Getting to Know the ESB Certification

Many entrepreneurs have passion but may lack the knowledge for how to help their business thrive. Empowering students with entrepreneurial skills is crucial for the future of the economy. Tomorrow’s business leaders are in the classroom today, which means it’s crucial to give students the knowledge today. One way to prepare students to run their own businesses is using the Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification.

What is the Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification?

Entrepreneurship and Small Business is a certification from Certiport, sponsored by Intuit and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, that ensures tomorrow's leaders are prepared with the toolkit they need to get ahead in today's competitive landscape. Whether you are starting a bakery or launching the next billion-dollar startup, ESB validates a students' understanding of core business principles, including the essentials needed to launch and maintain a successful business.

What is the Master Certification in Entrepreneurship?

The Master Certification in Entrepreneurship is the next step in validating an understanding of essential business principles, expanding the scope to include design thinking. This certification is earned by completing the ESB certification as well as Intuit's Design for Delight (D4D) certification. The D4D certification focuses on three domains surrounding design thinking:

  • Deep Customer Empathy– Understanding customers, their pain points, and reasons for their actions to help innovate and discover solutions.
  • Go Broad to Go Narrow– Brainstorming broad potential solutions and then narrowing those to determine which will most likely delight the customer and solve the problem.
  • Rapid Experiments with Customers– Experimenting and testing solutions with real customers to determine if problems will be solved.

Successfully completing the Design for Delight and the Entrepreneurship in Small Business certification will result in one earning the Master Certification in Entrepreneurship.

What topics are covered in the ESB certification exam?

The ESB certification exam is 50 minutes long, covering 45 questions. The questions address the following topics:

The Entrepreneur

  • Identify the characteristics of entrepreneurs
  • Given a scenario, recognize a business opportunity
  • Identify the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur

Opportunity Recognition

  • Identify the benefits and drawbacks of different types of opportunities (e.g. start a new business, buy an existing business, and buy a franchise)
  • Given a scenario, analyze the demand for the goods or service and opportunities in an environment
  • Given a scenario, identify the customers or potential customers for a business
  • Given a scenario, recognize a value proposition

Starting a Business

  • Identify the purposes and value of a business plan
  • Identify the appropriate legal structure, benefits, and drawbacks for different legal structures for a business
  • Given a scenario, identify different types of licenses and regulations that are required
  • Identify the benefits and drawbacks of various sources of start-up funding
  • Given a scenario, identify support that is available for the business on a local, state, and federal level
  • Identify the ethical practices and social responsibilities of a business
  • Identify potential exit strategies for a business

Business Operations

  • Given a scenario, identify key positions and human capital needs (including compensation and benefits)
  • Given a scenario, determine whether work can be completed by the owner or whether employees or service providers are needed
  • Given a scenario, identify the taxes that are required
  • Given a scenario, identify intellectual property issues of trademarks, copyrights, and patents
  • Given a scenario, identify the standard operating procedures
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that lead to sustainability
  • Given a scenario, identify milestones as part of a growth strategy

Marketing and Sales

  • Given a scenario, develop a sales strategy and identify characteristics of a successful sale
  • Given a scenario, identify and analyze the costs and benefits of finding customers
  • Given a scenario, identify how to retain customers and develop a relationship with repeat customers
  • Given a scenario, determine value and methods of communication including websites, brochures, social media, and advertising

Financial Management

  • Given a scenario, interpret basic financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that influence credit ratings and the importance of a positive credit rating
  • Given a list of expenses, identify which are fixed versus variable
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that impact the price to a customer
  • Given a scenario, identify and analyze cash flow including accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and debt
  • Given a scenario, create a cash flow budget
  • Given a scenario, identify the break-even point for the business

What are the benefits of certifying?

Whether it is a beauty salon in a large metropolitan city, a taco shop in a booming resort location, or a car repair garage in the suburbs, an incredible number of small businesses can be found almost everywhere. Entrepreneurs and small businesses make up a major portion of the United States economy. In fact, there are nearly 31 million small businesses across the country.

ESB certification engages and prepares students who will pursue additional postsecondary training or those who elect to enter the small business sector immediately upon high school graduation. The entrepreneurial concepts validated by this certification ensure that these students are college and career ready.

What are the prerequisites to certifying?

Candidates for ESB certification will be expected to have key conceptual knowledge of entrepreneurial and small business principles through at least 150 hours of instruction. Please note that it is not required for students to have real-world experience as a small business manager to take and pass the exam. Successful completion of this certification will validate the skills and knowledge for those students interested in working in a middle-skill trade profession as their own boss and those with entrepreneurship and small business career aspirations.

Is there courseware available for ESB certification?

Yes, there is! Certiport has several options for curriculum that is mapped to the ESB certification. You can see a full list of the options here.

Are there practice tests available for ESB certification?

Yes. Certiport has partnered with GMetrix to create and sell practice exams that will prepare students for their ESB certification exam. You can get more details about ESB practice tests here.


Have additional questions about the ESB certification? Reach out to your Certiport Territory Manager here.