insights. When the class is over, they will know how to test, validate, and prototype an idea. Students will also gain an understanding of whether or not they share the qualities of the typical entrepreneur. The course goes on to teach the differences between entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial management as well as how venture creation fits into society. There are differing schools of thought when it comes to entrepreneurs. Some believe that entrepreneurs have natural tendencies that make them what they are. Others believe that the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur are taught. Still, others are of the mind that both are true. Peter F. Drucker points out in an article published in the Harvard Business Review that many non-entrepreneurs have entrepreneurial personalities. He notes that one thing all entrepreneurs, in his experience, have in common is their dedication to the practice of innovation.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School offers this first free online entrepreneurship course in developing opportunities. Wharton is ranked as the #1 business school by U.S. News & World Report. Wharton is recognized as the world’s first business school and has a history that spans more than 135 years. Founded by entrepreneur Joseph Wharton in 1881, Wharton went on to start the first collegiate center for entrepreneurship in the U.S. in 1973. Fully accredited by the AACSB, Wharton offers an array of MBA and dual degree MBA programs. Doctoral degrees available include Accounting, Ethics, Finance, and Marketing. Global programs like the Wharton-Insead alliance connect students around the globe from the U.S. to Singapore. In addition to all of these, the University of Pennsylvania offers more than 50 free online classes on Coursera. Classes span from foundational programs like Business Foundations and Business Strategies for a Better World to more advanced courses like Business Analytics Capstone and Corruption.
#13 Social Entrepreneurship – Duke University
Renewable Energy and Green Building Entrepreneurship is the next class discussed on this free online entrepreneurship class list. The focus of this course, like traditional entrepreneurship, remains the creation of new business in sectors like energy, finance, real estate, design, engineering, and environmental. Unique to the approach of this class is the narrowed pathway that these businesses follow. Decisions flow from the goals of having positive environmental and health results across the globe. Real-world application guides students through case studies, grounding students in reality as opposed to theory. While this course is a short three weeks, it consists of a full 17 hours of effort. Duke offers a definition of social entrepreneurship on its website. Social Entrepreneurship pursues those opportunities that result in social value and tackles critical social needs through creative methods. Results come from both the business and nonprofit sectors. David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Idea, states that social entrepreneurs bring the same entrepreneurial tenacity to social change that business entrepreneurs bring to the business world. Dr. Emad Rahim speaks to many values that social entrepreneurs bring to the table. Some of these include: drawing attention to important issues, spurring social change, reshaping corporate social responsibility, and saving lives.
This free online entrepreneurship course comes through Duke University, and it is available on Coursera. Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, an AACSB accredited business school, espouses the values of hard work and creativity espoused by its namesake, J.B. Fuqua, who went from destitute farm boy to founding a Fortune 500 Company. Highlighted as the #12 business school by U.S. News & World Report, Fuqua brings in nearly 2,000 students every year and maintains an involved network of more than 23,000 alumni. In addition to offering traditional and hybrid MBA programs, the business school offers online Master’s degrees in Health Analytics and Business Analytics. Online executive education programs include Financial Analysis for Non-Finance Leaders, Creating a Data-Driven Culture, and Business Negotiation Skills. Many additional free online courses from Duke are accessible through Coursera.
Course Name: Renewable Energy and Green Building Entrepreneurship
Business School: Fuqua School of Business
#14 Value Creation – Northeastern University
Nearing the end of this list of free online entrepreneurship classes at #14 is Value Creation: The Carlson-Polizzotto Method. The men behind this class are Curtis Carlson and Len Polizzotto. These two are a significant part of the technologies known as SIRI and HDTV that exist today. The duration of this class is significantly shorter than most discussed in this list. It consists of only three hours and requires only one week. The course consists of watching these experts coach four groups of professionals from different industries. They use their value creation method to aid in their success, striving to give them an edge over most new businesses that fail. Skills imparted include problem-solving, entrepreneurship, value propositions, and critical thinking. The Houston Chronicle states that value creation, in business terms, refers to the value that the business activities bring to the market. This value expresses itself through the ability to sell things for a higher amount than the cost to produce it. Value creation is not only a good thing for businesses to achieve, but it is a mandatory accomplishment. The Small Business Administration states that around half of new businesses survive for five years, and only about one-third of companies survive for ten or more years. Ultimately, businesses that don’t create value do not survive. Per Bylund argues that experienced entrepreneurs understand that success depends on whether or not the customers find value in the offering. It is not necessarily a cost versus sale price equation and is often very subjective. The point is that free online entrepreneurship classes such as this teach about the value, which determines success or failure.
Northeastern University offers this free online entrepreneurship class through Coursera. The AACSB accredits the University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, and it is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #61 business school. D’Amore-McKim offers an online MBA that U.S. News ranks at #102. The University provides additional free online classes through Coursera that include Data Privacy Fundamentals, Healthcare Consumerism and Implication for Care Delivery, and Healthcare Trends for Business Professionals.
