It's always best to get tailored advice from hands-on mentors, but in your "free time" it also pays to get inspired by content around the world that reveals insights from other entrepreneurs. It also helps, when the going gets tough, to remember that there's a global community of people with similar experiences, and resources available online to boost your knowledge. Here are 10 resources that will enhance your skill set and allow you to stand on the shoulders of entrepreneurial giants.
1. Khan Academy
If you don't know about Khan Academy yet, get acquainted. The comprehensive site, created in 2006 by Bangladeshi American educator Salman Khan, offers over 3,200 video tutorials on everything from Algebra to Valuation and Investing, Venture Capital and Capital Markets, and several Microeconomics courses to get entrepreneurs set up with the basics about understanding markets and finance.
Dubai-based SME consultancy Potential, founded by Lebanese entrepreneur Shadi Banna, hosts a large trove of presentation videos in English, Arabic, French, and Turkish on very specific topics in finance, marketing, legal issues, and sales, including presentation on business plans, innovation, getting investment, growth strategies, intellectual property, building a team, and project management, among others. For those looking for Arabic presentation tutorials tailored for SMEs, this may be the best resource on the web.
For those looking for in-depth lessons, Stanford University offers hour-long interviews with leading entrepreneurs on its E-Corner website. The content is also available on iTunes via its Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast- with video and without, or on the Stanford E-Corner iPhone application. The most recent three videos are a discussion on finding your way, by Drew Houston of Dropbox, Secrets at Apple's Core, by author Adam Lashinsky, and A Playlist for Entrepreneurs by the creators of Spotify.
Another good resource for tech entrepreneurs is Stanford's Technology Entrepreneurship podcast series, which run closer to 15-20 minutes, featuring specific discussions of business models, technology life cycles, sales and marketing, and venture capital investment.
4. Nasiji (former Cofounder TV)
Launched by Rony Nashar of Dubai-based accelerator SeedStartup this February, Nasiji offers a curated list of videos from around the web that offer advice to entrepreneurs. In contrast to some of the more U.S.-focused resources, Nasiji includes more international content, like a recent International Entrepreneurship Panel featuring entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Vietnam, Chile, Columbia, and Germany. Some (including the last one) are aggregated from the Founder Institute, some from the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, others are documentaries, but Nashar has done the legwork for entrepreneurs, making it easy to consume the best of the genre without sifting through the troves of material online.
Since he launched the platform as a side project, Nashar says that he's seen a lot of traffic from around the globe, with 28% of viewers coming from the U.S., 32% from Asia, mostly China, 26% from Europe, 7% from South America, 3% Australia & New Zealand, and 3% from Africa when we last spoke. Yet he confesses that he would love to see more consumption in the Middle East.
5. HBR Ideacast
For those looking for a quick tutorial, Harvard Business Review offers its weekly audio podcast series, HBR IdeaCast, both on its website and on iTunes. Browse interviews with experts and industry leaders, on topics ranging from group decision making to leadership (with Christiane Amanpour) or to growth strategies. The podcasts range from 10-20 minutes, and you can alternatively browse transcripts on the website.
At MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), you can download and view free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT courses, essentially getting an MIT education, anywhere. For entepreneurs, those in the Sloan School of Management and even some Microeconomics might be useful.
7. Cisco eTube
Like the Stanford E-Corner, Cisco eTube is a large repository of video interviews with startup founders and global business leaders. It boasts 557 videos tagged "entrepreneurship," with 210 simply about having the right mindset. 26 videos also focus on web 2.0, and 4 on a topic as specific as green computing. If you have time to shift through the videos, the site could be a useful, resource for an international perspective.
Again, when it comes to tech entrepreneurship, TechCrunch is a good place to go to see various sides of the business, with product reviews in "Fly or Die," investment advice in "Ask a VC," entrepreneur profiles in "In the Studio" and its "Founder Series," startup work environments in "TC Cribs", and other niche series along with breaking news and events.
The TechStars TV Show, which featured a startup reality show on Bloomberg TV, isn't an educational resource in the direct sense. But seeing what other startup founders go through in high pressure situations, as they try to pitch their companies, incorporate mentors' advice, and battle to reach their targets before the end of the show, might inspire you.
10. Wamda TV
This may seem shameless, but we can't leave ourselves off of this list. Just remember you can always head to our Wamda TV channel to check out our latest profiles of entrepreneurs, event coverage, and Entrepreneur of the Week series. Almost all of our content is in both English and Arabic.
Bonus: Country-specific sites
A few sites in the region focus on showcasing entrepreneurs in a specific country:
Jo'preneurs offers great profiles of major Jordanian entrepreneurs, drilling into the critical issues in short segments in Arabic.
The Egypreneur YouTube channel features interviews by founder Abdelrahman Magdy with thought leaders and startups in Egypt, including event coverage, although now that Egypreneur has shifted into becoming a social network, video content has slowed.
Bahraini Views offers crisp interviews in Arabic showcasing Bahraini entrepreneurs and business leaders giving their advice in Arabic with English subtitles.
Cisco eTube offers several videos of Lebanese entrepreneurs for some reason, more than it offers from any other country in the region.
If you know of any other country-specific video sites or any others that inspire you, let us know in the comments.