Starting and running a successful business is not an easy feat no matter who is attempting to do so. It involves numerous personal qualities both inherent and acquired. On top of this, industry insight and expertise are extremely valuable attributes. All this is not to say there are a limited number of people who have the ability to pull off a profitable business - it is possible for anyone to be successful in their endeavors given the right direction. Someone may have a wonderful idea for a product or the drive to work endlessly towards a goal. However, without the knowledge of how to make connections or how to properly market what they are doing, they may be doomed. This is where learning comes into play. Cher Wang, the co-founder of HTC, summed up this ideal, "It takes humility to realise that we don't know everything, not to rest on our laurels, and to know that we must keep learning and observing. If we don't, we can be sure some startup will be there to take our place." 

If learning is such an important method of getting ahead in business, the question must be asked, where does one learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship? We spoke with 10 different business executives to discover what are the best online entrepreneurship courses. 

Y Combinator

Jesse Richardson is the CEO of The Brothers Apothecary, a CBD brand featuring tea and superfood products. He believes that the startup school offered by Y Combinator is one of the most wonderful resources available to those seeking to further themselves.

"Y Combinator's startup school is the resource for anyone interested in establishing their own tech startup. It covers nearly all applicable areas from early stage ideas, to pricing, growth plans, internal chemistry, hiring and more. It even delves into more trying tasks such as securing funding or even the tech-side of things for people who may be lacking in that area. The idea behind the program is that it is entirely exhaustive of all areas surrounding a startup. The best part about it is that it is entirely cost-free."


LifeGoal Investments is an innovative company offering investment advice and options for people of any budget. Their founder, Brett Sohns, has a high regard for the Creativity & Entrepreneurship offered through Berklee College of Music's online school, BerkleeX. 

"BerkleeX has taken an incredibly unique approach to teaching entrepreneurial information. Instead of the standard textbook, point blank, approach to learning information, this course presents learning about entrepreneurship as a creative process similar to learning an instrument. The hypothesis behind this ideal is that, like with writing music, being an entrepreneur requires a level of creativity. That's not to say the course only covers hypothetical ideals. You'll also be exposed to the traditional topics of prototyping, team building, branding, and much more."

Entrepreneurship Specialization

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania offers an entrepreneur program through the online resource, Coursera. It is a five-part course covering a wide-spread number of topics related to being and becoming a business operator. Jason Wong is the CEO of Doe Lashes, a company offering comfort and style with their eyelashes. He considers this program to be excellent. 

"The Entrepreneurship Specialization program covers all the bases from start to finish to show anyone how to create their own business. Each of the necessities is broken up into five categories which form the entirety of the course and those are, development, launch, growth, financial topics, with a final project. The program was built by a combination of Wharton professors and company founders and at the end the graduates will be certified." 

Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies

Julie Harris is the co-CEO and head of coaching for Tim and Julie Harris Real Estate Coaching, which offers coaching for anyone seeking to begin or further their real estate career. She believes a course offered by the University of Maryland through Coursera is the pinnacle of online learning. 

"For those who haven't done it before, the process of starting a business can seem like a giant mystery. The goal of Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies is to bring transparency to the mystery. It's geared towards entrepreneurs of any level who want to translate their dreams into reality. You'll cover concrete ideas such as understanding the industry. The course also covers personal mindset related topics such as attitude and decision-making."

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Maxine Swimwear is a swimwear brand that believes in loving and embracing your body for exactly how it is. Their VP of Ecommerce, Karim Hachem, is a big fan of the entrepreneur course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

"MIT is a recognized name across the globe and one that any entrepreneur should be proud to add to their resume. This all-encompassing course was created for anyone with an interest in beginning their career in business. In the six weeks, you'll come to understand what is an opportunity worth pursuing, how to research within your industry and how to plan around what you know and don't. If you're looking for guidance on the details of being an entrepreneur this is the course."

The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship

Silicon valley author and entrepreneur Guy Kawaski has designed a course backed by his personal experiences and examples. It includes the ability to communicate with Kawasaki directly. Jeremy Gardner is the CEO of MadeMan, a men's skincare brand focused on simplifying care. He suggests enrolling in this course if an interactive participation is desired.

"In my opinion, there's nothing better than learning from someone who has immense amounts of experience in a field and that's what you get with Kawasaki's course. He's converted his background into a digestible and clear guide which should not only inspire but also inform prospective entrepreneurs. The best part of this course is the ability to pick the brain of the instructor as you can get right to the core of whatever difficulties you're facing with the material or as an entrepreneur."

Become a Digital Marketer

Benjamin Meskin is the president of Cabrella, a software company specializing in shipping and insurance for high-value items. He considers a course through the Udacity platform, Become a Digital Marketer, to be of incredibly high value to those looking to broaden their skillset. 

"In a digitally driven world, being tech savvy and knowing how to get your business seen by the right people is imperative to your success. This course drills down on the finite details of everything that goes into marketing your company effectively. From social media to SEO and even Google Analytics, there's nothing missing. Upon completing the course you'll be awarded what is called a nanodegree which is essentially a certification so this could bolster your resume as well."

Entrepreneurial Finance

Mob Hookah is an online retailer offering a variety of hookah products. Their CEO, Mehdi Marrakchi, suggests exploring a course offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's online wing. The aim of the course is to scrutinize and understand all sides of finance as it relates to starting a business.

"This course provides an incredible amount of depth in a business category that can often feel disorientating. It's perfect for those who are on the right track mentally but need clear guidance on moving forward. Included within the course are answers to questions such as, how much money should I attempt to raise? How do I value my company? What should employee contracts look like? Furthermore, it's of the highest quality because it's run by MIT and you can never beat the zero dollar price tag."

Financial Analysis for Decision Making

Babson College has partnered with edX, an online learning platform, to provide excellent knowledge on matters of working with finances and gaining the right type of funding. Fighting for You is a personal injury law firm. Their CMO, Max Schwartzapfel, is a strong believer in this course. 

"A company can sell an endless amount of products but if they are unable to manage their money in a wise manner they'll quickly find themselves sunk. When completed, this Babson course allows entrepreneurs to take hold of the financial reins of their current or future projects. The end goal is for people to be able to evaluate the worth of a business opportunity regardless of whether that involves forming, joining, or even investing in a company. Also, it includes numerous funding topics."

Shopify Tyrant: How to Start an Ecommerce Biz from Scratch

Schuyler Hoversten is the co-founder and president of Swoopt, an online resource for finding the best deals of sports tickets. He considers this platform specific course to be an exemplary inroad for anyone looking to get started as an entrepreneur. 

"Shopify continues to gain ground as one of the biggest players in ecommerce service and management so there's good reason to understand how it can bring success to your company. Ecommerce is a staple in our tech-centered world and any retailer needs to have the know-how to implement it within their company. This course kills two birds with one stone and allows the participant to begin their journey through extensive knowledge."

Some may just be getting started as an entrepreneur. Others may have years of experience. Whatever the case may be, acquiring knowledge and new skills is necessary to keep your head above the waters and the competition. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, put it best,  "In business, what's dangerous is not to evolve."