NatWest and Facebook owner Meta have launched a partnership to offer financial readiness training to female business owners.
The support package is available to all women entrepreneurs as part of Meta’s #SheMeansBusiness programme, which also provides digital skills training and opportunities to expand business connections and networks.
NatWest has already ringfenced £2 billion for investment in female businesses, taught 56,000 16-18-year-old girls entrepreneurial skills in 2021 and 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. To date, the programme has supported more than 1.5 million women around the world in 33 markets.
To further support women in business, NatWest and Meta have launched a campaign which runs until May 19th which gives 50 female entrepreneurs the chance to win Meta advertising credits, 1:1 digital mentorship and support to build a creative advertising campaign, as well as NatWest coaching and peer-to-peer sessions.
Winners will be announced in June this year and judges will be looking for ways that the women go above and beyond to achieve in business.
This news of support comes as NatWest and Getty Images launch a virtual gallery of pioneering female business owners from across the UK built in the metaverse. With the creation of the Female Focus collection the project is an attempt to challenge the narrow view of women in business. It is a nationwide movement to tackle stereotypes of female founders and help create a more diverse and inclusive visual landscape that shows entrepreneurs as they really are.
This is the second year of the project and the photos exhibited are of 30 competition winners from across the UK, including a martial arts business owner, a farmer and a construction company entrepreneur. Everyone can view the gallery and it will be accessible for six months.
“More women than ever are starting up businesses and we must harness this potential,” said Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest Group.
“The latest Rose Review progress report showed that women are starting more businesses than ever: last year 140,000 new businesses were founded by women compared to 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 fifty women business owners an even bigger boost to their companies.
“We know that the images of women in business used by the media leaves much to be desired. That’s why Getty Images and NatWest’s project to smash stereotypes by exhibiting pictures of women in different industries is so refreshing. Get inspired and give the metaverse gallery a visit.”
Carrie Timms, director of global business marketing, EMEA at Meta, said: “Women small business owners have fought to keep their doors open during this pandemic. We at Meta want to stand by them, which is why we’re proud to partner with NatWest on this new #SheMeansBusiness programme.
“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.”