More than 300 young entrepreneurs and marketers gathered on 8 June at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg for Facebook’s Youth Enterprise and Skills Day in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development.
The event aimed at inspiring young South Africans about how to build and grow business through leveraging digital marketing and the range of job opportunities available through digital technology. On the day attendees heard from local digital entrepreneurs about their experiences, whilst having the opportunity to attend workshops which provided knowledge on how to use Facebook, Instagram and other digital tools to grow their own businesses.
The event falls in line with Facebook’s focus on educating youth about employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the digital world. In a recent Facebook survey undertaken by Living Facts, which surveyed 550, 18 -25-year-olds from the country’s major metros, it found that 62% felt negatively about employment prospects in South Africa, yet only half were aware of the employment opportunities offered by the digital industry.
Highlighting the importance of digital skills and jobs to the economy, research commissioned on behalf of Facebook by Development Economics, values core and secondary digital skills jobs to add R12.5 billion to the economy, and a total of 6.4 million jobs by 2029.
“Our aim is to drive positive social and economic impact across South Africa and there can be no better way to achieve that goal than by helping to equip future generations with the skills they need to thrive in a digital age,” said Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Lead Facebook, SADC region. “With our researching showing that 58 per cent of respondents plan to start their own business in the future*, digital skills will be vital for these young entrepreneurs to thrive.”
The summit kicked off with a panel discussion, fireside chat and question & answer session where attendees heard from young small business owners that have used Facebook platforms to grow and reach new audiences. They also attended workshops on best practices using Facebook platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to advance their careers or businesses.
Sessions covered topics ranging from customer experience, digital marketing skills and digital commerce to content creation, audience management and measurement as well as advice about embarking on a technical career.
Facebook also provided information about Facebook Blueprint, a global training and certification program about marketing on Facebook and Instagram, and Boost Your Business, events providing businesses with the most up-to-date tools, insights and best practices for achieving success on Facebook and Instagram.
Says Lebo Nefolovhodwe, from Lessons with Lion and BEOPLE: “I loved having the opportunity to share my company’s story and hear about how other companies have used digital technology to grow. Facebook has helped me to build a real community around my business, and this has been one of the secrets of my success.”