Want to know more before starting your own business? There are lots of ways to learn new skills, from online courses to certification programs and even schooling abroad. Here’s a rundown of your choices.

Entrepreneurs generally enjoy learning new things. Learning is an important part of entrepreneurship. Whether it’s at conferences, working with mentors, or evaluating their own successes or failures, learning is a key component of entrepreneurship. Some people learn best when they’re on the go, while some prefer to learn in a more traditional educational environment. If you’re among the latter, here are some continuing education options that could help you as an entrepreneur.

Before You Jump In

Everyone has their own preferred way of learning, whether it’s hands-on, reading books, listening to lectures, doing projects, etc. Once you’ve decided to start a formal educational process, ask yourself how you learn best and then use that to choose the right educational setting for your needs

Next, know what else you don’t know. What are the gaps in your entrepreneurship education that you want to address? Maybe you need a good understanding of accounting or a deeper understanding of a product life-cycle. When you’re looking for something specific, be sure to narrow your search to avoid being overwhelmed by too many options or distracted by a topic you don’t care about.

Make sure that the course will actually be useful for you. Look for courses taught by instructors who have relevant experience in the subject being taught. Make sure there are clear course takeaways and data for former students on their success. If you want to learn something, look for courses that require more than just showing up. You want a course that includes both hands-on learning and practical experience.

Online Courses

There are thousands of free online courses available for entrepreneurs. Topics range from growing your business to podcasts. Some are free, and others are offered through Harvard,MIT and other institutions. Websites like Udacity offer a selection of instructor taught business courses for free.

If you want your eLearning course to lead towards a degree or certification program, there are several options. Coursera offers courses from some of the most prestigious schools in the world, including the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, and Columbia University. Alison offers both certificate courses and college-credit courses under its Entrepreneur category, and most of them are free. Furthermore, many colleges and universities provide their own online courses for less than the cost of attending class on campus.

U.S. College and University Certification Programs

Many colleges and universities these days offer specific courses in entrepreneurship. They’re usually offered as full-time three month certification programs, either on-campus or online, which can limit your time away from your business while pursuing your education. Most programs don’t require an application process, so people who are interested can just sign up, pay the fees and start using them immediately. Note that the costs of these certifications can range from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the service provider and the length of time for which they’re available.

International Programs 

If you’re an entrepreneur interested in growing an international company, or if you just want to learn more about international business, there are several international schools offering entrepreneurship certification programs or summer programs. An international program can give you a fresh perspective on entrepreneurship while allowing for networking with people from around the globe. For example, Oxford University’s summer school offers a course for students aged 18 to 25 called Global Business, Management, and Finance. The London School of Busineses offers an Entrepreneurship summer school for students of all ages. If you’re multilingual, there are short courses for you available worldwide.


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