Private investment of £200,000 has been put up by David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair from M&C Saatchi, digital entrepreneur Martin Leuw and start-up consultant Danielle Andersen. The other £85,000 is Big Venture Challenge match funding as part of a social impact programme managed by UnLtd.
The company, started in 2014 by Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane, has so far trained 300 mums in vital digital skills. The new investment will be used to scale up across the UK, with plans to go international in 2017/18.
The Digital Mums training programmes cost between £999 and £1999 and they are 20 weeks of ‘live learning’ where mums are matched with SMEs that need help with their social media. The businesses pay £500 to be a programme partner and have a trainee Digital Mum run a ‘real world’ social media marketing campaign on their behalf. All are united by the desire to find flexible work that fits in with family life. Many of the mums go on to become permanently employed after their placement. There is also an option for businesses to request a graduated Freelancer Digital Mum and pay a flat one off fee for an introduction.
“There are so many factors that prevent mothers finding a satisfying job that they can fit around their family – childcare costs, a lack of flexible working opportunities and the need for in demand digital skills. Digital Mums provides a clear solution,” says co-founder Kathryn Tyler.
“Maternal unemployment is a major problem in so many countries across the world. We have raised investment specifically to help scale our reach in the UK and crucially, to help us achieve global expansion.”
Digital Mums is answering a crucial need; recent findings from Go ON UK show that 23% of small businesses don’t even have basic digital skills, plus a report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates around 54,000 new mothers are losing their jobs across Britain every year. Lack of flexibility is a serious issue.
Digital Mums itself has 21 employees, 18 who are mums that work flexibly. Ten percent of all profits are put towards a bursary fund for low income mums.