Meta heads to Byron Bay to boost small businesses

By Meta Australia Head of Public Policy Josh Machin

Last week, Meta headed to Byron Bay - home to many entrepreneurs and small business owners - to run a Meta Boost workshop in partnership with both the Byron Bay and Mullumbimby Chambers of Commerce.  

During the free digital skills workshop, over 140 participants learned about the key tools and resources across Facebook and Instagram they can use to start and grow a business online. We also heard from a panel of local small business owners, including Breastfeeding Tea Co, Bun Coffee and Jefa Gallery, who are successfully using Meta’s online tools to grow their business.

Federal Member for Richmond, the Hon. Justine Elliott MP, joined us and commented:

“Our local businesses are the backbone of the North Coast economy. Yet, the past couple of years have been challenging for them, due to COVID and the recent devastating floods. Digital  skills have become so important for our local businesses, not only as a means to survive, but also as a great way to grow, and connect and keep in touch with their customers. Making sure businesses continue to upskill and expand their online capabilities is vitally important.”

A recent report by Deloitte highlights the critical role digital technology plays in improving the personalisation of products, services and customer experiences, and why workshops like Meta Boost matter.  Amongst a raft of findings, the report noted:

  • 82% of Australian small businesses used Facebook apps to help them start their businesses;
  • 71% of Australian small businesses that used personalised advertising found it effective in finding new customers, and;
  • 62% of Australian small businesses that used personalised advertising on Facebook or Instagram found it important in successfully growing their businesses.

Meta is committed to helping small businesses in the Byron Bay region thrive, and with the pandemic and floods causing disruptions, we recognise it’s been a tough few years. Earlier this year, Meta’s Crisis and Disaster Response Fund donated $100,000 to Foodbank Australia and the Australian Red Cross in support of their Queensland and New South Wales Floods Appeal. Meta also provided a flood recovery package for small businesses across NSW and Queensland, which included tailored one-to-one business consultation with a Meta Small Business Specialist and a $200 Facebook ad credit to help businesses reach new customers. We believe these initiatives, combined with our Meta Boost program, can help make a lasting difference for businesses in the area.

Jordana Edwards, founder of Breastfeeding Tea Co., participated in the event and said:

“Meta Boost events are vitally important for our local community, so that small businesses can learn how to use powerful platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to improve the way we reach customers and attract them to our websites. I’m sure all of us learnt something today.”

Boost workshops have so far been run in over 50 towns across Australia, providing support to over 30,000 small businesses.  For more information on tools and tips to support your business, click here.  For information on how to keep your business and communities safe online, click here.

Meta partners with Sydney WorldPride 2023, and brings back the Mardi Gras Viewing Event Grants

By Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy - ANZ, Pacific Islands, Korea and Japan - 16 November 2022

Today we’re excited to announce that Meta Australia, will be a Major Partner for Sydney WorldPride and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for 2023. To mark the occasion, we’re bringing back the Sydney WorldPride and Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event Grants, to support local businesses and unlock economic opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists and entertainers.

Grants of up to $3,350 will be awarded to venues around Australia who demonstrate the ability to host a COVID safe event for the Official Sydney WorldPride Live & Proud: Opening Ceremony or Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event for the 2023 festival. Applications are now open until the 4th December, and you find out more details and apply here

The impact of the program over the last two years reached far beyond the businesses themselves, and showed how important it was for Meta to bring back the grants program. This year, the program generated nearly $400,000 in revenue across 29 venues, which attracted over 6,500 attendees. Not only did these help local businesses, but it unlocked employment opportunities for over 260 staff, who were employed to run the Mardi Gras Parade viewing events, and over 200 performers and artists who secured work thanks to these events. 

