Coursera launches MOOC for start-ups

US-based online learning platform and the University of London join forces to help grow startups in the UK market

Entrepreneurs will see their projects transform and encounter new ways of thinking about how to fund their existing or future businesses, if they register for a new online course How to Finance and Grow Your Startup – Without VC (venture capital).

The course is hosted on the Coursera platform in partnership with the University of London and the London Business School. The new seven week MOOC is taught by Dr. John Mullins, a three-time entrepreneur, best-selling author and Associate Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School.

There are currently over 5.2 million small businesses in the UK, compared with 700,000 just a few decades ago. Buoyed by stories of angel investors and unicorns in Silicon Valley, these aspiring entrepreneurs might reasonably feel that securing venture capital is the only way to get their startup going.

However, taking on initial venture capital is often risky, and according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 36% of people in the UK claim the fear of failure stops them exploiting the business opportunities they see.

Dr. Mullins’ course challenges the need for initial venture capital by introducing learners to five models that entrepreneurial superstars like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Sir Richard Branson have used, to fund their businesses.

We’ve broken down short lessons, interviews, thought-provoking questions, and optional things to read into bite-sized chunks, so you can log in and learn whenever and wherever you are

Speaking about the addition of this course to the University of London MOOC offering, Dr. Mullins commented: “More than two generations ago, the venture capital community convinced the entrepreneurial world that writing business plans and then raising venture capital constituted the twin centre pieces of entrepreneurial endeavour. Actually though, the vast majority of fast growing companies never take any venture capital. So where does their money come from? And for you, where might your money come from to start and grow your business? 

Dr. Mullins’ course addresses these questions and learners will find real, practical tools to help them find this funding. Learners can hear stories from creative entrepreneurs – about their successes and failures – through intimate, no holds-barred interviews with founders, investors and other experts.

As Dr. Mullins explains: “We’ve broken down short lessons, interviews, thought-provoking questions, and optional things to read into bite-sized chunks, so you can log in and learn whenever and wherever you are.” 

Speaking about Dr Mullins’ course, CEO of Coursera Rick Levin commented: “We want to empower people in the UK through access to knowledge that can turn pipe dreams into reality. We are delighted to launch this new course in partnership with the University of London and the London Business School that will help drive business innovation and lead people with an entrepreneurial spirit to realise their full potential.” 

More details containing course information are readily available at: www.coursera.org/learn/startup-financing-without-vc/

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