Howard Schultz funding online learning program for small businesses using CreativeLive platform

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. (GeekWire File Photo)

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is launching a free online learning program designed to help small businesses gain the necessary skills to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Called BackTo.Biz, the program was created alongside CreativeLive, the Seattle-based makers of online learning resources.

Schultz is funding the effort with his Emes Project, an initiative created with his wife, Sheri, to incubate and support innovation and provide greater opportunity and access to more people.

BackTo.Biz will feature more than 400 video lessons, articles and tools from a variety of entrepreneurs and is designed to help small business owners expand their knowledge and skills on topics such as: hiring, e-commerce, brand building, pivoting business models, managing stress and more.

“America’s future rests on our entrepreneurial fire,” Schultz said in a letter to supporters. “But in recent years, the spark within many entrepreneurs has struggled to find the oxygen to burn bright. The causes are many: the need for learning and community, the lack of capital and social networks, the systemic failures that lead many to not even try. That’s why I believe this COVID-recovery platform is critical.”

Schultz has teamed with a number of business leaders and nonprofits to raise awareness of the program, including Starbucks, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce, Chase and more.

Founded in 2010 by professional photographer Chase Jarvis, CreativeLive focuses on creative-related online classes but also hosts video related to leadership, business, and self-improvement. The company offers more than 2,000 classes and has reached 10 million students.

Tech Chase jarvis Creativelive Howard schultz Small business Starbucks