Small businesses are the beating heart of our economic recovery, and we’ve seen them build resilience in the face of economic uncertainty by investing in their digital skills and increase their use of digital platforms to stay open, even when their physical doors were closed. In fact, 49% of small businesses recently surveyed reported they expect their usage of digital tools for interacting with customers to increase after the pandemic. So we wanted to bring the latest training and support to small businesses by continuing our partnership with the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s Small Business Month and a number of organisations around the state through Boost with Facebook in Sydney, Penrith, and Dubbo.
In Penrith, we partnered with the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce to offer business owners in Western Sydney an opportunity to learn digital skills, and hear from local business owner, Harriet McCready from Mountain Culture Beer Co who has overcome bushfires, pandemics and floods to scale up from 3 – 45 employees over the past two years.
We were also joined by the Hon. Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport and Minister for Western Sydney who addressed attendees about the value of building digital skills for small businesses. “One of the greatest benefits of strong small businesses is that they employ people, and I fundamentally believe creating stronger communities is built on the back of small businesses. The operating conditions for businesses and the way customers find them are rapidly changing, which is why business owners need to upskill themselves in digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger to connect with customers and to grow and succeed.”
Continuing our support for regional businesses and our partnership with Buy From The Bush (BFTB), we traveled to Dubbo and was joined by Laura Hall from PHYLLi designs, Emma Barrett from Emmanate Creative, and Claire Austin from Gin Gin Garden Club, who discussed their unique business journeys and the value of digitally enabled businesses to help business owners and communities. A recent report from BFTB and supported by Meta found, 70% of rural SMBs agree that online businesses help women gain economic security and 69% of rural SMBs said that digital businesses present opportunities for rural communities to grow. This was evident by the enthusiastic and creative business owners in the room, intent on building their businesses for themselves and their communities.
We were joined by Bruce Billson, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman who spoke about the need for businesses to prepare for the future by building resilience and digital capabilities. “It was an honour to be part of the event today and to see first-hand the difference that Buy From The Bush has made not only for the regional small and family businesses but also their local communities. Deeper digital engagement has been the savior for many businesses throughout the pandemic and training events like Boost with Facebook are an excellent way of making the path to digitisation easier to help businesses access new customers, enter new markets and flourish.”
In Sydney, we partnered with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA), to offer local LGBTQI+ businesses around the Sydney CBD tips on how to grow and adapt using digital tools and look forward to continuing support of the rainbow community in the months to come, particularly as they prepare for World Pride Sydney 2023.
Connection remains at the heart of what we do, and we’re proud to have helped thousands of businesses build resilience with the right skills and tools to keep growing and to keep going. That’s why we invest in growing the digital capabilities of businesses with our Boost with Facebook program, because when businesses thrive, communities thrive too.