Everyday the LGBTQ+ community come to our platforms to create connections, share support and adapt their businesses. Since 2016, we’ve been a major partner with Mardi Gras and we’re incredibly excited to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community from all around the world next year. WorldPride presents an incredible opportunity to celebrate queer culture, and for local businesses and communities to thrive in one of the biggest events since the Sydney Olympics. The Sydney WorldPride and Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event Grants, are just one of the ways we are supporting the LGBTQ+ community next year, and we are excited to announce more initiatives soon. 

Meta partners with Trading Blak to equip First Nations businesses with the right online sales tools to get more people to #BuyBlak


By Alexandra Sloane, Director of Marketing ANZ, Meta Australia

Being a small retail owner in today’s market is difficult enough, let alone trying to navigate the additional challenges faced by First Nations businesses. One challenge and opportunity faced by First Nations businesses is standing out from the crowd during large retail events, such as the increasingly popular Black Friday sales in November that now take place in the lead up to the already hectic Christmas shopping season. 

Indigenous businesses generate more than $4.9 billion to the Australian economy, and between 2006 and 2018 generated more than 22,000 jobs, helping to drive more economic opportunities for First Nations businesses and people. The BuyBlak campaign is a celebration of First Nations business excellence and aims to encourage Australians to shop with these businesses, and remind people that their support has a ripple effect for Indigenous communities and seeing self-determination in action.

First Nations business owners are using Facebook and Instagram beautifully to engage broad audiences about their business stories, and the products they are selling. Jarin Baigent, a Wiradjuri woman who is the Co-Founder of the Indigenous business collective Trading Blak and owner of Jarin Street, along with Jessica Johnson, a Warumungu and Wombaya woman who is another Co-founder of Trading Blak and owner of Nungala Creative. Both of these business owners have told us how important these platforms have become in helping them increase their online presence, showcase their products, drive more sales, and more importantly, encourage people to buy directly from businesses owned and led by First Nations people.

We heard from Jessica that her favourite tool is Instagram Shop. “It allows us to reach our audience and make sales,” she said. “Often Aboriginal businesses can face challenges in that. There are lots of beautiful products and sometimes just reaching the customer base can be challenging, so having an online shop can let us reach our mob and our community.”

Jarin shared a similar sentiment, saying using Facebook and Instagram has “meant a lot to be able to amplify our messaging and create awareness around the challenges we face around a saturated market that you don’t always know who you’re buying from”.

Meta partnered with Trading Blak to jointly launch the Trading Blak Facebook and Instagram Shops during NAIDOC Week last year to ensure their collective of First Nations-owned and led businesses can reach more customers in the long term. The collective has a physical shopfront in Warringah Mall, featuring products from over 50 Indigenous businesses, but since launching the Trading Blak Facebook Shop it has taken a selection of them to Australia and the world.

At Meta Australia, we want to help these businesses further unlock other potentially untapped opportunities by equipping them with the skills and tools to grow their online presence and help find new customers online, ahead of the upcoming holiday season, including Black Friday sales in November, as well as BuyBlak moments year-round.

Coinciding with Indigenous Business Month in October, this year, once again, we are partnering with Trading Blak and First Nations media and events agency 33 Creative to support the #BuyBlak movement in Australia. We know that the holiday season is vital for businesses everywhere. We have no doubt it will spark a huge moment for people to shop for their families and friends, but the impact on Indigenous communities will be significant when people shop with Indigenous-led businesses this holiday season and beyond.

Backing small businesses this NSW Small Business Month

March 31, 2022


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.

Small businesses making waves through the personalised economy

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – November 24, 2021


At the beginning of this year, there was cautious optimism for business and our economy to “bounce back”, but we were reminded how adapting to change has become the new normal, particularly for small businesses. The ability for businesses to stay resilient spans across the ecosystem including adapting to changes across supply chains, employee needs, and variable customer demands.

Digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram give businesses the opportunity to adapt to these changing conditions with precision. Business growth and expansion can be achieved through efficient investment in online marketing, getting customer feedback in real time, and creatively adapting business models online. Small businesses, particularly those in regional communities, are using tools like personalised advertising to expand their business reach, build a meaningful customer base and participate in the global economy.

