About Starter U


Join users in all 50 states and see why 9 out of 10 people would recommend Starter U to a friend.


Register here

The Brian Hamilton Foundation’s Starter U: How to Start and Grow a Business is a free, self-paced online course teaching everything you need to know to start, run, and grow a business. Whether you live in Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine, work 3rd shift or 1st shift, this course is designed to give you, the entrepreneur, the flexibility to learn according to your schedule.

Our course covers business ideation, marketing, selling, customer service, how to overcome the biggest obstacle stopping you from starting your business: you. Through roughly twelve hours of instruction, entrepreneur stories, quizzes, and discussion topics, we distill everything you absolutely need to know to start your business tomorrow. At the end of the course, you will receive a certification proving you have successfully completed the course. So, what are you waiting for? Start today!

Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, email us at info@brianhamilton.org with any questions.


Award Winning App

Starter U has a dedicated mobile app so you can take your learning with you. Download what Best Company has called a life changing app.

To download for iPhone:

– Go to the App Store

– Search “Brian Hamilton Foundation”

– Download

– Login and Begin Learning

To download for Android:

– Go to the Google Play Store

– Search “Matrix LMS”

– Download

– Enter “brianhamilton” for URL

– Login and Begin Learning


What Users Say

It changed my views on entrepreneurship. I  feel for the first time ever that entrepreneurship is within my reach.  It feels like a tangible goal in a way it never did before.

Daisy M. Hillsborough, NC

I’m very grateful for the foundation putting out Starter U free of charge, it contains a lot of good information that I wish I had known 10 years ago. I realized that I wasted a lot of time overthinking the legal structure of the company.  I shutdown my mobile mechanic business back in 2015 but that same year I started a handmade knives business.

Jesús H. York, SC

I was so impressed with the online experience that I have now started doing the groundwork to start a recruiting and consulting firm for nonprofit organizations, faith based initiatives and small businesses within my community. So grateful for this opportunity along with the tools to expand my vision for entrepreneurship.

Adrian W. Norfolk, VA

I am a start-up specialist, working with new owners (many of them new businesspeople) opening new locations or purchasing existing ones. Many of them have no idea what it will take to run a business, thinking they can devote part-time effort and receive full-time compensation.  I have been sharing Starter U with all my new non-business owners and it has been well-received. I found many of the cautionary stories to be very accurate, which I liked. Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart!

Susan S. Los Angeles, CA

I recommend [Starter U] to others whenever the opportunity arises. Personally, my business is well established. However, I am always looking for financing resources so that part was extra helpful.

Rich L. Wilmington, NC

I’m an unusual case. I started and ran a business in Indiana from 1994-2003. I wish I’d taken the course before I launched. It is very interesting to take the course after dealing (not always successfully) with many of the issues raised. I’d encourage not only future entrepreneurs, but ones still in their first 1-3 years to take Starter U!

Ed T. Raleigh, NC

I would highly recommend the Starter U course to anyone, especially formerly incarcerated people, to create better opportunities for themselves through entrepreneurship. I am grateful I took the course and it has helped change my life for the better. Thank you guys so much for Starter U.

Cory H. Richmond, VA

What’s Covered?

This course represents decades of entrepreneurship experience. When asked what information is absolutely necessary to start a business tomorrow, everyone agreed on the following.

Section 1 – Getting Your Business Off The Ground

Chapter 1 – What is Required to Be An Entrepreneur

Chapter 2 – Reasons to Start A Business

Chapter 3 – Obstacles & Roadblocks/Why Businesses Fail

Chapter 4 – How to Come Up with A Business Idea

Chapter 5 – Launch Considerations & To-Do Items

Chapter 6 – How to Get Your First Customers

Section 2 – Growing Your Business

Chapter 1 – Hiring

Chapter 2 – Financing

Chapter 3 – How to know if you should expand

Chapter 4 – Legal Infrastructure

Chapter 5 – Strategic Partnerships

Chapter 6 – Money Management

Chapter 7 – How do you sift through buying things?

