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Image Credit: Are Media

Instagram Australia launches academy for young female entrepreneurs following a surge in women-led businesses

A report by Are Media found that a growing proportion of young women want to be entrepreneurs despite the various underlying challenges they face.

The study showed how the pandemic has fuelled a growth in female-led businesses, while also exposing the sexism and discrimination that young women face, as well as the opportunities they see in digital platforms and education.

According to the report, Empowering Enterprises: Young Female Entrepreneurs in Australia, young women continue to experience hardship in business, with 87 percent saying that sexist attitudes still persist, and nearly three-quarters (72 percent) believing there isn’t enough diversity in their industry. 

However, young female entrepreneurs are taking advantage of digital platforms, with two out of three saying that social media is a significant driver for building their business.

Senator Jane Hume, Minister for Women’s Economic Security, and Are Media CEO Jane Huxley shared the findings of the study at a Facebook Live panel discussion with Mia Garlick, Facebook’s head of policy.

Jane Huxley, CEO of Are Media believes that while some obstacles remain, technology and social platforms are helping female entrepreneurs cut barriers to enter the business world. “It’s so heartening to see so many smart, ambitious, young women stepping out to build their businesses from the ground up, and many doing so with little financial support,” she said.

“While there sadly remains some entrenched challenges, technology, and social platforms are reducing the barriers to entry and route to market for many of these exceptional female entrepreneurs and that can only be a positive thing.

“As Australia’s largest premium content and experiences company for women Are Media is committed to championing the lives, lifestyles, and careers of women across all ages.

“We’re delighted to partner with Instagram on this important initiative, and I look forward to being part of the judging panel and seeing the winning stories shared with our audiences across our brands.”

Jane Hume, Minister for Women’s Economic Security and Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services, and the Digital Economy said: “The challenges of COVID-19 are forging an entrepreneurial culture, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. 

“Young women, in particular, are taking the future into their own hands, and they’re leveraging digital tools to do so,” she added. 

Digital is no longer just a marketing add-on, so when this drive is combined with the right support, big things can happen.

“Over the past two decades, the number of female-run small businesses has grown by 46 per cent, that’s almost double the rate for those run by men. 

These women are helping to drive our nation’s economic future and are leading the way in embracing the benefits of our digital economy. That’s why programs like Instagram Academy, which support young women in business, are so important.”

Other key findings of the study include: 

  • Young female entrepreneurs are taking advantage of digital platforms, with two out of three saying that social media is a crucial driver for building their business. 
  • 92 percent of respondents ranked Instagram as their most significant marketing medium, surpassing even a website (91 per cent). 
  • The study also discovered that 79 per cent of young women wish to upskill or expand their training in order to grow their business.

Enters Instagram Academy

Instagram Australia, in collaboration with Are Media, launched the inaugural Instagram Academy in September, an exclusive accelerator program for young female entrepreneurs under the age of 25 who are ready to scale their businesses. 

Twenty-five young female business owners will receive grants and exclusive training as part of Australia’s first Instagram Academy. Additionally, female entrepreneurs under the age of 25 will benefit from the following:

Best-practice education

An exclusive digital training experience at Instagram Academy, showing business owners everything they need to know about nailing the ‘Gram.

Industry experts

Advice and mentorship from some of Australia’s leading business experts including Lillian Ahenkan, Grace Brennan, Founder of Buy From The Bush, and Laura Thompson, and Sianna Catullo from clothing the gaps.

Coaching and support 

1-1 coaching from a member of the Facebook Australia sales team offering bespoke advice specifically for the participants.

Business grant 

$1,000 in Facebook ad credits to boost their business to customers across Instagram, Facebook, and more.

National visibility 

The final 25 will be showcased in announcements and articles across Are Media’s titles including Marie Claire, ELLE, Girlfriend, and more.

Speaking about the initiative, Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs, Facebook ANZ said: “Today’s research shows that while young women still face significant challenges in the business world, they have ambitious goals and the tools to turn their dreams into reality.

“Instagram is where the vast majority of young women are launching their businesses, and we’re thrilled to support their growth with the launch of the Instagram Academy accelerator program. 

“With the support of Are Media, along with some of Australia’s leading female creators and business leaders, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs to unlock their potential.”

Applications to enter the “25 Under 25” and be a part of Instagram Academy are now open at australia.fb.com/IGacademy

Applications are now open to be selected in the “25 Under 25” who’ll participate in the Instagram Academy, in partnership with Are Media.

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