Take Sarah Quinney and Dan O’Connell, co-owners of BoardSox in Torquay, VIC. The entrepreneurs create sustainably made, surfing accessories online and through retailers. They recently tapped into Facebook and Instagram to find customers who were sustainably conscious surfers and were blown away by the results. Since starting their campaign their sales increased by 413% and they attributed 70% of revenue coming from Facebook ads. Dan Richards and Simon Noble from D-Still Drinkware, Coombabah, QLD were also able to adapt their business model and build an entirely new customer base quicker than ever. They experienced a similar surge when they started using targeted ads on Facebook. The digital boost drove 37% more traffic to their website and gave them the confidence to increase their team and upgrade their space to a 1000sqm facility on the Gold Coast.

These stories reflect the data from our Dynamic Markets report, showing how impactful personalised ads are for small businesses around Australia to not only stay open but also grow. In the report, we found 71% of SMBs in Australia that uses personalised advertising reported that it was important for the success of their business and that 64% reported that Facebook apps were important to adapt to the changing business environment during the pandemic.

Strong and digitally-enabled businesses aren’t just beneficial for the business owner and staff, they’re also vital to support thriving communities, particularly those in regional Australia. Sue Heward the owner of Singing Magpie in Monash SA, gave up a corporate career to take over the 100-year-old family farm that needed help due to drought. Sue took over the farm and created an Instagram page to share pics of the produce, but the business accelerated when it was featured on the Buy from the Bush Instagram campaign. Since then she attracted thousands of new followers and nurtured her community through Instagram, which she attributes as the source of 80% of her total sales. The online demand for her products was so strong, that she hired 3 new staff members and is looking to grow her manufacturing capabilities so they can process more products.

These are tough times for small businesses all over Australia and we know as our economies begin to open back up, they will be key to driving our economic recovery. Meta is determined to do all we can to help them make it through. That’s why we continue to invest in products to enable commerce and find new customers. It’s also why we provide free digital skills training through our Boost with Facebook Australia Group and partner with the Government and industry on initiatives like Skill Finder.

Instagram Academy ‘25 Under 25’ finalists announced

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – November 5, 2021


We are pleased to announce the inaugural ‘25 Under 25’ list of up-and-coming female entrepreneurs, in partnership with Are Media. We were thrilled to see a diversity of businesses being created by entrepreneurial young women from across the country, and we’re proud to support them through our first Instagram Academy.

The ‘25 Under 25’ will receive exclusive access to the Instagram Academy, an exclusive digital accelerator program that includes digital training, advertising grants and 1:1 advice from Instagram’s sales teams. The program also includes exclusive mentorship from some of Australia’s leading businesswomen including Lilian Ahenkan from @flex.mami, Sianna Catullo from @clothingthegaps and Grace Brennan from @buyfromthebush. Grace Brennan founded Buy from the Bush on Instagram in 2019 and has experienced first-hand the opportunities for economic prosperity through digital platforms like Instagram – 97% of Buy from the Bush business owners are women, compared to the national SMB average of 34%. A report published in 2020 found that a total of $5 million in revenue was generated for featured businesses, connecting them with new customers in Australia and overseas and the experience has also encouraged 45% of female entrepreneurs to learn a new technical skill.

Women business owners can benefit the most from training, highlighted in a report in 2020 which found whilst women-owned businesses were more likely to close throughout the year, younger and female business leaders were more likely to adopt or increase their usage of digital tools. That’s why we are we’re thrilled to partner with Are Media to offer these ‘25 Under 25’ young women the opportunity to take their brands to the next level and ensure Instagram is a dynamic platform where Australians, and in particular, young women entrepreneurs come to build their creative business.

