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8 Invaluable Online Classes for Entrepreneurs You can learn from the best minds in business, at your convenience, how to launch, fund and grow your dream.

By Peter Daisyme Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


You have to continually expand your knowledge to succeed as an entrepreneur. Thankfully, educational institutions and technology are making continuing your education more convenient through online course. While there are thousands of informative and inspiring online courses you can take, here are classes you definitely need to enroll in if you want to be an entrepreneur.

1. How to Build a Startup

This free course over at Udacity is instructed by Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, educator and developer of the famous customer development methodology. The course is an introduction to the basics of the Customer Development Process which includes learning how to develop and test ideas, how to listen and engage your customers, and how to deliver your product to your audience.

It only takes about a month to complete the eight lessons.

Related: 15 Free Online Learning Sites Every Entrepreneur Should Visit

2. Essentials of Entrepreneurship

Through Coursera, you can learn some of the basic components of entrepreneurship by University of California, Irvine, instructor David Stranden, MBA. It's an interactive course that consists of approximately four to eight hours of video and reading lessons, along with the occasional quiz.

The course covers entrepreneurial skills and tools, marketing strategy, human resources and accounting.

3. Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate

If you already have work experience, and about a grand to spend, then this online course offered by Stanford University is designed just you. The course was influenced by the spirit of Silicon Valley and will provide students with the tools and strategies to launch their start-up. What's most appealing about this course is you can hear from successful entrepreneurs and customize the program with classes relevant to you.

The course is self-paced and should be finished within 90 days. After completing the course, you'll have the official Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate.

4. 21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Presented by Jason Nazar, CEO of Docstoc, this two-hour video course includes 21 lessons Nazar has experience himself. Covered in the course is vetting ideas during the early stages of your startup, how to raise money, selecting the right team, and practical growth strategies.

This priceless course is great for potential entrepreneurs and can be taken for free at Udemy. You'll even get a nifty certification after completion.

Related: How Making Employees Lifelong Learners Can Help Your Company Succeed

5. Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs

Professor Michael R. Pratt from the University of Maryland instructs this great introductory class on when and how entrepreneurs can raise funds. Additional lessons include where to find investors, looking at various funding options, the components of a term sheet, how to perform key valuations, and how to make your pitch to investors.

This four-week course can be taken for free on Coursera.

6. Introduction to Finance

It's one thing to secure funding for your startup, it's another beast when it comes to valuing the company. That's why this course, taught by Gautam Kaul of the University of Michigan, is a must-take for all entrepreneurs. It will teach students how to make the appropriate personal and professional financial decisions by exploring the fundamental principles of valuation.

The 15-week course can be taken on Coursera and includes real-world examples and video lessons.

7. Law and the Entrepreneur

Taught by Esther Barron and Steve Reed of Northwestern University, this course offered at Coursera covers how to choose an entity for your business, selection of a company name and trademark, and protecting intellectual property. It also teaches entrepreneurs how to structure agreements with partners and investors.

The format consists of case studies and four or five short video lectures each week, as well as reading assignments and a quiz.

8. Introduction to Marketing

What's the point in starting your own business if you can't market to the right audience? This course is instructed by Barbara Kahn, Peter Fader and David Bell from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, which is constantly ranked as one of the top marketing departments in the world. The course discusses key principles like branding, customer centricity and go-to-market strategies. I used this to learn how to better brand my online business. It's taught me to pay attention to detail and make things stand out.

The four-week course consists of lecture videos, quizzes and discussions.

Related: 10 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn

Peter Daisyme

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder of Hostt

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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