By Karen Axelton

American Express OPEN Forum has teamed with startup company Veri to offer a new online, interactive social learning platform for entrepreneurs. Called Crash Courses, the program teaches small business owners everything from the Art of Hiring to Website Conversion.

Currently, Crash Courses offers eight courses, each focusing on a different skill set but with an emphasis on online and social marketing. Classes in this area include Facebook for Your Business, Website Conversion, Location-Based Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and YouTube Marketing.

American Express OPEN’s 2011 Spring Small Business Monitor found that nearly half of business owners are using digital marketing to reach customers and prospects. However, many entrepreneurs still need help maximizing their results from online marketing.

“Our launch courses are geared towards helping entrepreneurs maximize online marketing and reach consumers where they are spending most of their time – online,” said said Stacey Gutman, director, OPEN Forum, American Express OPEN, in announcing the program.

The online courses are also designed to suit busy entrepreneurs who don’t have time to sit in a classroom.

Additional courses will teach business owners how to be better leaders (Leadership Skills for Success), how to find and hire the right employees (The Art of Hiring) and how to pitch your business to investors, partners, or customers (Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch).

Content for current and future courses is created by industry experts from OPEN Forum. To learn more, visit the OPEN Forum Crash Courses link.