Digital Business Academy

Free online courses to help entrepreneurs start, grow or join a digital business. 

The Digital Business Academy (DBA) is an initiative promoted by TechCity UK which aims to improve the entrepreneurial skills of the general population. It offers a free online digital business course covering key skills needed to start a business such as product development, brand building and business finance. Lessons include accessible videos with practical advice from experts and entrepreneurs as well as tools like self-assessment tests. To incentivise people to complete the course, the DBA offers rewards, such as startup loans, free coworking space, paid internships and free mentoring. Offering free or highly subsidised online learning courses potentially means reaching a wider range of students, while also keeping the costs relatively low.


TechCity UK (now Tech Nation)


Almost 20% of graduates report that they are starting digital companies after finishing at least one skill.

Over 60% of the Academy's alumni go on to start, join or grow a digital business.


About entreprise education:

Schools, colleges and universities are sometimes criticised as being too theory-oriented and lacking connection with the ‘real world’. Indeed, the rise of the accelerator movement can be seen, in part, as due to a lack of practical entrepreneurship training. Fortunately, this has changed rapidly in recent years, with many schools and colleges offering students the courses and tools needed to start their own business.

From a policy point of view, the focus is typically on persuading educational institutions to embed enterprise education within the curriculum (rather than offering as an ‘add-on’); building multiple initiatives and types of support (such as physical space, IP advice, mentorship, business plan competitions, hackathons, pitching days, student enterprise societies, connections to VCs, in-house funds, networking sessions, and so on); and nurturing an ecosystem around the institution itself (which may involve alumni, local businesses, and so on).

Read more about this type of policy instrument in Nesta's Idea Bank for policymakers.