Facebook has vowed to ‘upskill’ more than 10,000 women this year through free training resources.

The social media giant has created free online and offline training resources, designed to help women boost their online digital skills.

Mobile tools will also be provided to assist women in developing and growing their business.

Facebook’s vice president of Europe Nicola Mendelsohn believes small businesses are very important to the Facebook ecosystem, with more than 300 million people from across Europe using the social network to connect with small businesses.

She said: “It’s encouraging to see a shift in the right direction when it comes to women aspiring to start up their own businesses, but there’s still a huge amount of work to do.

“We believe there is real opportunity here in the UK, whether through entrepreneurship education or by providing incentives, training and support for those who want to set up a business, to inspire more women to turn their great business ideas into reality.”

Facebook has partnered with members network Enterprise Nation, where the partnership is part of Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness initiative.

The initiative was launched last year and aims to tackle the gender gap in the UK’s business sector.

Read more about the woman blazing a trail in technology in our #100techwomen list:

Part 1: From Abiola to Burns 

Part 2: From Camisotti to Hodgson

Part 3: From Imafidon to Russell

Part 4: From Sayce-Zelem to Zoella

Research has found that only a fifth of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses were started by women.

Over 40 per cent of women said practical support such as digital skills training would help them start a business.

A further £45m could be contributed to the UK economy by the end of 2017 by filling this gap and encouraging women to start and grow their own businesses.

Facebook and other defendants were this week ordered to pay $500m (£395m) after it was ruled they unlawfully used a firm's virtual reality technology.