In November 2017, Facebook announced a new program designed to help small business owners and professionals grow and learn digital skills.
Called Facebook Community Boost, the program seeks to pair the social media giant with local businesses and nonprofits in order to:
- Provide digital skills training that help entrepreneurs get started
- Help existing organizations thrive online
Facebook plans to visit 30 cities to promote the program, with St. Louis being its first stop. Mark Zuckerberg announced the program at a meeting with local small business owners. The event was scheduled from March 26 to 29.
How the Program Works
In a Facebook post, Dan Levy, Vice President of Small Business at Facebook, identified four ways Facebook Community Boost aims to help participants:
- Enhancing the digital and social skills of those seeking employment
- Offering training courses designed to use technology to turn an idea into a profitable business venture
- Expanding the digital reach of business owners so they can find new markets locally and globally
- Teaching online literacy and safety to first-time internet users and those who want to support their community, including managing Event and Group pages on Facebook
The program’s available courses are free.
Belief vs. Reality
Aneesh Raman, manager of Facebook’s Global Economic Impact Programs said that they selected the courses based on the feedback they received from the communities they visited during their 2017 tour.
On the St. Louis leg of their tour, they learned that:
- 84 %of small business managers believe that digital advertising is a key component of business growth, but only 13 % consider their skills in the area adequate.
- 93 % of individuals looking for jobs agree that digital skills are important to getting hired, but only 12 % say they are excellent in this department.
Raman said at the event: “Almost all workers in a business say digital skills are important, but not all think they have them. And business managers feel good about things like email, search, and social, but feel they’re less skilled about the basics of building a presence online and selling beyond their local markets.”
Facebook Partners in St. Louis
The people behind Facebook Community Boost selected Savvy Coders, a computer coding school, and Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., a social service and advocacy group, as its partners in providing digital marketing and social media courses to the Greater St. Louis area.
As the first city on the list, St. Louis will serve as a learning curve for Raman and his Facebook team. They plan to tweak their program as they move from one city to another.
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