This year we're expecting to train around 10,000 women in how to effectively use digital tools to build and grow a business. It's part of an initiative we're involved in with Facebook called #Shemeansbusiness.
Yes. It's a big number. But we think it's achievable.
According to a poll conducted on by YouGov, today only one in five small businesses are set up by women, yet one in 10 women (2.7 million of them) want to start a business.
That means if we managed to help just a fifth of these women to start their own company, then that would unlock £10.1 billion for the UK economy by 2020.
With almost one third of women saying practical support such as digital skills training would really help them when starting a business, delivering and creating a noise around our online and offline training programme will give women access to a wealth of free resources that they can use whenever it is convenient and digest at their own pace.
While a fifth cited confidence as a problem that was stopping them start-up in the first place, offering access to skills like digital marketing is an important stepping stone towards increased confidence that will certainly start to push down the barriers women perceive by increasing their knowledge.
At Enterprise Nation, our experience is that businesses and individuals that take on board advice are likely to grow more successful and sustainable businesses. The lean start-up can only get so far by surfing the web. After a while, they need to accept that they should get help or training from someone who knows.
The #shemeansbusiness initiative will not only offer women training, it will give them access to a plethora of online resources and guide them through it.
The opportunity on offer here is difficult to pick holes in. Helping women to use these tools to develop a convincing and effective online presence has never been more useful. We are living in times when consumers are embracing brands at an incredible rate. They are also promoting them and endorsing them massively. Today it is no longer necessary to employ an expensive marketing agency to get impressive traction and sales.
Think of Mel Bound who set up her This Mum Runs running groups and training simply by posting a notice on an online Mum's Facebook group. 75 women turned up at the first event and she now has 8,500 runners nationwide.
Women are naturally good at communication. Research shows on the whole they are better than men (and that's not just because they love a good natter) - they are naturals and that helps.
Today the old rules don't always apply. So, yes training women to use digital skills to build a business does matter. It matters a lot.
Find out more about the nationwide events and online tools here