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Learn with Start Up Loans

A partnership designed to help UK businesses get off the ground and stay there.
The Open University logo

Start Up Loans has partnered with The Open University to create Learn with Start Up Loans, a range of courses designed to help entrepreneurs succeed in business.

These 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.

A man and a woman working in a warehouse

Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

Now is a great opportunity to review those business ideas you’ve always dreamed about. Sometimes all we need is a bit of help to turn ideas into reality! This course uses real life examples in the form of case studies to take your through the decisions you’ll need to make when starting a business.


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.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

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

First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship

A short introduction to innovation and entrepreneurship, clarifying some key themes and terminology.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Fundamentals of accounting

Fundamentals of accounting

This free course, will introduce you to the essential concepts and skills of bookkeeping and accounting in four weeks.

Take course(opens in a new tab)


Different types of business

This course introduces different types of business, depending on industry sector, size and type of ownership.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

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

Marketing Communications in the digital age

This course uses theories and models and provides examples of how to effectively manage the process.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Two work colleagues smiling as they work

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

Working in diverse teams

This course will help you consider your experience of working in teams and the different roles you play in them.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Colleagues in a meeting room, standing at a table and looking at collateral

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.

Take course(opens in a new tab)

Warehouse scene filled with boxes

Supply chain sustainability

To survive in today’s competitive environment, organisations need to have an efficient and effective supply chain for the context in which they operate.

Take course (opens in a new tab)

Man sitting at a desk in front of a laptop holding a pen

Business Communication: writing a SWOT analysis

This course is designed to develop your writing skills for business. You will be taken step by step through the process of writing a SWOT analysis.

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

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.