Female entrepreneurs in the UK are being offered digital and financial skills training through a partnership between NatWest Bank and social media giant Meta.
Through the partnership, female business owners can receive financial readiness and digital training and help to increase their business connections and networks.
The support is available through Meta’s #SheMeansBusiness programme.
Carrie Timms, director of global business marketing, EMEA at Meta, said female small business owners have fought to keep their doors open during the pandemic.
“Whether it’s help getting an ad campaign up and running, or expert advice on business finance, we hope these new offerings will help women entrepreneurs come back from the pandemic stronger than ever,” she said.
Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest Group, said: “More women than ever are starting up businesses and we must harness this potential.”
She added that a progress report in the government-commissioned Rose Review into female entrepreneurship, carried out by NatWest CEO Alison Rose, found that women are starting more businesses than ever, with 140,000 new businesses founded by women last year compared with 56,000 in 2019.
“Supporting women to build their companies is a key next step and it’s great news that NatWest and Meta have partnered to offer all female entrepreneurs tuition and networking, and a lucky 50 women business owners an even bigger boost to their companies,” said Baker.
NatWest has ring-fenced £2bn for investment in women in business, teaching 56,000 16 to 18-year-old girls entrepreneurial skills in 2021, and it is aiming for 50% of its accelerator hub spaces to go to women.
Meta launched #SheMeansBusiness six years ago as a long-term commitment to support women’s economic empowerment. It has supported about 1.5 million women around the world.
In the latest update to the Rose Review of female entrepreneurship, published in February, Rose said good progress had been made since the review was launched in 2019. “Getting more funding to female entrepreneurs and unlocking their untapped potential continues to be a priority across our industry,” she said.
“But women still don’t receive all the support they need and the pandemic risks holding back progress, so we must go further to achieve the goals of the Rose Review.”
The lack of access to funding for female tech entrepreneurs is a huge problem. According to figures from Pitchbook, in Europe, tech companies founded solely by women in 2020 received just 2.1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups.
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