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Build Your Career Get Ahead

9 Online Programs to Boost Your Business Skills

Free online learning resources
Credit: Lipik Stock Media/Shutterstock

The internet is practically infinite. With that size comes the ability to learn just about anything, from how to change a tire to how trade tariffs will impact long-term economic growth. For business owners, there are endless resources to further business education. No matter what role you're in now or what stage your business is in, there are several ways to learn new skills and business concepts for the future.

A lot of these online resources are free, and you can learn at your own pace. This means you can focus your necessary attention on growing your business or improving in your current role while studying on the side. Regardless of what you want to learn, it's easy to get access to university and college courses for no charge.

Courses on Coursera are taught by leading experts and instructors from the world's best universities. Business owners have access to video lectures, community discussion forums and auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments. There's a wide-range of content, from free to paid online, university-recognized degrees. There are several tracks and hundreds of courses to choose from. Topics range from programs like Excel to business practices like financial accounting. Coursera offers both paid and free courses, depending on what you're looking to learn.

Learn more at Coursera.org.

Business owners can enroll in various free online courses from top institutions around the globe with edX. You don't have to apply for individual applications, courses are open 24/7 to join, and you can take courses on your own schedule. These courses are taught by university experts but are non-credit courses. You can get a verified certificate to prove you've mastered the class and concepts, however. Business courses range from critical thinking to data modeling. There are also courses in Spanish.

Learn more at edX.org.

Hello Fearless is an online school for female entrepreneurs. It provides courses and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs looking to advance their careers. The website's educational component, Boss School, has educated more than 175,000 entrepreneurs. It's a 90-day course that provides real-world education, mentors for future growth and community support. There are limited spots, so you'll have to apply and tell Hello Fearless a bit about your business. If you're looking for more online-based learning, there are inspirational articles plus other content on Hello Fearless's website about entrepreneurship.

Learn more at HelloFearless.com.

Tech giant Hewitt-Packard provides a free training program called HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) to educate business owners on common business challenges and technology solutions. Its courses span communications, finance, marketing and operations. There are even designated courses for startups. HP has partnered with various companies to bring users unique education opportunities. These courses are ideal for new business owners or workers looking to build out knowledge on their current role.

Learn more at life-global.org.

Lynda.com is an online video education website that provides hundreds of courses on a variety of topics. Lynda isn't free, but they provide a free trial period so you can determine if the service is ideal for your needs. Lynda provides great resources for using software programs, such as Adobe Creative Cloud. It also provides designated learning paths, so you can take courses along a learning path until you're an expert in that area.

Learn more at lynda.com.

The Open University is a free online learning platform that touches on a variety of topics, such as IT, Design and Law. You can browse OpenLearn's offering by courses, qualification or subject. It features several business-specific courses, such as business management, economics and marketing. For defined degrees, The Open University may require tuition.

Learn more at open.edu.

The Small Business Administration has been supporting U.S. businesses for generations. In addition to providing loans and other services, the government agency also has an extensive learning center on its website. The courses on SBA are free and are great for young entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to learn business basics. Courses on writing a business plan, learning about financing options and understanding legal requirements are all provided by the Small Business Administration. There are courses on savings plans, social media marketing and sales. The SBA offers a lot of hands-on, real-world business education resources.

Learn more at SBA.gov.

This online platform provides various resources for small businesses. In addition to conference information, business coaching and a business podcast, Thrive Time Show also has a business school. It's a massive library of 15-minute training courses taught by successful entrepreneurs. The company supports various topics ranging from copywriting to financing. While Thrive Time Show's business school is a good resource, it's a paid service. The company advertises a $1 per month fee, but you'll have to talk with a sales representative about cost depending on what you're looking to learn.

Learn more at ThriveTimeShow.com.

Udacity provides online courses and learning resources for individuals interested in entering the tech industry. This platform focuses on data, artificial intelligence and other trending topics in technology. It breaks down learning paths into nanodegrees. Depending on which courses you sign up for, Udacity may charge a fee.

Learn more at Udacity.com.

Matt D'Angelo

Matt D'Angelo is a B2B Tech Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the Purch team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter or email him.