Case Western Reserve University professor creating free online course for entrepreneurs
Posted October 14, 2013 in Articles
Author: Karen Farkas
A Case Western Reserve University professor has received a $69,000 grant to help develop a free online course on how communities can support and grow new companies – with a focus on Northeast Ohio.
The non-credit course, likely to be taken by tens of thousands across the world, will explore how an area going through an economic transition launched an array of government and donor-supported initiatives to support the growth of entrepreneurs.
“This is for entrepreneurs around the world and not a class about how you build a company but how do you understand communities and how resources are allocated,” said Michael Goldberg, an assistant professor at the Weatherhead School of Management.
He received the grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which invests in organizations and institutions that foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
Most of the money will be used to hire North Water Partners, a consulting and video production firm, and a director to create about seven or eight 10-minute “mini-documentaries” of local entrepreneurs and the resources they used, he said.
“Through their stories will we understand the resources of the ecosystem,” he said.
Goldberg is developing the course, currently called “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development in Transitioning Economies,” although he admits the name is somewhat unwieldy. He expects registration to open next month and the course to begin next March.
It will be the third online course offered by CWRU through Coursera, a company that provides an online platform to dozens of colleges for Massive Open Online Courses, known as MOOCs. "Introduction to International Criminal Law" and "Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence" are still offered.
Goldberg has spent his career in global business and is co-founder of a venture capital fund. He taught part-time at Weatherhead for four years until becoming a full-time faculty member this fall.
He said he was inspired to develop the MOOC after spending five months in Vietnam in 2012 on a Fulbright grant to teach entrepreneurial finance. He was asked many questions about how people can find help for their business.
“I was talking about what we have done in Cleveland and the role of government and donors,” he said. “Here we have a pretty strong infrastructure with JumpStart and BioEnterprise and NorTech and the state’s Third Frontier Program.”
He said the path for entrepreneurs to develop their companies outside of well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystems like Silicon Valley is challenging and most markets are like northeast Ohio.
In addition to the videos he plans to show during the eight-week course, he wants participants to do a report or presentation with an optional video profiling an entrepreneur in their own community. He plans interactive discussion with business leaders -- even it if it means holding them at midnight to adjust for the overseas time difference.
Students can sign up at any time to take one of the CWRU classes on Coursera. More information is available at class-central.com/university/casewestern.