With an evident resource gap for female business leaders, organisations are increasingly striving to tempt women to take a step forward. The ambition is to end this notion that female entrepreneurs must turn into Wonder Women to fit into the male-dominated entrepreneurial environment and support them accordingly. Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness initiative, which launched in May 2016, is a prime example of this as it provides ladies with access to advice, partnerships and events and two years on it’s not standing still.
A new phase of the scheme has seen a collaboration with AllBright, the female-centric funding and business-support network, come about. It’s resulted in the creation of the AllBright Academy, a new free ten-week online learning programme, to support business owners seeking growth as well as employees who want career development. The course will be open nationwide, building on the 13,000 women who have already benefited from Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness programme, with Cath Kidston and MediaCom chairwoman Karen Blackett involved in the content.
Despite the declining need to play the role of Amazonian warriors, female business leaders are aware they often have to fight an entrepreneurial battle males don’t. A study out of 1,010 women conducted by YouGov, the market research firm, revealed other obstacles for them beyond the networking and funding gaps are family circumstances, such as caring for children (29%), being time-poor (22%) and lacking self-confidence in their business idea (18%).
However, business communities can help solve some of these issues – the study noted that 53% of female leaders in a network expect business growth in the next year compared to 34% of women who aren’t in a community.
Commenting on the new development, Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of EMEA at Facebook, said: “Growing a business is tough but it’s particularly tough for female business leaders. Being part of a business community, and having ongoing support to make progress on self-development, can make all the difference. It’s why we’re thrilled to welcome AllBright into the #SheMeansBusiness partner network, to help expand the reach of its free digital learning programme – The AllBright Academy.”
With programmes and steps forward like these, the good news is, wearing a cape or not, women are now warmly welcomed to gather, network and receive that pat on the back needed for them to spread their wings and fly on their own terms.