MOBI Tracks Dramatic Growth in Use of Free Online Spanish Entrepreneurship Courses and Content
In 2019 Santa Clara University’s My Own Business Institute (MOBI) in the Leavey School of Business launched the University’s first full Spanish website. MOBI is a global provider of accessible, understandable, and actionable free online entrepreneurship education, and the introduction of the Spanish website further strengthened the organization’s commitment to inclusivity. In the short time since the Spanish website launch, with translation and site construction supported by MOBI’s talented Santa Clara University (SCU) student interns, MOBI has measured tremendous growth in engagement with Spanish language learners in the U.S. and around the world.
During the past year, October 1, 2022 to October 1, 2023, MOBI’s Spanish website had over 158,000 pageviews, representing approximately 26 percent of all pageviews for MOBI’s English and Spanish websites, up from approximately 18 percent in 2021. This reflects not only a significant interest from Spanish-speaking entrepreneurship learners but also perhaps indicates a greater trend toward growth in online learning among Spanish-speaking populations around the world.
“We are very proud of the dramatic growth in students using our Spanish-language website and courses to learn about entrepreneurship,” said Drew Starbird, Ph.D., MOBI Executive Director and Leavey School of Business Professor of Information Systems and Analytics. “Accessibility is one of MOBI’s strategic priorities, and we are inspired to see this growth in the U.S. and in different Spanish-speaking regions around the world. ”
Trends in Spanish-Speaking Online Entrepreneurship Learners
Since the introduction of its Spanish website, there has been steady growth in the number of learners accessing MOBI from Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico (up 630 percent), Colombia (up 570 percent), Peru (up 1,049 percent), Ecuador (up 968 percent), and Guatemala (up 559 percent).
The number of users in the U.S. accessing MOBI’s Spanish website and Spanish courses also grew dramatically, increasing by 1,725 percent from 2019 to 2023.
A portion of users who visit MOBI’s website also enroll in MOBI's free online courses. Students who satisfy the course requirements earn a Certificate of Completion and/or digital badge from MOBI and Santa Clara University.
Since 2019 MOBI has experienced significant growth in the enrollment of its Spanish-language entrepreneurship courses as well as an increased number of Certificates of Completion and/or digital badges for these courses. From 2019 to 2023 there has been an 813 percent increase in the number of enrollments for MOBI’s Spanish courses and a 478 percent increase in course completions, with students either earning a Certificate of Completion or digital badge depending on the course.
These trends have been noted as opportunities for further study and engagement in order to provide compelling and relevant curriculum through MOBI’s free online entrepreneurship programs.
In 2021 Starbird led a study examining curriculum preferences of online entrepreneurship learners based upon language and location.
The findings were summarized in a paper entitled, “The Impact of Language and Learning on the Curriculum Preferences of Online Entrepreneurship Students: An Application of Google Analytics,” which appeared in the January 2022 issue of Education Sciences, an international peer-reviewed open access journal published by MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute). Visit this link to read the full paper. There is also a MOBI blog discussing the study and paper, which can be read here.
The paper indicates both the importance and opportunity in studying the impact of language on learning, “We find statistically significant differences in the interests and engagement of learners to Spanish content as opposed to our English content. Similarly, we find that location has a statistically significant impact on the curriculum interests and engagement of learners. Using this information, we can design curriculum that is more closely aligned with the interests of our learners and allocate resources to improve pedagogy.”
Collaboration with Partners Increases Spanish Accessibility
MOBI has over 80 partners around the world that offer MOBI’s curriculum to their communities, many through customized, co-branded courses. These partners include educational institutions, economic development organizations, vocational training programs, employment assistance programs, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and more.
Several partners use MOBI’s Spanish language courses to serve their communities. The proliferation of these courses is one of the reasons for the increase in Spanish-language course registration and completion.
The Latino Business Foundation Silicon Valley, a MOBI partner since early 2021, provides programming to local community members in Silicon Valley as well as aspiring entrepreneurs around the country and in Mexico. “We have seen tremendous interest and growth in our entrepreneurship education programs,” said Jesus Flores, President and CEO of the Latino Business Foundation Silicon Valley. “The Spanish courses combined with the accessibility of MOBI’s curriculum remove barriers to learning and give our participants confidence that they can be successful in these programs.”
Another MOBI partner, the Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF), is a community development financial institution (CDFI) serving Connecticut. The CEDF has offered MOBI’s curriculum in a customized course for many years, and they plan to add a Spanish course this year. Frederick Welk, Director of Business Education and Communications at CEDF comments, “We see an opportunity in our community to provide an accessible education component to our Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs to give them a solid foundation for their new business ventures.”
Teamwork Propels Progress at MOBI
The My Own Business Institute relies heavily upon its talented staff of Santa Clara University student interns to carry out its mission. MOBI’s original Spanish curriculum and the subsequent Spanish website make bilingual proficiency a key skill sought when hiring students from across campus. MOBI’s student interns represent many disciplines including Psychology, Child Studies, Engineering, Computer Science, Communications, Business/Marketing, Public Health Sciences, Spanish, and more. Additionally, many MOBI student interns are also SCU LEAD Scholars, first generation college students who are admitted into a comprehensive four-year program focused on Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development. The LEAD Scholars Program recently celebrated its 20th anniversary at the University, serving over 450 first-generation college students each year.
The MOBI student intern team translated the entire English website and constructed the Spanish website. While the popular Starting a Business curriculum had existed in Spanish previously, the new Spanish website provided a comprehensive mirror to the English site with the same user experience for both.
The Spanish website project is just one example of the strong collaboration that drives projects at MOBI. Student interns also support MOBI through social media marketing, graphic design, data analysis, website management, customer service, and much more.
Jason Leon ’24, is a Santa Clara University Marketing major in the Leavey School of Business and a LEAD Scholar who worked with MOBI from his freshman year through his junior year. “MOBI has allowed me to gain skills that complement my coursework and support my professional aspirations in marketing,” Leon shares. “It has been inspiring to see and be a part of MOBI’s growth and the growth of our global audiences.”
Bringing Accessible Entrepreneurship Education to Diverse Global Populations
As stated in 2019 when the University’s first Spanish website was introduced, MOBI pursues an ambitious goal to bring free online entrepreneurship education to people around the world, supporting the hopes and dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, education levels, business experience, and technology access and familiarity. Since then MOBI has added partners in Cambodia, India, Uganda, Canada, Ohio, New York, South Carolina, West Virginia, California, Indiana, and more. Additionally, MOBI students and alumni now represent all 249 countries and territories recognized by the ISO.
The Spanish website is just one of the ways MOBI is extending its reach to aspiring entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds locally and around the world. In the coming months MOBI plans to unveil audio and video versions of its curriculum, again enhancing and strengthening our commitment to accessibility and fueling confidence and dreams through free entrepreneurial education.
About the My Own Business Institute
The My Own Business Institute at Santa Clara University ’s Leavey School of Business is the world’s leading provider of free online entrepreneurship education. MOBI students and alumni represent all 249 countries and territories recognized by the International Standardization Organization (ISO). MOBI partners with over 80 organizations and institutions around the world to bring free online entrepreneurship education to those who need and want it most. The MOBI curriculum and website are based on the work of Phil Holland , a successful entrepreneur and author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide. MOBI was generously gifted to Santa Clara University in 2014 by Phil and his wife Peggy, an accomplished school teacher and administrator, along with an endowment, valued at $22 million at the time of transfer, 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.