Are Media partners with Instagram to launch the Instagram Academy, a search for Australia’s top 25 female entrepreneurs under 25

Posted 8 September 2021 in Announcement, Press Release

Are Media has partnered with Instagram to launch a search for the top 25 young female entrepreneurs under the age of 25, who’ll participate in Australia’s first Instagram Academy. The partnership follows Are Media research showing despite the challenges of starting a business and Covid impacts, young women are highly optimistic and strongly believe in the future potential of their start-ups.

As research partner, Are Media engaged with over one hundred female business owners under 25 to identify the opportunities and challenges they commonly encounter across a range of industries including fashion, retail, entertainment and health.

In the ‘Empowering Enterprises: Young female entrepreneurs in Australia’ report, six in ten (62%) of respondents said they have been operating for less than 12 months, but in a sign of confidence during a time of disruption and uncertainty, more than eight in ten (84%) believe their business has the potential to be more successful.

The findings, which are being used to support the launch, were revealed today by Senator Jane Hume, Minister for Women’s Economic Security and Are Media CEO Jane Huxley, as part of a Facebook Live panel discussion also featuring Mia Garlick, Head of Policy at Facebook; Buy From The Bush founder Grace Brennan; and entrepreneur, author and presenter, Lillian Ahenkan aka Flex Mami.

Jane Huxley said: “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. 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.”

Alisha Elliott, head of policy programs, Facebook ANZ added: “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.”

The study which was commissioned and conducted by Are Media in July and August, also found that while young women viewed the traditional measures of success as important, such as achieving financial/business stability (49%) and reaching the right customers (53%), they also regard giving back and helping others (34%) and having a good work life balance (47%) as key factors in their decision making.

However, when asked about the challenges, 87 percent said that sexist attitudes still exist in business and 72 percent said there was not enough diversity in their industry. More than half (57%) also said they struggled with having their opinions and ideas taken seriously by their peers.

Eighty percent of women said they spent less than $10,000 to start their business, with the availability and affordability of technology allowing them to launch with minimal costs. Almost all women (92%) said Instagram was a very important marketing tool, even more than websites (91%).

Natalie Bettini, Research Director at Are Media added: “We wanted to understand the opportunities and challenges young women entrepreneurs face and what’s clear is they are a highly driven cohort, with strong ethical and personal belief systems that are reflected in how they operate their businesses and the decisions they make. They are empowered and recognise how accessible and affordable technology can help them realise their dream to  be their own boss and ensure their enterprise flourishes.”

The winning 25 entrepreneurs will be profiled across Are Media titles and be invited to partake in Australia’s first Instagram Academy. The accelerator program is an immersive digital training experience from the Instagram team, which includes exclusive education, advertising grants, 1:1 sales advice, and mentorship from some of Australia’s leading business women including Lillian Ahenkan (Flex Mami), Grace Brennan (Buy From The Bush), Laura Thompson and Sianna Catullo (Clothing The Gaps).

Applications to enter the 25 Under 25 and be a part of Instagram Academy are now

open at

Download the full research piece here:

Empowering Enterprises: Young female entrepreneurs in Australia

Watch the panel event here:

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