Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification

The ESB certification is built to test and validate foundation-level concepts and knowledge in entrepreneurship and small business management. These core concepts include entrepreneurship; recognizing and evaluating opportunities; planning for, starting, and operating a business; marketing and sales; and financial management.


Objective domains (Universal & Country-Specific)

  • Identify the characteristics of entrepreneurs
  • Given a scenario including a selfassessment outcome, identify the strengths, weaknesses, and risk tolerance the selfassessment identifies and how to compensate with services
  • Given a scenario, recognize a business opportunity
  • Identify the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur
  • 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
  • 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: Equity (friends/family, angels, venture), Debt (bank, credit cards, personal loans), and Grants (government, foundation, corporate)
  • 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
  • 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 standard operating procedures (e.g., setup, conduct, internal controls, separation of duties)
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that lead to sustainability
  • Given a scenario, identify milestones as part of a growth strategy
  • Given a scenario, develop a sales strategy and identify characteristics of a successful sale
  • Given a scenario, identify and analyze the costs/benefits of finding customers/li>
  • Given a scenario, identify how to retain customers and develop a relationship with repeat customers/li>
  • Given a scenario, determine value and methods of communication including: web sites, brochures, social media, and advertising
  • 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 the 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

Download datasheet (includes exam objectives)


Exam details