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MyOwnBusiness Institute

Our Story

We are the world's leading provider of FREE online education for entrepreneurs.




The mission at My Own Business Institute (MOBI) is to start businesses that create jobs by providing training and resources to entrepreneurs around the world.  MOBI’s popular online courses teach new entrepreneurs how to start a business and experienced entrepreneurs how to grow a business.  Through video, audio, and text, our online students learn how to pick a business, how to finance it, how to build clientele, and how to create a successful team.  MOBI students come from all over the world and represent every kind of business imaginable.    


The MOBI curriculum and website are based on the work of Phil Holland, a successful entrepreneur and author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide. Since it was first brought online in 2000, people from all over the world have accessed MOBI’s content and thousands have pursued course certificates. MOBI students and alumni represent 249 countries and territories recognized by the ISO.

A Transformational Gift for Entrepreneurial Education at SCU

The My Own Business Institute (MOBI) was created in October 2014 at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. MOBI was generously gifted to the University by Phil and Peggy Holland along with a $17.5 million endowment to ensure that the organization and its accompanying websites would flourish into the future and continue to support the vital social and economic contributions of small businesses worldwide.

The Hollands set out to nurture entrepreneurship and help individuals start and build their own businesses following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. They believed that the growth of small businesses would support the return of a vibrant, healthy community. Initially, Mr. Holland posted flyers throughout South Central Los Angeles announcing a "Free Business Course" he would teach at the Compton Job Training Center. 

Phil Holland, a successful entrepreneur, and Peggy Holland, an accomplished school administrator, principal, and teacher, developed the original course to teach people how to start their own businesses. The course curriculum was based on two books written by Mr. Holland (How to Start a Business by Ten Speed Press in 1992 and The Entrepreneur's Guide by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1984). Over time, the course was expanded to include expert advice from a diverse array of successful business people.  

About the importance of taking the course prior to launching a business, Mr. Holland said, "Starting a business requires a clear understanding of all the important business disciplines, including picking the right business, creating a business plan, understanding accounting and cash flow, pursuing internet marketing, and developing numerous other skills. If there is ever a time in your life when you need to stop and prepare, it is before going into business for yourself."  

The course was also offered in Spanish thanks to the work of MOBI graduate Ezequiel Padilla, the owner of Jugos Tropicales, a Mexican restaurant. Mr. Padilla was in the very first MOBI class conducted in Compton in 1994. When the second class started, he returned to take the course with his wife and two children. He then convinced the Latino Chamber of Commerce to translate the course into Spanish. When the Los Angeles Spanish-language newspaper, La Opinion, ran an article entitled "Free Lessons in Starting a Business," students from across Los Angeles were drawn to the class taught by Mr. Padilla and the Latino Chamber.  

In 2000, MOBI was the first organization in the world to offer a free, comprehensive and graded online course on starting a business, allowing the reach of the organization to grow exponentially. This would not have been possible without the pro bono contribution of Brian Kerns of Stanton, North Dakota, and Dan Dickerson of Chino Hills, California, who created the first My Own Business website and presented the classroom course, "Starting a Business," on the internet. Over time, graded versions of the courses were produced and students could receive completion certificates after successfully passing online quizzes and examinations. For twelve years and without compensation, Brian and Dan continued to manage, expand, and refine the website free of charge. The outcome of their contributions resulted in more than 40 million visitors to the MOBI site in the first 14 years of operation.

In 2001, MOBI's first president and CEO, Claudia Peters, expanded the breadth of the organization through strategic partnerships, including one with the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation (IFC), which adopted the course for its global Small and Medium Enterprise Development Initiative. The IFC provides essential components of the MOBI program on its website, and the course is a key element of 38 IFC in-country websites around the globe on the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The World Bank/IFC translated the MOBI course into 14 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Georgian, Hindi, Indonesian, Mongolian, Portuguese and Brasilian Portuguese, Sinhalese and Sinhalese/Sri Lanka, Spanish, Tamil, and Vietnamese.  

