You’ve got a killer business idea and maybe even some cash to get it started—but you still don’t know the difference between a balance sheet and a B-note. Beef up on the basics with courses designed to get you ready for ownership.
IN A HURRY
Chicago Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Center (EC)
Aspiring minority business owners can take the “nextStep” program from start to finish or just one class to learn a specific skill. EC offers five modules (or subject categories) with eight to nine classes in each spread out over several months. Intro classes in the first module cover topics such as mission statements and copyright laws while the latter modules cover business plans and technology. Tuition: $25 a class, or $100–$125 a module, or $275 for all courses.
City Colleges of Chicago
Multiple locations, low cost and ease of enrollment are some of the reasons for taking a class at one of the seven city colleges. Sign up for as many classes as you choose (find six in entrepreneurship) and learn the basics at your own pace. Tuition: $44–$173.56 per credit hour.
A self-proclaimed multifaceted learning center, Flourish offers several programs to increase business acumen: a monthly book club featuring biz-minded tomes and speakers, occasional workshops on marketing and new business development, and a weekly networking luncheon. Tuition: $15–$45 a workshop, $10 luncheon, free book club.
Got no time for an MBA but need the know-how, stat? Then Loyola’s ten-week, Monday-night mini-MBA program in spring or fall might be for you. It’s like a crash course for business newbies, teaching skills from marketing and finance to accounting and conflict management. Tuition: $2,900–$3,250.
University of Illinois, Chicago College of Business Administration
You’ll have to give up a few weekends, but existing biz owners can go through the Certificate in Business Administration Program (CBAP) to develop strategic plans for their ventures and learn necessary turn-a-profit tools. Meets Friday and Saturday twice a month for eight total weekends at the Oak Brook campus. Tuition: $8,400.
THE LONG HAUL
Sure, you can get a full MBA with a deep concentration in entrepreneurship from DePaul, but you can also cut your in-school time with the new master of science in entrepreneurship (MSE) program. The difference? MSE students take a higher portion of strictly entrepreneurship-focused classes, and can finish up in as little as one wyear (or 12 classes). Tuition: $900 per class.
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Spend two years in the MBA program in Evanston and you’re in “the club” for life (Kellogg is known for its überconnected alums). Major in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Levy Institute and gain access to successful entrepreneurs, intern at a small Chicago business and create an independent study. Students choose from more than 29 entrepreneur classes. Tuition: $54,000 per year.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Learning outside of the classroom isn’t just a bonus at Booth’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship; it’s a requirement. MBA students with an entrepreneurship concentration jump from theory to real practice in hands-on lab classes and business plan contests. Tuition: $53,400 per year or $5,340 per course.