Learn with Start Up Loans

A partnership designed to help UK businesses get off the ground and stay there.
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The courses provide a rich source of vital information for anyone who’s new to being their own boss, as well as would-be business owners who are considering taking the plunge.

Covering digital skills to bookkeeping and accounting, the courses are designed to help business owners understand more about the key aspects of running a business – from the day-to-day to growing a venture.

Alongside the business essentials, you can now find courses focusing on climate and sustainability, mental health and wellbeing, as well as trauma and grief.

Learn with Start up Loans digital icon in partnership with the Open University

Course of the month: Work and mental health

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year. It’s such an important topic and this course looks at some of the ways in which employment affects mental health and what can be done to support people in finding and keeping work.

Here’s a sample selection from the catalogue of Open University courses
(opens in a new tab):

Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

Using case studies, this course will take you through the decisions you will need to make when building a business.

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Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting

Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting

Learn about the essential numerical skills that are required for accounting and bookkeeping.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Entrepreneurial impressions – reflection

Marketing in the 21st century

This course offers a managerial perspective on how to deliver more effective marketing in an organisation.

Take course

Female scientist looks at a tablet while sitting in the middle of open countryside

Introducing environmental decision-making

This course considers decisions in their broader contexts and advocates a systems approach to environmental decision-making.

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Marketing team. Group of young modern people in smart casual wear discussing something while working in the creative office

Effective communication in the workplace

This course aims to increase your understanding of communication skills and how other people perceive your communication.

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Entrepreneurial behaviour

Work and mental

This course looks at some of the ways in which employment affects mental health and what can be done to support people in finding and keeping work.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Young business workers brainstorming using multi-coloured post-it notes stuck to a large sheet laid on a desk in a modern co-working space

What is strategy?

This course defines strategy and strategy-related terms and examines Mintzberg’s five Ps framework.

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Pensive African American young woman pointing to laptop and explaining task to white, male graphic designer during meeting in coffee shop

Commercial awareness

This course encourages you to look across your organisation, at your place within it and the value you create.

Take course

Introduction to the context of accounting

Introduction to the context
of accounting

This free introductory course will help you understand the very basics of accounting.

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Making decisions

Improving your own learning and performance

Learn to recognise, use and adapt your skills confidently and effectively in different situations and contexts.

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Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

Climate change transitions to sustainability

This course charts some of the ways in which we can become more environmentally sustainable.

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Happy african american businessman entrepreneur startup owner stand in modern office looking at camera, smiling

Making sense of ourselves

A short introduction to well-known psychological topics by asking and answering everyday questions.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

You can view our entire course collection at the Open University website:


View course catalogue (opens in a new tab)

Frequently asked questions

What is OpenLearn?

OpenLearn is a free learning platform, delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community. We’re proud to say that it reaches over 13.5m learners a year.

You will find almost 1,000 free courses, topical and interactive content, videos and online games on OpenLearn.

What is the minimum age for using OpenLearn?
There is no minimum age for general use of the site, including access to free courses, articles and other content.  However, in order to create an account you must be aged 13 years or over.  This is due to Data Protection law which requires parental consent for those under 13, which we are unable to record and process.
What are free OpenLearn courses?

There are nearly 1000 courses on OpenLearn, all of which are currently free to study.

OpenLearn courses cover a wide range of subjects taught across the OU curriculum. Many are based on Open University course materials while others are written specifically for OpenLearn.

All courses enable you to earn a Statement of participation and some also allow you to earn a free digital badge. You can use your badge or statement of participation to share your achievement with others although they do not carry any formal credit towards a qualification.

Does OpenLearn share the information it receives?
OpenLearn do not release this information to third parties. If you prefer not to share anonymous information on your use of the site, you can disable cookies from your browser and delete all cookies currently stored on your computer. You do not need to have cookies turned on to use or navigate through many parts of the OpenLearn website.
What information does OpenLearn collect from visitors to their website?
OpenLearn log general activity on the site such as the time each visitor spends on the site and whether they have also used some other sites; by tracking the use of content for learning; and by asking visitors whether they are willing to be involved in research. You can read about how OpenLearn handle your personal data in their Privacy Statement(opens in a new tab).
Who are Start Up Loans?

Start Up Loans was established in September 2012, with a mission to help new and early stage UK businesses access affordable finance and mentoring support to start and grow. We’re a subsidiary of the British Business Bank and deliver the Government’s Start Up Loans programme providing finance and support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance.

For more information, visit Start Up Loans Frequently Asked Questions.