University of Nevada, Reno Extension recently launched a virtual classroom to deliver free learning resources to current and future small business owners in Nevada to provide information on fundamental business concepts. The virtual classroom, which is part of Extension’s Small Business Education Program, includes a fully stocked digital library of educational video content and is available in both English and Spanish.
The concept for the virtual classroom was developed following the popularity of Extension’s “Coping With COVID-19 Town Halls for Small Business Owners,” a series of town halls that Extension launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. At that time, dozens of small business owners reached out to Extension’s Small Business Education Program with questions about operating during the pandemic, as well as assistance programs being made available to help small businesses during the pandemic.
During that time, the program served as a resource for reliable information about the small business administration loan and grant programs, and suggestions on pivoting business operations to survive the pandemic. The town halls also provided an opportunity to ask questions and collaborate with other business owners when everyone was facing uncertainty.
“We saw a need in our small business community, and we responded to that need by providing these virtual town halls to help provide information that was needed by our business owners at that particular time,” Borden said. “Things were constantly changing, and we provided information from our own experts and brought in others who could help with the challenges of the day.”
Now, Extension’s Small Business Education Program has pivoted again to meet the needs of small business owners throughout the state.
“We want to provide education and access to business topics that strengthen their overall business,” Borden said. “This is where Extension’s Small Business Education Program, with its workshops and relationships with Nevada business programs, steps in to act as a guide.”
The virtual classroom library, which is all video-based learning, includes full-length classes, as well as shorter videos that explain particular topics relevant to small businesses. The content of each video falls into one of five categories or “pillars,” which include finance, marketing, operations, management and startup.
“We believe that education should be accessible to all small businesses at all times,” Borden said. “And, by teaching in both English and Spanish, small business owners can benefit from educational opportunities and awareness of all the business network resources at any stage of development.”
Currently, there are more than 100 videos housed within the virtual classroom library, with more planned for the future. Small business owners will find full-length videos developed from classes, as well as quick tips and how to’s that explain a singular topic, allowing users to select content that is convenient for the time that they have available.