Facebook to train 10,000 female business owners in effort to bridge UK gender gap

A new partnership will deliver programme of training that could unlock an estimated £45m for the UK economy by the end of the year

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The Independent Online

Facebook is ramping up efforts to bridge the gender gap among UK business owners.

The social media giant on Tuesday announced that it had partnered with, Enterprise Nation, a network of small businesses, to deliver training to 10,000 women business owners across the country.

A programme which the two companies are launching intends to give women access to new online and offline training resources to provide them with the digital skills and mobile tools necessary to grow their business. According to research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Facebook, the programme, which will feature events and online course, has the potential to generate around £45m for the domestic economy this year.

The partnership marks the latest step in Facebook’s ongoing commitment to support women business owners in the UK, as part of its wider #SheMeansBusiness initiative launched in May last year.

According to research from Facebook,  just 20 per cent of the country’s 5.4 million small businesses are currently started by women. According to a survey of 2,000 British women conducted by YouGov on behalf of Facebook, 71 per cent said they are unlikely to start a business and 20 per cent cited confidence as a barrier.

Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said the programme is designed to inspire more women to turn their business ideas into reality.

Ms Mendelsohn said: “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.”

Women may have to wait as long as 170 years to establish parity with men when it comes to pay and employment opportunities , according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop,” according to a statement issued by the WEF in November last year.