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Digital Library

Digital Library

MSME Toolkit

This is an online portal intended to help entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to learn and implement sustainable business management practices and increase their productivity, efficiency, and capacity, as well as improve their access to finance and new markets.
The Toolkit consists of a large body of globally relevant free content for SMEs provided by content partners and includes business forms, tools, how-to-articles, business software, and advice about starting and growing a business. The areas covered include accounting, finance, human resources, international business, legal, insurance, marketing, sales, operations, and technology.

Recommended Free Online Courses

1. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship
University of Maryland Platform: Coursera
Length: 6 weeks
Time commitment/prerequisites: 5 to 7 hours of work per week.
The presenters expect this course to be taken by people completely new to the topics and have designed the content in that way.
Why you should consider it: You will explore how to identify and develop great ideas into great companies, identify opportunities based on real customer needs, develop solid business models, and create successful companies. This course assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies. With strong economies presenting rich opportunities for new venture creation and challenging economic times presenting the necessity for many to make their own job, the need to develop the skills to develop and act on innovative business opportunities is ever-present.

2. An Introduction to Operations Management
University of Pennsylvania Platform: Coursera
Length: 8 weeks
Time commitment/prerequisites: 5 to 7 hours of work per week.
The course is designed for business school students and executives. There are no academic prerequisites for the course; this is not a math course and nothing done in this course requires more than high school math. This course will be helpful to students who are preparing for their career in business and want to lay some foundations or for those who are in the middle of their career and have some real problems to solve right now.
Why you should consider it: This course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, provide more choices to customers, reduce response times, and improve quality. Along the way, you will learn about topics such as Lean Operations, Six Sigma, and the Toyota production system, and you will hear about bottlenecks, flows rates, and inventory levels.

3. On Strategy: What Managers Can Learn from Great Philosophers
Centrale Supélec Platform: Coursera
Length: 6 weeks
Time commitment/prerequisites: 2 to 3 hours of work per week. No background knowledge or skills are required, though an interest in philosophy is recommended.
Why you should consider it: With the help of great philosophers, you will rediscover the art of thinking. The success of a business depends on its capacity to make a difference regarding competition. Creativity demands the ability to unshackle yourself from conventional ways of thinking, to “think outside the box”. However, once outside the box, you need to construct a new box or boxes (new intellectual frameworks or models) to help you structure your thinking, so you can generate truly game-changing ideas.

4. Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part II
University of Virginia Platform: Coursera
Length: 4 weeks
Time commitment/prerequisites: 4 – 6 hours of work per week.
You may attend this course even if you did not take Grow to Greatness, Part 1. The only prerequisite is an interest in learning about how privately-owned entrepreneurial businesses grow. The course is aimed at students, business owners, managers and employees of private businesses, and people interested in growth, economic development, and job creation.
Why you should consider it: This course focuses on people's challenges faced by private businesses when they attempt to grow substantially. You will study stories of how six different private businesses faced their growth challenges. While strategic focus and operational excellence are necessary to build a great growth company, they are not sufficient. Growth requires the right kind of leadership, culture, and people. The research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others’ experiences – you do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.

5. Online Marketing Fundamentals Platform:
Time commitment/Prerequisites: Video tutorial. 3 hours, 29 minutes. Beginner level.
Why you should consider it: In Online Marketing Fundamentals, marketers, web designers, business owners, and executives will be introduced to the world of online marketing. The course takes a look at the basis of any online marketing effort – a business’s website – and reviews how the different components of the site can support the business’s goals, from SEO and SEM to social media, online PR and content marketing.

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