The Digital Business Academy has gone bitesize

Heika Fu, November 23, 2017 4 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech City UK website.

Bringing digital entrepreneurship skills to a device near you

The Digital Business Academy online learning platform now makes it even easier to get straightforward simple access to digital skills, through a modular approach.

Through the Digital Business Academy, we have already engaged over 25,000 people with more than 14,000 in training. By relaunching our popular courses in a modular format, the new look DBA will be even more useful and relevant if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, looking to start digital businesses, change career or if you’re a company owner looking to improve the way your business operates, and upskill your team.

  • 56 bite-sized online courses aimed at supporting the next generation of digital learners
  • Democratising learning by making startup skills more accessible
  • Courses delivered by Cambridge University Judge Business School, University College London, Founder Centric and Valuable Content
  • Encouraging life-long learning, with incentives and rewards like free desk space and business mentoring

Hear what Unruly CEO Sarah Wood has to say about it

Learn when it suits you

Our philosophy is that learners should be able to access knowledge where they like, learn what they need and return when they want. You can learn tech skills in a focused way, in the time you have available. In this way DBA courses are ideal if you find the cost or time-commitment of more traditional forms of business education, like an executive MBA, too expensive or time-consuming.

Digital Business Academy courses are tailored to appeal to adult, professional learners who are self-motivated. They are particularly suited for anyone who aspires to start a digital business but needs to acquire soft skills from writing a digital business plan to learning about digital marketing, quickly, cheaply and independently. 

Based on user feedback, we have redesigned the courses so that learners can be more focused, and target skills that are highly relevant to their curiosity and business needs. DBA courses are now available in short, accessible courses that you can complete to acquire a new skill in just 15 minutes.

Learn for free

All courses are free and are organised around 11 key digital skills. Courses are mobile friendly, allowing you to choose the place and time that you learn, whether that is on your commute home or in the office. You can also get started without having to register.

Our course content is delivered by expert educators from University College London, Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, startup training provider Founder Centric and digital marketing company Valuable Content. All courses are full of practical tips that can be immediately applied in the workplace or more widely. In another new incentive, we’ve added reward points that can be saved up and redeemed on rewards including free desk space, internship fast-track, funding opportunities, exclusive discounts and mentoring sessions.

Proven success

In the three years that we’ve been running the Digital Business Academy, we’ve achieved a remarkable degree of success:

  • Over 60% of people who learn through the DBA start, join or grow a digital business.
  • One in five alumni go on to start a digital business
  • 18% said they would not have been able to do this without the DBA
  • Two in five of those completing a skill go on to be hired, promoted or grow their business
  • More than four in five (87%) of academy users say they improved their understanding of one or more aspects of digital business.*

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, said:

Tech City UK’s mission is to build a pipeline of high-growth tech businesses by nurturing talent, publishing insightful research, and championing the UK tech sector nationally and internationally. The Digital Business Academy is at the core of our strategy to build the pipeline of homegrown digital talent. We developed it to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn the skills they need to turn their dreams into real products and real companies and the fact that one in five of our alumni goes on to start a digital business shows that it is making a difference.”

The Digital Business Academy’s relaunch takes place against a backdrop of increasing skill shortages across the tech industry. More than 50% of tech companies in the UK report talent supply as their number one growth challenge. There is also a need to bring digital skills to non-digital businesses which need to adapt, if they are not to be left behind.

Heika Fu, Head of Products at Tech City UK, said:

“We want to bring the opportunity to learn or improve digital skills to as many people in the UK as possible. Whatever background or work experience you have, you should be able to find something at the Digital Business Academy that will improve your skills, inspire you or help you to reach your career goals.”

“We think online courses should look like Netflix and not force learners down pre-defined paths set out by an instructor. While you can binge on a specific skill, just like you can on a TV series, you can also jump around to related courses or choose completely disparate things quickly and easily.”

Sarah Wood, co-chief executive of Unruly Media, the advertising tech business and a member of Tech City UK’s Entrepreneur Advisory Panel, said:

“Digital skills are critical for all businesses today, so it’s more important than ever to be able to navigate this world. The DBA is a great free online resource for employees and entrepreneurs to gain the practical skills they need to stay ahead.”

What students say about Tech City UK’s DBA:

“I found the DBA was really helpful. After I took the Cambridge course on marketing I actually started my own business and got into grad school at USC. Thanks!”- Spencer C, Founder

“Tremendous value in these courses. I enrolled on the DBA to help bolster my career at Apple, improving my knowledge in app development and workflow methodologies.” – Apple employee

“The DBA is one of the best classes ever. It is like a mini-MBA that is structured for entrepreneurs. I really learned a lot and I still use it as reference and go back to it whenever I need it,” – Saleh A, Investor


*Independent consultant SQW interviewed DBA learners in November 2016

Digital Business Academy, insights, skills