NATWEST, the UK’s biggest business bank, and social technology company, Meta, has today launched a partnership to offer financial readiness training and other support to female business owners. This 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.
This partnership builds on NatWest and Meta’s strong track-records on supporting women in business with NatWest ringfencing £2 billion for investment in female businesses, teaching 56,000 16-18-year-old girls entrepreneurial skills in 2021 and aiming for 50% of its accelerator hub spaces to go to women. Meta launched #SheMeansBusiness 6 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 will also be launching a competition from 11 April to 19 May to offer 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 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.
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest Group, said:
“More women than ever are starting up businesses and we must harness this potential. 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.”
Jacqueline Bourke, Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images, said:
“We believe there is a huge opportunity to upend stereotypes around female entrepreneurship, tell stories that have not been told before and show how the power of inclusive visuals can remove barriers to entry. People’s perceptions of what is possible are often shaped by what we see. Offering representative and inclusive imagery which portrays the diversity of female entrepreneurs can challenge limiting stereotypes and empower women to create the futures they want for themselves. That’s exactly what this image gallery aims to do. By featuring a wide range of NatWest’s own customers, this gallery authentically depicts women of all ages and backgrounds working across a diverse spectrum of industries including farming, construction, blacksmithing, recycling, sustainable business, technology and wellness, while championing the way for greater financial inclusion and success.”