By Dan Levy, VP, Small Business
Today we’re introducing Facebook Community Boost, a new program to help US small businesses grow and to equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in the new economy.
Facebook Community Boost will visit 30 US cities in 2018, including Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville, South Carolina. Facebook will work with local organizations to provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, to advise entrepreneurs how to get started and to help existing local businesses and nonprofits get the most out of the internet.
Since 2011 Facebook has invested more than $1 billion to support small businesses. Boost Your Business has trained more than 60,000 small businesses in the US and hundreds of thousands more around the world. More than 1 million small businesses have used Facebook’s free online learning hub, Blueprint, and more than 70 million small businesses use our free Pages tool to create an online presence. And we recently created a digital marketing curriculum that will help train 3,000 Michigan residents in digital skills development over the next two years.
According to new research by Morning Consult in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, small businesses’ use of digital translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country. Small businesses provide opportunities for millions of people (they create an estimated four out of every five new jobs in the US), offer useful products and services, and often provide a place for people to come together. In addition:
- 80% of US small and medium businesses on Facebook say the platform helps them connect to people in their local community.
- One in three US small and medium sized businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform; and 42% say they’ve hired more people due to growth since joining Facebook.
- Businesses run by African Americans, Latinos, veterans and those with a disability are twice as likely to say that their business was built on Facebook, and one and a half times more likely to say they’ve hired more people since joining the platform.
- 56% of US small and medium sized businesses on Facebook say they increased sales because of the platform; 52% of say Facebook helps them sell products to other cities, states, and countries.
We want to do more to support communities across America – particularly for those who are transitioning to careers that require more digital skills. It’s why we’re introducing Facebook Community Boost.
- If you’re looking for a job, we’ll provide training to help improve your digital and social media skills. According to the research, 62% percent of US small businesses using Facebook said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions — even more important than where a candidate went to school.
- If you’re an entrepreneur, we’ll have training programs on how to use technology to turn an idea into a business or show you ways to create a free online presence using Facebook.
- If you’re a business owner we’re going to offer ways your business can expand its digital footprint and find new customers around the corner and around the globe.
- If you’re getting online for the first time or you want to support your community, we’ll provide training on digital literacy and online safety. And we’ll also help community members use technology to bring people together, with features like Events and Groups.
Facebook Community Boost was developed based on requests from the small business community that Facebook spend more time in their cities and provide more training. We’re just getting started, and are pleased to partner with community leaders to learn where we can help. We are especially grateful to the governors and mayors representing each of the five cities where we’re starting in 2018, including:
- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner: “We’re happy to welcome Facebook to Houston to boost our residents’ digital skills and make sure our vibrant community of entrepreneurs and small businesses gets more out of the internet. I’m glad that Facebook recognized that one of the first five cities to benefit from this program should be Houston, the most diverse city in the nation, the largest economic engine of Texas and a proving ground not only for innovation in tech, energy, medicine and space exploration but also for mom-and-pop small businesses that reflect all the cultures of America and the globe.”
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “Small businesses are the backbone of the Texas economy. My goal as governor is to help small businesses and the non-profit sector grow even faster in Texas, and I’m grateful for the help of industry movers like Facebook. I applaud the decision by Facebook to choose Houston, TX as one of the five U.S. cities for this important and exciting event, and for their investment in the entrepreneurial spirit of Texas.”
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “It’s clear when it comes to innovation and economic development New Mexico and Facebook make great partners. We are proud Facebook has selected Albuquerque as one of only five of the first locations in the country to offer its new Community Boost program. Residents and small businesses in New Mexico will have the opportunity to build stronger digital skills to get the most out of the digital marketplace. We will be working with Facebook to ensure our business have access to this exciting opportunity because New Mexicans deserve a diversified economy for the future.”
- Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry: “As the City of Albuquerque is the second most digital city in nation, we are excited and welcome Facebook to Albuquerque for its new community boost! This initiative will help train our residents in developing key skills to help them thrive in our ever evolving digital world. We look forward to working closely with Facebook in coordinating the weeklong event to ensure Albuquerque and New Mexico small businesses are aware and can participate to the fullest extent. We hope this will help bring more tech skills and better job opportunities to our wonderful community.”
- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds: “It’s my priority to ensure that Iowans have the skills they need to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, and to ensure that Iowa businesses have the tools they need to thrive in the digital economy. So I’m thrilled that Facebook has chosen Des Moines as a pilot city to launch its new Community Boost Program. Facebook has been a great partner in Iowa, and my administration looks forward to working with them on this wonderful project.”
- South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster: “The fact that Facebook has chosen Greenville as one of the first cities to offer its new Community Boost is something that all of South Carolina can be proud of. We see new businesses come to our state and existing ones expand here every day, making it as important as ever that our people are trained and ready to do any job they’re asked to do. The work Facebook will be doing in Greenville is important for the future prosperity of South Carolina, and we look forward to working with them.”
We’ll be visiting 30 US cities in 2018, and we’d love to hear how Facebook Community Boost can help people in your city or town. You can share your story at facebook.com/tellcommunityboost.