For anyone who is thinking about building a new business, or already struggling to lead a startup, the expanding MOOC universe offers a wealth of opportunities to learn from entrepreneurs who've been there.
Educational institutions all over the globe are offering MOOCs—massive open online courses—in almost any subject you can imagine. Many are free, and some offer course credits or certificates.
Several online courses in the management category now offer guidance from experts on how to turn your great idea into a viable business, or take your startup to the next stage. With a few hours a week in front of a computer screen, you can glean lessons from top business school instructors and successful entrepreneurs.
1. Technology Entrepreneurship. Feb 2 – Mar 16. Award-winning Stanford University Assistant Professor of Management Science & Engineering, Chuck Eesley, teaches the process that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs use to launch tech companies. He says the course is for people of all backgrounds with an interest in building a technology enterprise. Free.
2. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship. Feb 3 – Mar 10. The Director of Entrepreneurship Education at the University of Maryland’s Technology Enterprise Institute, James V. Green, teaches how to identify new venture opportunities and take the first steps to launching an innovative company. Free.
3. Startup CEO. Jan 27 – Mar 24. An accomplished CEO joins a COO who also teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford to offer this Kauffman Fellows Academy “how-to-guide” for the first-time CEO that shares how systems thinking can help you build and scale a successful company. $249.
4. Venture Deals. Feb 24 – Apr 14. Two long-time early stage investors promise to “demystify venture capital deals and give both first-time and experienced entrepreneurs a definitive guide to secure funding” and “reveal the secrets behind how venture financings really work.” $249.
5. The DO School Startup Lab. Apr 15 – Jun 3. This course is designed especially for participants who have a concrete plan for a social venture that they want to kickstart. It's taught by members of the DO School team who work with emerging social entrepreneurs from around the world to create positive change. Free.
6. Raising Startup Capital. May 2014. A former Gates Foundation program officer teams up with the COO of NovoEd to teach how to manage the fundraising process—from identifying potential investors, to making your investment pitch, to driving a funding to closure. $149.
7. Global Technology Leadership. May 11 – Aug 3. The first offering from the Forum Academy, a new initiative of the World Economic Forum, promises to teach mid-level and senior managers how to stay ahead of the curve in leveraging technological change as it transforms industries and to “build decision-capacity to successfully combine technological disruption, societal drivers, and business models for sustained growth and differentiation.” Free.
8. Lead Like an Entrepreneur. Later Winter/Early Spring 2014. Two senior Babson College leadership professors team up to offer this entry-level “action-oriented course to help develop your entrepreneurial leadership skills, whether or not you intend to start a new business.” Free.
9. Financial Analysis of Entrepreneurial Ideas. Spring 2014. Babson College Professor of Accounting, Jan Bell, and Professor of Behavioral and Managerial Accounting and CEO of Babson Global, Shahid Ansari introduce some of the accounting and financial management techniques that any entrepreneur needs to successfully launch a new idea inside or outside an organization. Free.
10. How to Build a Startup. Self-paced. Entrepreneur and entrepreneurship teacher Steve Blank offers this video course, subtitled “the Lean LaunchPad,” on the key steps to build a successful startup using the Customer Development process where entrepreneurs "get out of the building" to gather and iterate on feedback. Free.