The Oxford Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” These businesses or ventures encompass all industries from manufacturing to food to software and more. While starting a company or business can seem straightforward, it is, in fact, an arduous process. However, there are numerous online degree programs that can help aspiring entrepreneurs learn what they need to know to succeed.
Online degree programs in entrepreneurship allow professionals to complete their studies while still working, raising a family, or starting their own business. There are several different degrees students can earn, including a bachelor’s or a master’s. For students who do not have the time to dedicate to a degree program, there are certificate programs or online boot camps that can provide targeted education in a shortened format. Students should ensure the program they attend is accredited as this guarantees a minimum level of quality in faculty, facilities, and curriculum.
According to Business Insider, there are more new businesses now than ever. In 2020, there were over 1.1 million applications for a new employer ID number. This number is up 12 percent over the same period last year and the highest it has been since 2007. However, only about half of new companies will make it past the five-year mark. Most businesses fail because of premature scaling (Forbes 2020), a problem that is addressed in many online entrepreneurship programs. Completing a degree, certificate, or boot camp in entrepreneurship isn’t a failsafe, but it can add credibility, provide good business instincts, and help avoid some pitfalls.
Continue reading to learn about some of the top online entrepreneurship programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and boot camps.
Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business
Dr. Joan Brett is an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business, where she has worked for more than 20 years.
Dr. Brett earned her PhD at New York University industrial and organizational psychology. Her research centers on motivation and performance in the workplace. Her most recent publication, which examined how to utilize company culture to lead innovation in health care organizations, was in the Harvard Business Review. While she primarily works with students completing their dissertation or research, she occasionally teaches organizational theory and behavior courses.
Indiana University Kelley School of business
Dr. Sara Chochran is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She earned her PhD at the University of Missouri-Columbia in higher education, educational leadership, and policy analysis. Her primary areas of interest are entrepreneurship, including women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship in higher education, and gender and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Cochran has first-hand experience as an entrepreneur as she has founded two of her own companies. She is also currently the director-at-large for the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Western Carolina University College of Business
Dr. Bethany Davidson holds a PhD in leadership and change from Antioch University and is currently an associate professor at the Western Carolina University College of Business. She teaches courses in entrepreneurial funding, intrapreneurship, new venture strategy, and innovation and creativity. In addition to her PhD, she holds two master’s degrees, one in business administration and the other in entrepreneurship.
Since 2017, Dr. Davidson has also run her consulting firm, where she provides leadership coaching, creativity training, and operations consulting.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Kenan-Flagler Business School
The online master’s in business administration (MBA) with a focus in entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School prepares students to launch a business, work in consulting, or even join an executive leadership team. This 18- to 36-month program teaches crucial entrepreneurship skills such as identifying an opportunity, developing a business plan, securing funding, and refining the idea over time.
Students must complete core coursework in business strategy but can tailor their education with electives such as entrepreneurship in developing economies, managing innovation
managing modern customers and markets, and new venture discovery.
Admission to this program is competitive and includes an interview. Applicants must submit a completed application, two letters of recommendation, GRE or GMAT scores, a current resume, and a statement of intent.
Penn State World Campus offers an online MBA in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. While this program is primarily geared for those with entrepreneurial interests who work in the corporate sector, it is also an excellent choice for those looking to launch their own business or grow a new venture. Graduates can learn to successfully lead an internal startup in their current company or launch their own independent enterprise.
With both a primary and secondary concentration requirement, students will be able to customize their education to their interests. The program culminates in a capstone experience where students will incorporate everything they have learned into one final project.
There is also an optional global immersion experience for students who wish to expand their horizons. The global immersion trip happens in the spring of a student’s final year. In the past, students have traveled to the Czech Republic, Argentina, and China.
Indiana University – Kelley School Of Business
Aspiring entrepreneurs can earn an MBA with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School Of Business. Since students can complete their coursework on their schedule, they can continue to work or even start a venture while conducting their studies. There are required on-campus experiences each year that require students to travel to campus. These in-person courses allow students to network with faculty and other students in addition to completing intensive studies.
Courses can be completed in as little as two years or as many as four. Students take a total of 24 credits in core coursework and an additional 24 in their specialization. Entrepreneurship courses include corporate innovation, venture concept development, and the theory, process, and practice of entrepreneurship.
In just four years, students can complete a fully online bachelor’s of business administration (BBA) in entrepreneurship at Northwood University. Graduates of this program are prepared to take over a family business, start their own company, or innovate in a corporate environment. Thirty-four percent of graduates of this program have an ownership stake in their own company.
While students must take general classes such as composition and math, they are immersed in entrepreneurship classes, starting in their very first semester. Required coursework includes marketing, finance, microeconomics, venture finance, ethics, and more.
Admission requirements include an SAT or ACT score, a high school diploma or equivalent, and a completed application.
Western Carolina University – College of Business
The distance degree program at Western Carolina University’s College of Business offers an online bachelor’s of science in business administration with a major in innovation leadership and entrepreneurship. Students typically enter this program after completing a two-year associate degree or an equivalent number of transfer credits at another institution. While students can take a full course load each semester, most students attend part-time and only take six to nine credits at a time.
In addition to the 36 credits of business core courses, students must take 24 credits in their major. For entrepreneurship students, this includes courses such as new venture growth, intrapreneurship, innovation and creativity, and entrepreneurial funding. Admission requirements include a minimum GPA in college coursework, a high school diploma or equivalent, and a completed application.
Arizona State University – W. P. Carey School of Business
Students interested in technology-based innovation may find the online technological entrepreneurship and management bachelor’s of science at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business to be a good match. This program is targeted at entrepreneurs with aspirations to run their own technology-based company or non-profit or to jump-start a career in technology innovation. The online format allows students to complete their studies without having to relocate. Students complete projects both independently and collaboratively, allowing them the opportunity to learn how to work in a variety of potential work scenarios.
To complete this program, students must earn a total of 120-semester credits. Coursework is divided between liberal arts studies and technology entrepreneurship-specific courses such as innovation management, understanding enterprise, venture funding, and more.
Applicants for admission must possess a high school diploma or equivalency, have an ACT or SAT score, and complete an online application.
Entrepreneurs must be forever learners. The business landscape is perpetually evolving, and those looking to start or grow a business will need to learn and adapt. There are several DIY options available for entrepreneurs who do not have the time or inclination to complete a degree program.
In addition to free short courses on platforms like edX, Udacity, and Coursera, there are excellent boot camps designed to help aspiring business owners jump-start their ideas. Here are two accredited boot camp programs.
The entrepreneurship boot camp at Babson College is offered both in-person and online. The online courses can be completed in five weeks and require two to three hours each week. Students will learn how to create a business model, financial modeling, marketing, pitching to investors, and more. The online classes are taught live by outstanding professors in the field. The course culminates with students submitting a pre-recorded pitch that is then peer-reviewed and scored.
The four-week entrepreneurship essentials course at Harvard Business School is designed for students and early-stage or aspiring entrepreneurs. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify a business opportunity, evaluate their idea, assess the market, validate concepts, and understand how to raise funds. This course does require some dedication as it can take 25 to 30 hours a week to complete all the required lectures and tasks.