In 2004, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn wrote, "The high-quality, interactive content from My Own Business has been instrumental to the success of the SME Toolkit in each of our target markets across five continents….MOBI has made substantive contributions to the entrepreneurship training sector in the U.S, and we are pleased to be able to extend this contribution to emerging markets…"

From 2006-2012, Cisco Systems, Inc. licensed the MOBI course as a primary component of the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute, teaching the course to more than 15,000 people in 49 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe.  

In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration featured the MOBI course on its website and the U.S. State Department held business symposiums featuring the MOBI course and Mr. Holland as a speaker in cities across South Africa and India.  

In 2010, Dan Nathanson, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, initiated a graduate study of MOBI's operation. Among other aspects of MOBI's impact, the study found a strong correlation between MOBI course completion and the success of the businesses MOBI users were starting. This also proved that MOBI must continue to emphasize the importance of quantifying successful outcomes through scientific, methodical evaluation. 

In 2013, MOBI provided positive testimony to the U.S. Congress' House of Representatives Small Business Committee. MOBI also added extensive video programs to the website to expand learning opportunities and to increase its ability to have live, MOOC-style (Massive Open Online Courses) learning opportunities. By 2014, the course was welcoming more than 500,000 visitors per month to the website.  

In 2013, the Hollands and the MOBI Board of Trustees asked Claudia Peters to return as president and CEO to determine the search and evaluation process for the succession of MOBI and to complete a merger with the best possible organization to continue MOBI's courses accessible and free in perpetuity. A year-long, thorough succession process culminated in the gift of MOBI and its copyrighted intellectual property to Santa Clara University along with the $17.5 million endowment provided by the Hollands. With this gift, Santa Clara University is set to expand the number of people around the globe with access to MOBI's free coursework, as well as to continually update the curriculum and to launch new MOBI programs targeted to small businesses and entrepreneurs.  

A favorite quote of Phil Holland is attributed to Albert Schweitzer, "This I do know: The only ones among you who will ever be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve others." The Hollands say that this quote is applicable to all who have contributed to the success of MOBI from its inception – from longtime members of the Board and those who built the website to contributors who expanded the organization's reach and increased its offerings.

Phil and Peggy Holland have defined their lives by giving back to their communities through their work and their philanthropy. Their philosophy was best reflected in their desire to help Los Angeles after its 1992 riots and also in their commitment to ensuring that the free courses they developed will live on at Santa Clara University to continue to help others worldwide.

MOBI founders Phil and Peggy Holland.

They have had the foresight to see that successful small businesses can help rebuild communities and they have had the heart to recognize that those doing so might better provide for their families and themselves. The Hollands are deeply grateful to the many individuals and institutions who over the years have made it possible for My Own Business, Inc. (MOBI) to continue its mission of providing free training for aspiring entrepreneurs. They are also delighted and grateful that Santa Clara University will carry forward this most important mission of providing free training for entrepreneurs everywhere.   


Phil Holland is the founder of My Own Business, Inc. (MOBI) and along with his wife, Peggy, contributed the MOBI organization and its websites and a related endowment of more than $17.5 million to the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.

It is Phil's commitment to his community that launched MOBI, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The Hollands set out to help individuals start and build their own businesses. They believed that the growth of small businesses would support the return of a vibrant, healthy community.  Shortly thereafter, they started teaching a free course at the Compton Job Training Center, "How To Start A Business." Over time, the course was expanded to include expert advice from a diverse array of successful business people. It was also offered in Spanish.

In 2000, MOBI was the first organization in the world to offer a free, comprehensive and graded online course on starting a business, allowing the reach of the organization to grow exponentially. By 2014, the course was welcoming more than 500,000 visitors per month to its website. The course became available in multiple languages around the globe via a partnership with the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. The Hollands were principal funders of the MOBI programs so as to always provide them free of charge. 

