Endless Entrepreneurship Education

“I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — everyday I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson

While , I haven’t received an operating manual, a list of office rules to follow, or an orientation – but I’ve learned through online resources, conferences, networking events, videos and of course, the actual experience of building and running the business. The fact is, education doesn’t end.

So, I signed-up for the Certificate in Entrepreneurship as soon as I heard about it, after being invited to be an ambassador of the program and share my experiences. The certificate is offered through the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, in partnership with MaRS Discovery District & Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

Throughout the course, I will be blogging about the topics and class experiences. The School has announced this on their blog here.

Here I’ll take you through the Entrepreneurship Certificate, based on the program overview.

In our rapidly changing job market, many traditional careers and industries no longer provide the certainty of opportunity that previous generations have enjoyed. As the benefits of technology lower the barriers to set-up, start and build a successful business, entrepreneurship is an increasingly attractive option for many people in all stages of life. Whether participants are interested in exploring entrepreneurship before making the leap or have already started their entrepreneurial journey, this program will provide them with the latest insights and practical tools to accelerate their new business.

Although I have already launched my business and non-profit, the program features strong speakers, content, and access to a huge network. One particularly exciting partnership is its connection with MaRS Discovery District, which offers huge resources to entrepreneurs and startups in the tech and social innovation space.

Offered in collaboration with MaRS Discovery District, the Certificate in Entrepreneurship guides aspiring and budding entrepreneurs through key strategic decisions and planning milestones in the initial stages of building a business, from developing realistic business and financing plans, to understanding and targeting the right market with effective marketing strategy and messaging. Using the latest tools, strategic thinking in entrepreneurial management, and feedback from industry experts, participants will develop important components of their business, reduce their start-up risk, and build their business faster.

Unlike a large lecture at most universities, courses within the School of Continuing Studies are based on a smaller community. This was also my experience while completing the Certificate in Digital Strategy & Communications Management within the school.

The program includes an intimate classroom experience: one-on-one interaction with instructors; exposure to successful entrepreneurs; and lots of peer feedback. It offers participants the opportunity to talk to professionals and potential customers to gain real world insights to apply to their business.

Because entrepreneurs start off all on their own and with little specific guidance or formal education, the program is applicable to entrepreneurs (or future entrepreneurs) at any stage, starting with Foundations in Entrepreneurial Management, the first course in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

The program is targeted to aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs and individuals who are interested in acquiring the requisite tools, knowledge, skills and networks to start, build, and grow a successful business. It will appeal to individuals from a variety of sectors, some who have previous / current corporate experience, as well as those have no corporate experience, but are interested in launching and/or accelerating the growth of their own business. The audience will include younger entrepreneurs, internationally educated professionals and more mature, career changers wanting to make the leap into their own venture.

Starting this month (May 2014), the Foundations in Entrepreneurial Management course focuses on providing entrepreneurs with fundamentals to begin their entrepreneurial journey. We will learn about the importance of entrepreneurship in fostering innovation and productivity, the latest thinking about the entrepreneurial mindset, and how the entrepreneurship ecosystem works.

As an entrepreneur running multiple online properties, programs, services and organizations, it’s difficult to find time to reflect and re-evaluate. A few components of the course I’m looking forward to include self-assessment, the chance to validate my business idea, and to develop a more detailed value proposition and business model (collaborating with other students with various backgrounds). 

Follow along on Twitter @Francavilla, the course account @EntrepreneurSCS and the hashtag #StartUpEdu for more each week.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship program; however, the opinions provided are my own.

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