Instagram launches Aussie accelerator for women-led businesses

Alisha Elliott, head of policy programs at Facebook Australia and New Zealand. Source: supplied.

Instagram is launching an accelerator program in Australia and is seeking 25 businesses led by women under 25, as more young women launch their own ventures and use their digital presence to grow them.

The Instagram Academy accelerator will include advice and mentorship from the likes of Buy From the Bush founder Grace Brennan, Clothing The Gaps co-founder Laura Thompson and project officer Sianna Catullo, and influencer and entrepreneur Lillian Ahenkan, AKA Flex Mami.

Clothing The Gaps

Clothing The Gaps co-founder and director Laura Thompson. Source: supplied.

Participants will also receive $1000 credit for Facebook ads to boost their content across both Facebook and Instagram.

Of course, there will also be training on best practices for boosting their business on Instagram itself.

The program will be run in partnership with Are Media, and the announcement coincides with the release of an Are Media report examining Aussie business women’s attitudes towards entrepreneurship.

The report, Empowering Enterprises: Young Female Entrepreneurs in Australia, surveyed more than 100 women business owners under 25, and found 79% of respondents are looking to upskill, in order to further grow their business.

The majority (87%) said they believe sexist attitudes still exist in the business world, and 72% said they don’t see enough diversity in their own industry.

About two thirds agreed that social media is a key driver of growth for their business.

“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,” Are Media chief Jane Huxley said in a statement.

“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,” she added.

Alisha Elliot, head of policy programs for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, noted that despite the challenges faced by women in business, they have big goals and the skills required to achieve them.

“Instagram is where the vast majority of young women are launching their businesses,” she said in a statement.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs to unlock their potential.”

In a statement, Minister for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume pointed out that over the past 20 years the number of women-led small businesses has increased by 46%. The number of male-led businesses have increased by about half that.

The past 18 months have only expedited this trend. Women were more likely to lose income due to COVID-19, and many have taken the plunge to launch their own venture.

“The challenges of COVID-19 are forging an entrepreneurial culture, the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” Hume said.

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

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