Entrepreneurs Prefer In-person and Online Seminars Over Degree Courses for Ongoing Learning

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Research conducted by Ventureneer finds that in-person seminars and webinars provide the real time answers to problems entrepreneurs face. University business courses, both undergraduate and graduate, cost too much, take long and aren't topical. This preference is strongest among struggling entrepreneurs."

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In-person seminars and webinars are topical and about real world business issues. Participants can bring challenges they're currently facing and work through the solution with an expert from the field and the entire group.

New research finds that small business owners learn in many different ways, but they have a strong preference for seminars over undergraduate business and MBA university courses. Use and Value of Resources by Small Business Owners and Nonprofit Leaders: A Survey Conducted by Ventureneer. a soon to be report, also finds that going online is a popular way of taking seminars.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, in 1975, about 100 four-year colleges and universities offered entrepreneurship programs. Now, more than 500 have them and 300 community colleges offer some kind of entrepreneurship degree. Based on the results of Ventureneer's survey, it appears that most degree programs are not addressing an entrepreneur's need for lifelong learning.

Whether it's cost, time commitment, course focus or another reason, it's clear that small business owners prefer to do their learning through seminars and workshops. No surprise that a greater percentage of struggling entrepreneurs take seminars both in person and online. Struggling entrepreneurs are much more likely to take in-person seminars than those that are more successful. Small business owners are also beginning to participate in peer-to-peer advisory groups (CEO Roundtables and Mastermind groups) online.

According to Geri Stengel, president of Ventureneer, "Entrepreneurs need to problem solve in real time - not when it's convenient for a university to schedule a course." She added, "In-person seminars and webinars are topical and about real world business issues. Participants can bring challenges they're currently facing and work through the solution with an expert from the field and the entire group."

For additional insights, read these posts on Vistas: Ventureneer's blog:

About the Survey
This online survey was conducted among small business owners and nonprofit executives from July 7, 2009 to August 14, 2009. To ensure a large and representative sample, the survey was not just sent to Ventureneer contacts, but also through distribution partners who sent the survey to their lists (Jumpstart Social Media and Network of Integrity to the small business community, and Fiscal Management Associates and Nonprofit Solutions Network Friends to the nonprofit community), and friends who also spread the word about the survey (e-giving, Mi Kitchen Es Su Kitchen, The New York Enterprise Report, Red Rooster Group, SBTV, Support Center for Nonprofit Management and Your Best Interest LLC). Ventureneer also tweeted and posted requests for survey takers on LinkedIn, Facebook and JustMeans, as well as on appropriate small business and nonprofit discussion groups on LinkedIn. Four hundred and fifty-two small business and nonprofit leaders responded to the survey.

About Geri Stengel
Geri Stengel is president of Ventureneer, an online education and peer support service, and Stengel Solutions, a strategic planning consultancy. She is currently an adjunct professor at The New School, has served as a mentor for social enterprises entered in business plan competitions at Columbia Business School and New York University, Stern School of Business, and has served as a board member for several nonprofits. She honed her online experience at companies such as Dow Jones and Physicians' Online. She cofounded Women's Leadership Exchange, an online and conference resource for women-led businesses.

About Ventureneer
Ventureneer provides a new approach to learning that blends traditional formal instruction with informal learning derived from peers using Web 2.0 technology to capture and share this knowledge. Ventureneer's customized Web 2.0 learning environment: blogs, virtual classes, peer-to-peer learning, coaching, web events and articles, provide the necessary support to make faster, better organizational decisions.

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Geri Stengel

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