Invest in yourself - Short courses and qualifications for small business owners

Online education that can offer you a wealth of information

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are never truly done learning and continually gaining new knowledge and skills are vital for your professional growth. Thanks to the arrival of massive open online courses (MOOCs) which offer free online courses available for anyone to enroll, you can now access these resources from the comfort of your own home or workplace and at your own pace. These online courses provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and advance yourself and your business.

From basic accounting skills to new marketing strategies, these courses will help you invest in yourself and in turn, take your business to the next level. Online education can offer you a wealth of information so go on, give yourself an edge.


3 Institutions Offering Free Online Courses

These online courses provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and advance yourself and your business.

Wits University – www.edx.org

 The University of Witwatersrand offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through non-profit online learning provider edX. 

How it works

Go to the edX website and start browsing through their long list of courses by selecting the subject you’re interested in. Make use of the “Availability” option to refine your search. Read through the course pre-requisites and time commitment before selecting your choice. Then, register for the course and start studying. Everything is done online, including classes, quizzes and exams. 

Free Courses

All edX courses are free, however, a verified certificate does require a small fee and you’ll need to verify your identity by submitting a copy of your official ID.

What you’ll learn

The outcomes of each course are dependent on their degree of difficulty: introductory, intermediate and advanced. For example, the Introduction to Project Management course is of the introductory level and outcomes include gaining core knowledge and applied skills, and understanding why today’s projects are more complex. 

Time Investment

The length of time a course requires is dependent on your choice of course. The average course length is eight to ten weeks, with a study commitment of at least eight hours a week.

Unisa – www.unisa.ac.za

Unisa is a flexible open distance learning institution, motivated by the digital age. They offer internationally accredited qualifications and have world-class resources. Unisa now offers free online courses in African languages. Giving learners the opportunity to improve their communication skills by removing language barriers. As an entrepreneur and business owner, understanding and speaking different African languages can be very beneficial.

How it works

Go to Unisa’s free online courses and select the African language you would like to learn first. The course systematically takes you through the vocabulary of a particular theme. Showing a video clip at the end of each theme, in which the context of the given vocabulary is demonstrated. These are not certified courses, but a means to better understand the African people.  The free language courses include Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa & Zulu.

Time Investment

Go online and learn at your own pace.

Alison – www.alison.com

Alison is a strong online learning community, filled with free, high-quality courses. Alison aims to empower users to improve their economic and personal circumstances through knowledge and skill development.

How it works

You start by deciding what it is you want to learn about, then browse Alison’s courses and find the one you’re interested in. Once you’ve found your course, you have to register your free account and click on the start course button. 

Alison offers 750 free certificate or diploma courses.

Time Investment

The length of time a course requires is dependent on your choice of course.

The effort for further education can seem impossible to achieve but you can open yourself up to new ways of thinking and keep ahead of the latest business trends through online learning.