It can be challenging for budding entrepreneurs to know how to get started with setting up and building a business. There are many obstacles to overcome and it can sometimes be difficult to get solid advice. MOOCs offer a way for entrepreneurs to get educated regarding different areas of getting started on their own business. MOOCs are “Massive Open Online Courses” which are available, unsurprisingly online. The great part about them is that they are usually free. Students get support from one another and teachers through forums, and there are taught subjects through webinars and other approaches. There are a number of different courses that entrepreneurs might want to consider taking and Class Central pulls these together into a handy portal for easy access. Some of the best MOOCs for entrepreneurship are as follows:
1. How to build a startup – for a great MOOC about getting started you may consider the Udacity “How to Build a Startup” course, which runs for seven weeks. The course is beneficial for entrepreneurs because it seeks to help them to cut back on the risk of failure. The course focuses on the steps of the Customer Development process which was developed by Steve Blank. As a result the programme is customer focused, looking at how to find and engage customers and how to evaluate effectiveness and improve your business based on their feedback for greater chances of success.
2. Developing New Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship – some entrepreneurs may not know how to develop their idea for a business and this course is ideally suited to them. The course is offered through Coursera by the University of Maryland. The course has a goal of helping would be entrepreneurs to turn their good ideas into great companies. It is based on proven methods and models for success, and seeks to encourage students to develop an entrepreneurial mind set as well as their functional skills for success. The course also looks at the first steps of building a business plan.
3. Innovation for Powerful Outcomes – entrepreneurs are nothing if not innovative, and this course explores themes related to effective innovation. It is produced by the Swinburne University of Technology and offered through Open2Study. Innovation for Powerful Outcomes has an objective of helping entrepreneurs to be innovative through introducing tools and concepts that can assist. It will provide a range of creativity tools and look at processes of service and product innovation, as well as ways for gathering new ideas. It also examines ways in which ideas can be brought to life.
4. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs – another gem from the University of Maryland and accessed through Coursera, this course tackles the all-important challenge of financing for startups. The course helps to simplify topics relating to financing so that entrepreneurs can better understand what they mean. Subjects covered include the basics of finance, capital structure, term sheets and valuations, among others. The course also provides information about how to create a winning investor pitch as well as advice and suggestions for doing an effective pitch. Covering difficult topics such as when to raise outside capital, how to do a company valuation and how to close the deal with investors, this course is invaluable.
5. Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies – this course is offered through Coursera and produced by Case Western Reserve University. It looks at the ways in which entrepreneurs can start and grow their businesses outside of high areas of growth like Silicon Valley. It assesses the different areas of support and innovative approaches that can be taken to navigate some of the challenges that are faced. The course draws on experiences of actual entrepreneurs and encourages reflection on growing entrepreneurship where you live.
6. Law and the Entrepreneur – all entrepreneurs have to be able to understand basics of the law to be able to progress their business ideas. Northwestern University has developed the course Law and the Entrepreneur Ewhich is offered through Coursera to be able to assist. With somewhat of an American focus, it does still have benefits for entrepreneurs in other places as it will open your eyes to the kinds of topics you need to be thinking about. These include intellectual property, venture capital and company name, among others. The goal of doing this course is for students to better understand the legal aspects of setting up and running a new venture and identifying potential issues early on.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.