#15 Website Development – University of California, Davis
This course is the final free online entrepreneurship class discussed on this list. The topic is Introduction to Web Development. It is a beginner level course designed for those with little to no idea how to create websites. Statista, a statistics website, claims that there were only ten websites at the end of 1992. That number is more significant now at an estimated 1.7 billion sites today. This introductory course aims to impart the fundamental knowledge of how the world wide web works and teaches students how to create and publish web pages. There is a lot of information in this free online entrepreneurship course, and it will take a commitment of six weeks and about 25 hours to complete. Christian Genco conducts a Ted Talk about why one should learn to code. In addition to the marketing advantages that having a website imparts, learning to code, according to Genco, makes one smarter. Another factor is that computers are growing in processing power; they double in power every two years. A cutting edge entrepreneur in possession of programming skills will, at the least, have many things in his favor.
The University of California, Davis, offers this free online entrepreneurship class on website development. UC Davis’s Graduate School of Management, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #48 business school, is further distinguished through its AACSB accreditation. Of particular significance to the would-be entrepreneur, the Graduate School of Management’s Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers the budding entrepreneur an opportunity to network, showcase the benefits of his work, and explore different strategies. Additional offerings through the Graduate School include The Entrepreneurship Academy that helps launch innovations into the real world and the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition that offers opportunities to collaborate, create, and test business plans, and provides a springboard for entrepreneurs. Online executive education programs include Leadership, Strategic Negotiations, and Excellence in Operations Management. Additional free online classes are available through Coursera that include The Strategy of Content Marketing, Coaching Skills for Managers, and Computational Social Science Methods.
What is an entrepreneur?
As with many things today, the definition of an entrepreneur varies depending on the source. However, some commonalities appear and paint a picture of what an entrepreneur is. Juan Jose de la Torre writes an article on Entrepreneur.com that describes several critical aspects of being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur gets the business going, handles the reigns, and holds the most substantial stake in the outcome. This stake is not necessarily a financial stake, according to de la Torre.
Additionally, the entrepreneur has an intense passion that drives him throughout this process. A Forbes article by George Deeb gives a similar but more theatrical take on an entrepreneur. There are four key aspects to define these near-mythical figures. They are significant financial risk-takers, although they don’t always see it that way because, in their minds, everything is going to work out. They’re visionaries because they see the world through a different lens than most people, which includes a focus on the future and not just the present. Next, an entrepreneur is a leader who can’t fathom the idea of playing a minor role in the process and is driven to steer the ship. Deeb likens these people to Pitbulls in the way that they won’t give up. Sometimes this can be to their detriment if they aren’t wise enough to know when to quit. Lastly, they are superheroes willing to take on any task within their company, whether it be whining and dining investors or plunging toilets at the office. They do it all confidently and with an attitude that inspires. Many of these qualities and traits echo throughout the free online entrepreneurship classes highlighted in this list.
Why are entrepreneurs important in our society?
According to an article found on the Psychology Today website, there are a lot of people, and presumably, businesses too, who get comfortable with how things are. It is a natural tendency to try and stay comfortable and be afraid of trying new things. Entrepreneurs provide a much-needed jolt to society through their ability to see where disruption to the more traditional and accepted ways of doing things can be improved. Whether it’s societal or economic, they see a path forward that opens up a brand new way of approaching something. Students who choose to break out of their comfort zones by learning new skills through free online entrepreneurship classes will, at the very least, broaden their horizons and perhaps brings some disruption to their current way of thinking.
Are free online courses helpful for entrepreneurs?
A substantial commonality between many definitions of an entrepreneur is found in their financial stake in whatever endeavor they are pursuing. A free online entrepreneurship class is certainly one viable option to both improve one’s circumstances while not adding to this potential strain.
It is not uncommon that entrepreneurs are thought of as individual people who are born with unique gifts which allow them to succeed as an entrepreneur. Fredrik Hacklin says that it is true that some entrepreneurs are born. However, he points out that this accounts for less than forty percent of them. The great news about that is that this implies the other sixty percent aren’t natural-born entrepreneurs, and they can learn the skills needed to become successful. That’s terrific news for someone with the desire to take this path. Free online entrepreneurship courses will both give the would-be entrepreneur a stepping stone toward being a successful entrepreneur, and they will not require student loans and more debt in doing so.
Are there any degrees focused on entrepreneurship?
In addition to free online entrepreneurship courses, there are many traditional degrees available in entrepreneurship. Many of these degrees are even possible online. Entrepreneurship Masters programs are offered by well-known universities such as Penn State, the University of Arizona, Florida State University, and Johns Hopkins University. These programs range from about thirty to forty credit hours and have price tags running the gamut of less than $10,000 to more than $50,000. There are also a variety of online MBA programs offering specializations in entrepreneurship. Schools that offer these paths of focus include Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, Northeastern University, and the University of California, Irvine. Similar versions to course offerings by these respected universities are available as free online entrepreneurship classes.