Small Business Owners Look Beyond College for Training Opportunities

New SCORE infographic shows 56% of entrepreneurs do not have a four-year degree
Business owners are turning to training and education to spur business growth, according to data compiled by SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses. Although degree offerings in entrepreneurship have grown by five times in the past 30 years, 56% of business owners do not have a four-year degree – and are instead taking advantage of other low-cost educational resources.
Small business owners who invest in training are more likely to grow. In fact, business owners in one survey cited training as more critical to their success than adopting new technologies or hiring employees, sharing the following plans for 2018:
  • 36% of business owners plan on improving their skills to boost productivity and efficiency.
  • 32% will invest in new technologies.
  • 28% will hire more employees.
This growing interest in business training is reflected in higher education trends. Over the past 30 years:
  • The number of freshmen who want to pursue entrepreneurship has doubled.
  • Degree offerings in entrepreneurship have grown by five times.
  • Courses in entrepreneurship have grown twentyfold.
Nonetheless, 56% of business owners do not have a four-year college degree:
  • 5% did not complete high school.
  • 20% completed high school or a G.E.D.
  • 14% earned an associate’s degree.
  • 17% completed some college.
  • 26% have a four-year degree.
  • 18% earned a post-graduate degree.
Instead, many entrepreneurs are using online training materials and modules to educate themselves on business topics, including those found on
The three most popular training topics on are:
  • Starting your business
  • Developing a business plan
  • Marketing and sales
Click here to download the infographic containing more information on the educational landscape for small business owners.
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE's 11,000 volunteer business experts provide free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide. In 2018, SCORE volunteers helped to create 32,387 new businesses and 103,300 non-owner jobs.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, or on volunteering with SCORE, visit SCORE at www.score.orgFollow @SCOREMentors on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for the latest small business news and updates.


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As small business landscapes continue to evolve, entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking training opportunities beyond traditional college education. This shift signifies a growing recognition that practical, specialized skills often crucial for entrepreneurial success might not always align with what conventional academia offers. Small business owners are exploring diverse avenues like online courses, vocational programs, specialized workshops, and mentorship initiatives to acquire targeted knowledge, practical expertise, and real-world insights. This trend underscores the importance of adaptable, skill-focused learning models that cater to the specific needs and demands of a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, enabling individuals to acquire the precise tools necessary for success in their ventures.

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