Distance learning entrepreneurship certificates are often designed for business professionals looking to advance their knowledge and skills, but some are also created for those interested in starting or growing their own companies. Programs may focus on a certain form of entrepreneurship, such as the following:
- Entrepreneurship for second-career boomers
- Social entrepreneurship
- Technology entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurship and leadership studies
- Sustainable entrepreneurship
Online certificates in this field of study are offered through public and private universities and colleges. They are typically graduate-level programs, which means students must have bachelor's degrees to be eligible for admission. Some schools may require students to have a certain amount of professional experience in business or management. It's also possible that prospective students will need to have a business plan or viable venture in mind, and the coursework expounds on this with information to help business owners become successful.
The amount of time it takes to complete an online entrepreneurship certificate program varies, as some offered through professional development departments may be self-paced. However, graduate certificate programs take around a year of study, depending on the student's enrollment status.
Students enrolled in an online certificate in entrepreneurship will learn about hands-on approaches to identifying business strategies and tools that individuals need to start a business. Coursework generally includes developing a business plan and learning to match a student's ideas to the needs of the market. It also covers the legal requirements to start a business, accounting and financing skills, and operational strategies to ensure company growth. Students can also expect to take courses in marketing, financing and human resources.
Common entrepreneurship courses include:
- Feasibility studies
- Market research
- Competitive analysis
- Target market
- Legal forms of business
- Employment issues
- Intellectual property protection
- Creating tax documentation
- Entrepreneurial e-tailing
Students generally learn different sales concepts and marketing analysis to find niches in the profession they have chosen. Coursework may address tax documentation for tax controls, hiring and employment issues and effective leadership techniques.
Most online certificate programs in entrepreneurship are highly participatory so that students can get input on their ventures from classmates and instructors. Students may participate in a case-study simulation to provide feedback on where the business plans might improve and to create dialogue about different start-up strategies and foundations for successful entrepreneurs. Much of the work is done via an online content management system, which contains lectures, assignments and communication tools like video conferencing or discussion boards.
Online graduate certificate programs in entrepreneurship combine practical business studies with coursework that cultivates creative thinking skills for the business world. While students have significant scheduling flexibility as they complete these courses, they can still get outside input from instructors and fellow students through online communication platforms.