Yum Yum Signage against clear sky

Phil has always been an entrepreneur. His businesses have included building "spec" houses, the manufacture of automatic doughnut machinery, designing and building apartments, restaurant franchising, doughnut retailing, and the development and management of shopping centers. He founded Yum Yum Donut Shops in 1970 with $5,000 and guided it from a one-shop operation to become the largest chain of privately owned donut shops in the United States. Many of the lesson topics in the MOBI courses are based on his experiences in building the Yum Yum chain of stores. Following the sale of the business in 1989, Yum Yum went on to purchase the Winchell chain of donut shops. Early in his career, Phil had learned through a life-changing business failure that there are some common mistakes entrepreneurs must avoid, and he has sought to share these insights with aspiring entrepreneurs. He is the author of two popular guides for entrepreneurs: How to Start a Business Without Quitting Your Job (Ten Speed Press, 1992) and The Entrepreneur's Guide (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984, a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club). Phil holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. He has been licensed as a general contractor in California for 35 years.


Given her longstanding service and commitment to the city and children of Los Angeles, Peggy Holland shared her husband's desire to rebuild the Los Angeles community. Peggy Holland's extensive background in education, including writing lesson plans, served as a strong foundation for developing the curriculum for the first My Own Business, Inc. course. Peggy took the contents of Phil's books (How to Start a Business Without Quitting Your Job and The Entrepreneur's Guide) and converted them into a comprehensive course on the disciplines of starting a business. Peggy assisted in all aspects of launching the course at the Compton Job Training Center in South Central Los Angeles following the 1992 Los Angeles riots. "When we saw the positive impact our course made to so many people across Los Angeles, we knew we had determined our future work," said Mrs. Holland. "With Phil's dedication and determination, I knew we could make a difference."

"Phil and I enjoyed a great deal of traveling over the years, visiting all seven continents. Many trips were on My Own Business missions, including visits to Poland and Chile with the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute and lecture tours in support of small businesses in South Africa and India on behalf of the U.S. State Department," said Mrs. Holland.

Peggy was with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for more than twenty years in various positions. She began teaching at Dorris Place School in East Los Angeles and then transferred to Eagle Rock Elementary to become a master teacher for Occidental College students. She served as a supervisor or school principal for the remainder of her career. She earned her B.A. in education at Mankato State College and received her M.A. in administration and supervision from California State University Northridge. She was born and raised in the small town of Green Isle, Minnesota, which was the first Irish settlement in Minnesota dating to 1862.  


MOBI Spark

The My Own Business Institute (MOBI) brand has always been focused on supporting the vital social and economic contributions of small businesses worldwide.

To nurture entrepreneurship and help individuals start and build their own businesses, the free MOBI certificate programs at SCU prepare its learners before taking on the risks of going into business.

The new logo combines an abstract mark followed by a word mark. We choose an abstract mark because we want the logo to be internationally relevant as well as embody the intangible benefits that may result from completing our programs. 

This new logo represents what has always been true about the My Own Business Institute:

We are accessible. And we are energized to support small business entrepreneurs.

Everything we do to help businesses be successful ultimately helps their owners and their communities.


There is importance in the logo’s color. The red represents its new ties with SCU. In general, the color red is associated with being aggressive, energetic and strong – all desirable qualities for entrepreneurs.


In visual form on the printed page and on screen, the word mark emphasizes the word “own” – a motivator that drives entrepreneurs and suggests stability and endurance.


The new brand mark, internally known as “The Spark”, retains the original representation of moving forward but includes a new suggestion of upward mobility.

The design reflects the exciting path on which entrepreneurs embark and the unlimited results their ideas may ignite. It shows an arrow moving upward, suggesting growth and improvement, whether personal or financial, and like a light bulb, the spark suggests ideas, innovation, excitement and success.

The upward angle of the red arrow also represents the obstacles people need to overcome to be successful business owners. While the gray/yellow colored spark stabilizes that movement and implies balance.


The human mind tends to unify visual elements it sees to form a whole that carries more meaning. People will form patterns out of similarly shaped objects, while objects that differ from the group become a focal point.

Our subconscious minds may associate the suggested “+” sign at the brand mark’s center with positivity.

The straight lines in the brand mark impart strength, professionalism and efficiency. (Whereas round shapes evoke emotions of friendship, love and unity.)

This new brandmark expresses the positive results individuals can experience when they approach their ideas smartly and clearly assess their opportunities and challenges.