Two years ago, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook launched the She Means Business campaign which came out of her personal vision to help more women start and grow their own businesses.
As Sheryl said then and still does today: ‘When Women Succeed, We All Succeed’. And her campaign has gone on to run in 30 countries and support over 50,000 women in starting a business.
In the UK, I was lucky enough to be invited by Facebook to become one of their founder trainers for She Means Business, and I’ve since spoken on stages at places such as London’s Olympia, KPMG, and to make occasions such as International Women’s Day on behalf of Facebook and this campaign.
And this week, I attended Facebook’s Community Boost event in London to celebrate the end of our 2nd year of She Means Business.
Since our launch, the number of accredited trainers for Facebook has risen to 20 and in total we’ve trained 20,000 female entrepreneurs around the UK – which is incredible!
But it’s still only just a start, especially when you look at the stats. In London, it’s easy to think that there are plenty of women who start and grow their own businesses but in fact, only 1 in 5 businesses in the UK are set up by women, and women’s businesses only contribute to about 13% of the UK’s gross economic output.
This is due to a number of factors – Facebook found in their research that lack of self-confidence is a huge obstacle faced by many women. And then there are other blocks for women, such as not feeling ready, worrying they don’t have the right skills and of course the very practical matters of how to juggle work and ambition with motherhood.
All of of these factors end up holding women back from fully pursuing that dream to start their own business.
As She Means Business continues into 2019 and beyond (and I’m so proud to be a part of it) our goals are very clear. Firstly, the support female entrepreneurs who are starting up their own businesses through teaching them practical skills in digital marketing and social media which are increasingly the foundations of what a business needs to thrive.
Secondly, it’s about inspiration. How can Facebook, and the She Means Business campaign, inspire women to start their own businesses and show young girls – through role models and mentors that entrepreneurship is a viable career option.
Personally, since I started my first business in 2007, I’ve always been inspired by looking at other female entrepreneurs who are well ahead of me in their journey and I am 100% certain that seeing their success and drive has been part of what has propelled me forward. If I am able to inspire younger women (or women of any age!) in the same way that would be an incredible thing.
Visit the #SheMeansBusiness website here to find out more information about upcoming events to build a network, learn and access resources. I hope to see you at the next event!