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Facebook has vowed to upskill more than 10,000 women in 2017 by providing events and online courses.
In partnership with members network Enterprise Nation, Facebook has created free online and offline training resources, designed to give women online digital skills.
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Mobile tools will also be provided to assist women in developing and growing their own businesses.
The partnership is part of Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness initiative, launched in 2016, which aims to tackle the gender gap in the UK’s small business sector. Research has found that of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses, only a fifth were started by women.
Over 40% of women said practical support such as digital skills training would help them to start a business.
Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) at Facebook, claimed small businesses are very important to the Facebook ecosystem, with more than 300 million people from across Europe using the social platform to connect with small businesses.
YouGov research conducted for Facebook found that the number of women in the UK who would consider starting a business had increased over the past year.
Mendelsohn said Facebook aims to “inspire and encourage” more women to start businesses in the future.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Read more about women in technology
- The Mortimer Spinks and Computer Weekly Women in Technology Survey 2016 collected data between 10 April and 28 May 2016, and represents the views of more than 4,000 technology professionals.
- The proportion of women choosing to work in the IT profession is set to increase over the next four years as businesses adopt digital technology, according to a study by the CEB.
By filling this gap and encouraging more women to start and grow their own businesses, a further £45m could be contributed to the UK economy by the end of 2017.
But 71% of women in the UK said they were very unlikely to set up a business, and 20% said a lack of confidence was stopping them from doing so – something that could be contributed to by imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is a term often associated with women in the technology industry, and describes a lack of confidence caused by a person’s inability to accept their achievements.
As well as a lack of business founders who are female, there is also a lack of women in senior management positions in large companies, with only 23% of tech companies claiming to have gender-diverse teams at management level. But the balance is slowly shifting, and the number of female technology bosses increased by 7% in 2016.