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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Meta hosts Small Business Forum to unlock digital growth in SA

The forum featured panel discussions and exclusive workshops designed to empower attendees to take their businesses to the next level.

Meta has hosted a Small Business Forum at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre this week, bringing together over 3 000 guests (physically and virtually) aimed at training and equipping small and medium-sized businesses with digital tools and resources to help grow their business and drive economic impact.

The forum featured a keynote address from Gauteng Provincial Government, MEC for Finance and e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

It featured a series of panel discussions and exclusive workshops designed to empower attendees to take their businesses to the next level.

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Attendees included policy makers, SMB experts and owners, content creators and media who gathered to connect and network, whilst gaining insights and inspiration from other entrepreneurs who have taken a leap of faith to start and grow their businesses using Meta technologies resulting in job creation within their communities. 

Meta experts also shared tips on how to leverage creative digital tools, such as Reels, how to monetise and grow on Facebook and Instagram to connect with customers.

 Nomonde Gongxeka- Seopa, Head of Public Policy SADC at Meta said the 2022 Small Business Forum is part of their ongoing commitment to provide access and skills that help SMBs increase employment opportunities, incomes, address gender equity gaps, and increase cross-border trading.

“In many African countries SMBs account for 50% or more of job creation. At Meta, we recognise small businesses as a key engine and driver of economic growth and development, which is why this event was so important to us.”

“It gave us an opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs virtually and in person to offer advice on how they can establish, grow, and leverage tools like Reels, personalised ads, and WhatsApp Business to help them reach their intended audiences, making sure their good ideas are found.” Seopa said.  

Nkomo-Ralehoko said the province is excited to be part of the initiative.

“The development of SMME’s is a priority for us as it is the only way to create more jobs for our people. We have created the e-Waste Management system to empower SMME’s and offer growth opportunities to their businesses. These include training on recycling of e-waste and creation of new gadgets from the old or used material.”

“By digitising government services, we are hoping to increase innovative ideas that will assist the government to deliver better services. We have witnessed young people creating robots from electronic waste. This is quite an inspiration,” Nkomo-Ralehoko added.

The event also served as a space to discuss how best to prioritise the inclusion of young people and women in the digital economy, who continue facing a rough road to recovery post the pandemic as seen in Meta’s Global State of Small Business Report released in March 2022.

According to the report, 61% of women-led SMBs, versus 74% of men-led SMBs, using Facebook reported that they were operational or engaging in any revenue-generating activities.

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