/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
Today, Meta hosted a Small Business Forum at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, 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 Hon Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, Gauteng Provincial Government, MEC for Finance and e-Government and a series of panel discussions and exclusive workshops designed to empower attendees to take their businesses to the next level.
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 monetize and grow on Facebook and Instagram to connect with customers.
Commenting on the success of the event, Nomonde Gongxeka- Seopa, Head of Public Policy SADC at Meta said, “We are proud of the turnout of the 2022 Small Business Forum. This is part of our 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 recognize 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.”
In her keynote address, Hon Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, Gauteng Provincial Government, MEC for Finance and e-Government said, “We are excited to be part of this wonderful 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 digitizing 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.”
Acting Executive Manager of the Seda Technology Programme, Mr Colin Leshou added, “In the current age, digital tools play a critical role in the success and growth of any small business. As Seda we’ve witnessed the type of impact it has had for the businesses of our tech-savvy clients. It is therefore essential that South African entrepreneurs firstly acquire the skills to effectively utilize these tools and resources to ensure that they not only take advantage of the present available opportunities but also look into the future to play a part in the evolution of the Metaverse.”
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’sGlobal 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. Closing off women’s month in South Africa, Meta celebrated the stories of Ian Mangenga and Mathebe Modise at the Forum, encouraging South Africans to support women-owned small businesses whose good ideas deserve to be found. The campaign was introduced last year celebrating inspiring small businesses from across South Africa.