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The Innovation Village, Facebook to Prepare SMEs For COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery

The Innovation Village through Upskill has partnered with Facebook to launch the ‘Boost with Facebook Webinar Series’ that will go on for three days under the theme ‘Leveraging digital platforms for Covid-19 SME recovery’.

The Innovation Village through Upskill has partnered with Facebook to launch the ‘Boost with Facebook Webinar Series’ that will go on for three days under the theme ‘Leveraging digital platforms for Covid-19 SME recovery’. The webinar seeks to share skills and knowledge to help SMEs build resilience to get back to business after the effects of the pandemic.

Built around interactive panel discussions and digital skilling webinars, the Boost with Facebook series brought together key Government representatives, Private Sector & Startups to share experiences & learn how digital platforms can play a key role in the recovery of their businesses.

In her keynote speech, Mercy Ndegwa, the Head of Public Policy at Facebook, East and Horn of Africa said that Facebook is dedicated to providing people with the power to grow their community using the tools and apps of the Facebook platform.

She said, “Together with the World Bank, Facebook launched The Global State of Small Business Report to examine the impact of the pandemic on micro-businesses and livelihoods of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. We found that businesses suffered reduced revenues, cut off staff, and access to customers was hard.This training is one of our contributions to ensuring businesses get the opportunity to utilise the available resources that will enable them continue operations.”

“This webinar series gives us an insight into how grassroots people are operating, and at the end of the 3-day training, we hope that business owners will learn how to embrace digital opportunities for their business growth as we empower their reach to a wider audience” Ndegwa added.

While the COVID-19 lockdown forced big & small businesses, schools, and the entire economy to social distance, SMEs were forced to quickly adapt to the use of digital platforms while improving their focus on building their SME online presence, creating an opportunity to bounce back better than before. Sectors like tourism, hospitality, education, & micro businesses (Muntu wawansi Shops) have been hit hard by the pandemic, while others like eCommerce & retail, Fintech, eLogistics thrived largely because of their prior adoption of digital platforms for business.

CK Japheth, The Innovation Village Team Lead noted a large number of businesses moved to online operations when the pandemic hit hard to survive closure.

He said, “The pandemic only emphasized the role of technology in business operations and its convenience. At the Village, we were able to work with our startups to put over 4000 SMEs online. The partnership with facebook only gives us an opportunity in reaching more youth on how to navigate tools such as facebook in digitising their businesses.”

He continued, ”96% of entrepreneurs fail and that is a statistic that is common even in grown ecosystems, however the alternative is in working towards building a sustainable ecosystem to support businesses as they seek to scale.”

The webinar series will focus on three thematic areas namely;

  • Day 1: The Pandemic & Its Effects on the Economy: Case study presentations from various industry sector leads.
  • Day 2 & 3: Tools to drive your business, understanding your customers with Facebook page insights, Telling your facebook story using Instagram, the use of WhatsApp to grow your business, how to build an effective advertising strategy and learning how to create Facebook Ads.

“We are happy to participate in the boost with facebook webinars because it is important that businesses owners know and control the content they churn out to their audiences. As a regulator, we help telecom operators upgrade their network and offer available and affordable internet to business owners”, said Arnold Bareba,Uganda Communications Commission, Manager Projects in the Rural Communications Development Fund.

Aaron Musoke, the Senior Associate Special Projects under UpSkill at The Innovation Village noted that there is an abundance of digital knowledge that businesses can acquire to manage their businesses.

He said “ The Facebook Webinar series is one of those platforms that seeks to highlight how digital platforms can be used in business operations. A number of businesses have registered success using Facebook tools and the training only seeks to train others on how to use these opportunities.”

The 3- halfday webinars will come to a close on Saturday, 12th December after which there will be business follow-up and training sessions.

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