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MyOwnBusiness Institute

MOBI Impact Survey Results 2023

Graphic showing results of MOBI Impact Survey

Graphic showing results of MOBI Impact Survey

MOBI Shares Results of Annual Impact Survey

Annual survey of MOBI Certificate and badge holders reveals intent to start businesses within the year and other entrepreneurship insights.
Annual Survey of MOBI Certificate and Badge Holders Reveals Intent to Start Businesses within the Year and Other Entrepreneurship Insights

Each year the My Own Business Institute (MOBI) in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University surveys recipients who have earned a Certificate of Completion or digital badge from one of its free online entrepreneurship courses. The annual survey helps MOBI gather important information about entrepreneurship trends, preferences, and outcomes among its students and alumni, as well as feedback on MOBI’s curriculum and Certificates. The 2023 Impact Survey revealed rapid entrepreneurship as a prevailing trend, a greater proportion of solopreneurs and microentrepreneurs than larger businesses, diverse geographic representation, and a variety of ways respondents are using their Santa Clara University and MOBI Certificates of Completion.

Survey Trends and Results

This year’s responses indicated that nearly 60% of Certificate and badge holders already have a business, and another 36% plan to start a business in the future. Approximately 70% of these aspiring entrepreneurs are planning to start their business within the next year.

“We have consistently seen intent to launch a business around 40% among those who complete our courses, and it’s exciting to see entrepreneurship holding steady for our students and alumni once again. It’s also inspiring to see the majority of this group is eager to start their business within the year,” said Drew Starbird, Ph.D., MOBI Executive Director and Leavey School of Business Professor of Information Systems and Analytics.

Interestingly, the businesses already established lean toward business and professional services (21%), retail and online sales (13%), handcrafts and arts (8%), and personal services 8%). However, businesses planned for the future again show business and professional services as the most popular at 20%, yet restaurants, food service, and hospitality come in second place at 17%, with retail and online sales remaining fairly steady at 12%.

Nearly 90% of all respondents agreed or strongly agreed that MOBI increases the chance that a new business will be successful. 

Photo of MOBI student

Kamohelo Mokoena from Cape Town, South Africa (pictured right) recently completed the Business Expansion course and commented, "The Business Expansion course was an invaluable experience that will significantly contribute to my professional growth. The course has enhanced my theoretical knowledge and also equipped me with practical insights and skills. This course has played a pivotal role in preparing me for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in my career." 

Accessibility for Very Small Businesses

The survey also revealed that approximately 90% of established businesses have five employees or fewer, with a near equal split between solopreneurs (47%) and businesses with two to five employees (43%). Just over 11% of businesses have more than five employees. 

Several trends could account for this disparity between solopreneurs and microentrepreneurs versus small business entrepreneurs. Factors fueling growth in solopreneurship and microentrepreneurship could include the continued rise of the gig economy, the increasing ease of starting a business with limited resources, the proliferation of online marketplaces and ecommerce business opportunities (including selling on social media platforms), and an overall shift in employment patterns enabling hybrid, remote, and alternative work arrangements.

“One of MOBI’s strategic priorities is accessibility,” continued Starbird. “We believe the significant representation of solopreneurs and microentrepreneurs among our students illustrates our ability to deliver our free online business courses to those who need and want it most, without any assumptions about education level, socioeconomic status, or business background, and help those individuals succeed in taking the first steps to start a business and pursuing their dreams.”

MOBI Around the World

MOBI is the world’s leading provider of free online education for entrepreneurs, with students and alumni representing all 249 ISO recognized countries and territories. Just over half of the respondents are North American (including Mexico). Fourteen percent of the respondents are in Africa, and about 12% in India. About 11% of the respondents are in primarily Spanish-speaking regions including Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Certificate Benefits

In 2023, MOBI added a question about how the respondents use their MOBI Certificate or digital badge. The most common responses were “to inspire other entrepreneurs” (39%), “to verify continuing education” (37%), and “to apply for jobs” (35%). Other popular answers included “to apply for educational opportunities” (25%) and “to apply for business financing” (20%).

About the Survey

The annual MOBI Impact Survey was conducted in the fall of 2023. MOBI distributed the survey by email to nearly 11,000 Certificate and badge holders who completed MOBI courses between 2015 and 2023. 

To learn more about MOBI’s free online entrepreneurship courses, offered in English and Spanish, visit or

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