The partnership will deliver training to over 10,000 women across the UK with a dedicated programme of nationwide events and online courses – with potential to unlock £45 million for the UK economy by the end of 2017.
Women taking part will have access to new online and offline training resources – created by Facebook in collaboration with Enterprise Nation – to provide them with the digital skills online and mobile tools they need to help them grow their businesses. With 41 per cent saying practical support such as digital skills training would help them when starting a business, the online Blueprint training programme will give women access to a wealth of free resources that they can use whenever is convenient and digest at their own pace.
The partnership marks the latest in Facebook’s ongoing commitment to support UK women business owners, as part of its #SheMeansBusiness initiative. Launched in May 2016, #SheMeansBusiness aims to give more women across the UK the tools, support and practical advice they need to grow their businesses.
With data in 2016 revealing a significant gender gap when it comes to people starting businesses – and just one fifth of Britain’s 5.4 million small businesses started by women, 14 per cent, of UK women now say they would be likely to set up a business at some point in the future compared with just one in 10 last year.
But a significant gap remains, with nearly three quarters of UK women still saying they are unlikely to set up a business and a quarter citing confidence as the barrier.
Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA at Facebook, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and an important part of the Facebook community – 300 million people on Facebook from all across Europe and the world are now connected to small businesses right here in Britain. So we’re excited to join forces with Enterprise Nation and continue our commitment to inspire and encourage more women business owners to realise their potential as part of our #SheMeansBusiness initiative.
“It’s encouraging to see a shift in the right direction when it comes to women aspiring to start up their own businesses. But there’s still a huge amount of work to do. We believe there is real opportunity here in the UK, whether through entrepreneurship education or by providing incentives, training and support for those who want to set up a business, to inspire more women to turn their great business ideas into reality. So we’re calling once more on all the brilliant friends, amazing mums, determined wives, and great grandmothers with an idea to realise their potential – and we hope this latest partnership will give more women the opportunity to do just that.”
Emma Jones, MBE, founder of small business support group Enterprise Nation, said: “We are seeing more women than ever before build and grow brilliant businesses across all business sectors.
“A recent survey we conducted found that female founders remain optimistic about what the future holds, despite the Brexit negativity to which they are exposed. The small business community is unlike any other. Firms at this stage can often pivot and adapt more quickly, as well as chase opportunity.
“Our experience shows that firms that take on board advice grow more successful and sustainable businesses. We’re looking forward to working with the thousands of female founders out there with Facebook to help them grow thriving and satisfying businesses for the long term, while making an important contribution to the British economy.”