Chapter 8 – Getting and Using Customer Feedback

Chapter 9 – Getting and Using Employee Feedback

Section 3 – Additional Things You Need To Know

Chapter 1 – Accounting & Finance

Chapter 2 – Branding Your Business

Chapter 3 – Marketing

Chapter 4 – Sales

Chapter 5 – Customer Service & Success

Chapter 6 – Legal

Chapter 7 – Human Resources/Managing People

Closing – If You Do Nothing Else, Do This


Meet Your Instructors

Brian Hamilton

Founder, The Brian Hamilton Foundation

Co-founder, Sageworks

Brian Hamilton co-founded Sageworks, the country’s first fintech and largest provider of software to U.S. banks. He sold the company to a leading private equity firm in 2018. He is also the founder of Inmates to Entrepreneurs, a national program that helps people with criminal records start their own small businesses, and the Brian Hamilton Foundation, which provides access to entrepreneurship to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. Hamilton holds multiple patents for his work in automating financial analysis.

He is a regular guest on CNBC and Fox and is regularly quoted in and writes for all major national media publications. He is also a contributor to Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines. The first in his family to attend college, Brian holds an undergraduate degree from Sacred Heart University, where he served on the Board of Trustees, and an MBA from Duke University.

Christopher Lee

Founder, MYOB Limited

Chris co-founded MYOB Limited, a software company specializing in business accounting and payroll applications. He was the company’s executive director and lead product developer as it grew from a 5-person business in Rockaway, NJ to one of the world’s leading information technology companies with over 1,200 employees in seven countries on four continents. During that time he also served as a member of the original Apple Macintosh Software Development Team and led the development of Charles Schwab’s first online stock trading system and Dow Jones & Company’s portfolio management software. Chris was also an early investor in Sageworks, Inc. and served as an advisor and board member for many years.

Chris is a graduate of Rutgers College and the Rutgers Graduate School of Management. Today, in addition to being an advisor to a handful of technology ventures including QuadPay and Searchfunder.com, Chris is a long-time youth sports coach and a United Way certified youth mentor. He has worked for the past 15 years with underprivileged and at-risk youth. Chris lives with Judy, his wife of 40 years. They have three grown boys and serve as guardians for four additional boys.

Bobby Martin

Founder, Tilly

Bobby Martin believes that too many startup founders pivot too early, quit too early, and expect rapid takeoff. Through his experience of starting and selling First Research (a leader in sales intelligence) to Fortune 500 firm, Dun & Bradstreet, he’s learned first-hand the challenges and solutions at each stage of entrepreneurial growth. In addition to his book The Hockey Stick Principles, Bobby’s current adventure is starting Tilly, a virtual financial planning company. He is also Chairman and co-founder of Vertical IQ, a leading provider of sales research insight for banks.

Bobby is an angel investor and serves as an active board member with several innovative start-ups, including Boardroom Insiders, myLifeSite, Sageworks, Vital Plan, Zynbit, Myxx, Local Eye Site, and etailinsights. He is also in the process of starting a new company.

While he is a national speaker, he is still a hometown guy and focuses most of his investments in North Carolina where he has lived and worked. He graduated from Appalachian State University and is an avid tennis player.

Scott Ogle

Former CEO, Sageworks

Scott is an experienced business leader who has been humbled by the challenges and tests of resiliency from starting and growing businesses. Most recently, he was CEO of Sageworks where he was part of a team that grew the company from a startup to a 300-person, world-class company that was purchased by a leading private equity firm. Prior to that he had experience building and selling a startup company in Silicon Valley and spent time on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch.

Scott was raised by a father who was a NC public school math teacher and mother who was an artist. He was an Eagle Scout, attended high school at the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics, and obtained his B.A. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Most recently he has focused his attention to helping young entrepreneurs develop their businesses. His hope is to pass along to other entrepreneurs a few tips to help them miss a few of the land mines he was able to uncover through his own experiences.

Media/Partner Login

Are you from the media or represent an organization interested in offering Starter U to your participants? Contact media@brianhamilton.org to receive credentials to login and view the course.

View Our Course

Starter U

“I didn’t know what an entrepreneur was but the[n] when Mr. Hamilton came to West Wilkes Middle School it changed my perspective on business careers.”

Caleb Huffman Student West Wilkes Middle School

Being a mentor… allows me to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with the business tools that they need to be successful in our society.

Monica Russell Mentor Inmates to Entrepreneurs

We believe that entrepreneurship unlocks the door to economic opportunity in the United States.

Margaret Froneberger Chief Executive Officer Brian Hamilton Foundation

Having your own company is for everyone, not just those born into privilege.

Brian Hamilton Founder Brian Hamilton Foundation