Free Online Course
The Brian Hamilton Foundation’s Starter U: How to Start and Grow a Business is a free, self-paced online course teaching everything you need to know to start, run, and grow a business. Whether you live in Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine, work 3rd shift or 1st shift, this course is designed to give you, the entrepreneur, the flexibility to learn according to your schedule.
Our course covers business ideation, marketing, selling, customer service, how to overcome the biggest obstacle stopping you from starting your business: you. Through roughly twelve hours of instruction, entrepreneur stories, quizzes, and discussion topics, we distill everything you absolutely need to know to start your business tomorrow. At the end of the course, you will receive a certification proving you have successfully completed the course. So, what are you waiting for? Start today!
Success By the Numbers
This course represents decades of entrepreneurship experience. When asked what information is absolutely necessary to start a business tomorrow, everyone agreed on the following.
SECTION 1 – GETTING YOUR BUSINESS OFF THE GROUND
Chapter 1 – What is Required to Be An Entrepreneur
Chapter 2 – Reasons to Start A Business
Chapter 3 – Obstacles & Roadblocks/Why Businesses Fail
Chapter 4 – How to Come Up with A Business Idea
Chapter 5 – Launch Considerations & To-Do Items
Chapter 6 – How to Get Your First Customers
SECTION 2 – GROWING YOUR BUSINESS
Chapter 1 – Hiring
Chapter 2 – Financing
Chapter 3 – How to know if you should expand
Chapter 4 – Legal Infrastructure
Chapter 5 – Strategic Partnerships
Chapter 6 – Money Management
Chapter 7 – How do you sift through buying things?
Chapter 8 – Getting and Using Customer Feedback
Chapter 9 – Getting and Using Employee Feedback
SECTION 3 – ADDITIONAL THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Chapter 1 – Accounting & Finance
Chapter 2 – Branding Your Business
Chapter 3 – Marketing
Chapter 4 – Sales
Chapter 5 – Customer Service & Success
Chapter 6 – Legal
Chapter 7 – Human Resources/Managing People
CLOSING – IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE, DO THIS
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can take this course?
Starter U is available to anyone free of charge! While the foundation focuses on those who have the odds stacked against them, this class is for anyone, whether you are thinking of starting business or already have a business and need some additional direction. Start today and begin learning how to launch a business or take your current business to the next level.
Is there a charge for the course?
No, Starter U is offered free of charge. The foundation pays for each active user each month, so we only ask that you complete the course (8 hours of video lessons and 2-3 hours of content assessments) within 3-5 weeks.
What does the course cover?
Starter U covers everything you need to know to start, run, and grow a business. There are a lot of entrepreneurship resources out there; Starter U distills everything down to one simple course that will set you up to start your business tomorrow.
Who teaches the course?
Starter U is 100 percent taught by entrepreneurs who have successfully started and grown their own businesses, including some of the nation’s most successful companies. Throughout the course, you will hear stories from over a dozen entrepreneurs who not to long ago were exactly in your spot. Our curriculum was developed by experienced entrepreneurs, so you, the learner, can cut through the entrepreneurship fog and focus on what matters.
What if I have a question while taking the course?
Starter U is equipped with a community forum, discussion topics, and private messaging system. If you are unable to get your questions answered through any of those avenues, contact the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I talk to other participants?
Yes, Starter U has online community forums where you can communicate with other participants and ask questions about the course, entrepreneurship, or anything in between. If you don’t see a thread related to a question you have, start your own!
Can I really start a business with less than $1,000?
Yes, and we don’t just say that, we’ve done it. The fact is, the majority of businesses in the U.S. are self-funded. Whether you are starting with $10 or $1,000,000, we will teach you how to take a business idea and build it to reach your end goal.
What’s in it for you?
The satisfaction of helping others. We do not financially benefit from Starter U in any way, and at no point will we try to sell you something. Our founder, Brian Hamilton, has been an entrepreneur all his life. He established the foundation to share what he has learned and to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who want to help anyone who has an idea and wants to turn it into a business.
I’m an experienced entrepreneur and want to teach this course locally. What do I do?
By taking the Starter U instructor version, you can become certified to teach our course in your local city. Starter U is always free: instructors are required to offer the Starter U courses on a volunteer basis, without charging a fee to students.
I’m not an entrepreneur but want to offer this course. What do I do?
Unfortunately, only experienced entrepreneurs are permitted to become certified instructors. If you are an organization that wants to offer this course as a program, you can identify a local entrepreneur who is willing to volunteer their time to become certified and teach the course.