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Free online resources to learn small business digital and design skills

Making time to learn new skills is an important part of being a small business owner. While we have a wide range of low cost business skills workshops on offer at the SBDC, you can also take advantage of self-paced lessons on the following platforms.

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook for Business offers free online tutorials on Facebook-owned platforms including Facebook and Instagram, which are very popular with small businesses and consumers alike. You can do the self-paced, step-by-step tutorials at any time on their website.

While the tutorials start with general introductions to using Facebook platforms, many of the lessons are about using their advertising resources correctly.

The Facebook tutorials include learning how to set up a Facebook page for your business, creating targeted Facebook ads, using Facebook stories and measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns using Ads Manager.

There are also sets of lessons, tailored to using Instagram.


The Facebook mobile studio is also worth diving into as it includes a list of resources such as apps to help you create better ads.


Digital marketing is a highly sought after learning areas for business owners seeking to make their website and other online channels as effective as possible. Google Digital Garage is their online learning portal offering a wide range of courses created by Google and other providers, such as universities. You can sort courses by difficulty and by the following categories:

  • digital marketing
  • career development
  • data and tech.

Google Digital Garage also offers free online certification in topics such as Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, which involves completing 26 tutorial modules before taking a 40 question exam. Once you pass the exam, you can download a certificate to display in your portfolio.


Canva is a drag and drop graphic design tool that allows businesses to create social media imagery, brochures, presentations and more without requiring expensive software. Canva is free, however there is also Canva Pro which offers access to an extended version of the program for a subscription.

Design school is Canva’s online learning portal, offering free tutorials in various categories including:

  • getting started
  • designing
  • social media marketing
  • graphic design basics
  • branding.

Within these categories are video tutorials on topics including personal branding and creating presentations. Some of the courses include templates that you can use within the Canva portal.


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