- Local Business School Courses: Perhaps you’ve already been in the business world and just need to sharpen a few skills to open your own business. A local business school will likely offer flexible schedules that allow you to pick just the courses you need. For example, a Bank of America survey which showed that small business owners in general, but particularly Hispanic business owners, were not fully leveraging the marketing capabilities of social media to communicate with prospects and customers. Since 80 percent of the Hispanic business owners said they would like to take more advantage of these opportunities, it might be helpful for you to enroll in social media and marketing courses at a community college or take non-credit courses at your local university.
- Free Online Courses: For those business owners without the time or ability to travel to a bricks and mortar school, virtual options are available. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has an extensive amount of Online Small Business Training Courses covering topics that include starting a business, managing a business, financing a business and contracting. The OpenCourseWare Consortium offers free online courses from universities and business organizations worldwide. For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management provides lecture notes, videos and exams from many undergraduate and graduate-level courses, all at no charge. Authenticity Consulting offers a self-paced Free Micro-eMBA? which they say will help leaders, managers, owners and entrepreneurs better understand business practices and basic systems.
To help finance your education, look for scholarships and grants from the school itself and from other organizations. The National Society of Hispanic MBAs offers scholarships based on work experience, academic achievement, goals and aspirations, financial need, and letters of recommendation. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Latin Scholarship Fund has various scholarships for part-time, community college and undergraduate courses. Sites like Online Education Database, Scholarships.com and CollegeScholarships.org also list Hispanic college scholarship and grant opportunities.
As your business grows and you need answers to specific questions on selling to the non-Hispanic and Hispanic market, keep your local SBA office in mind for local counseling and mentoring. Starting a business can seem like a formidable challenge, but when you’ve got education and a support system on your side, your odds of success are likely to increase.