The winners selected for this year’s ‘25 Under 25’ list are:


SHADIE BY EA is a Black woman-led brand that provides ethically made premium intimates and essentials for women of all skin tones and sizes. Despite not having any fashion experience, Esther started the label to help other women she knew couldn’t find intimates that matched their skin tone and has since received praise from women all over Australia.


  • Stephanie Weiss, Arula, NSW

Founded in September 2019 in Sydney, Arula 3D prints external breast prostheses for women who have had single or double mastectomies, using 100% Aussie materials. Stephanie knew many people who’d experienced breast cancer, and heard from many of them that the breast prostheses used post-treatment didn’t suit everyone. So Stephanie used her background in product design and software development to design a way to innovate breast prostheses that suited more women’s bodies.


Consent Labs is a female-founded and youth-led not-for-profit that empowers young people on consent, harassment, and assault.  Angelique is passionate about providing the modern, inclusive sex education that young people want through engaging and evidence-based workshops. Having worked with schools and tertiary institutions across Australia, Consent Labs has educated over 10,000 people.


Embrace Your Frizzique is a platform designed to educate and empower those with curly and textured hair on the many ways that they can love, nurture and reconnect with their tresses. Founded in 2015 by Zarah Garbrah, Embrace Your Frizzique strives to create an accessible community designed to diversify the beauty industry in Australia by providing industry knowledge, education and soon-to-come products tailored for all curl types.


Sarah left her corporate job and returned to her chemical engineering background, working with her university thesis advisor to create the world’s first oat cream cheese free from nuts/soy/coconut. It’s artisanally crafted without any fillers/starches/gums using traditional dairy cheese-making methods and is currently available at cafes and restaurants.


After working as an international interpreter straight out of uni, Aimee decided she wanted to start her own business in the digital and creative field and created a suite of online Japanese courses to help people achieve the same level of fluency with ease.


Glam Theory Cosmetics offers high-quality, gorgeous makeup tools at an affordable price point with easy guides to help people learn how to apply make-up like a pro. Founder Eliza works as a makeup artist and educator and pivoted during lockdown to keep herself busy.


Oooh Mood is a feminist sexual wellness brand empowering young women to liberate themselves in the bedroom and in life. Bridgette started Oooh Mood as an approachable, fun, and friendly brand that seeks to change the conversation around female sexual pleasure.


Frustrated by the widening inequality in education and social classes, Darian started We, Future Leaders to bridge these inequalities through 1:1 and group mentoring. Darian has provided employment to 25+ staff and helped hundreds of families since its founding in 2020. She is aiming to empower 1 million young people by 2041 to go out and make positive changes in their lives and the world.


Sent is the first candle brand in Australia to offer a customised candle service called The Candle Bar. Customers complete an online quiz to create their own one-of-a-kind scents that remind them of their most cherished memories. Joanne is also passionate about the environment and is adopting sustainable practices throughout her business.


Maih wanted to create a brand to uplift and empower people through an all-inclusive clothing brand that was bright and fun. Originally known for its reflective festival outfits, Hysteria has expanded to also make activewear, loungewear, and unisex clothes.


Ellie became obsessed with pottery and started sharing her pieces on her Instagram page. Soon people asked Ellie if she would sell her pieces and Elga Ceramics was born. Ellie has based her entire business on Instagram and uses it as a fun way to share her latest work and share tips about pottery and running a small business.


il Pietra creates natural stone pieces which each possess their own unique variations. Brianna wants to see businesses adopt a sustainable future, so started selling marble offcuts to repurpose these materials as coasters, trays, and other designs. The statement pieces have been picked up by retailers across Australia.


BitsNBugz sells unique scrunchies and masks with novelty fabrics to help people stand out from the crowd. Roey started her own sewing business in early 2020, finding it a great way to de-stress and relax from her job as a nurse.


With a mixture of Spray Tanning, education, and a passion for helping beauty business owners, Lujuria Studio is a place with the dream of making the Spray Tan industry an educated, relevant, and desired space. Emily has developed a product line based on all of the things she thought the industry lacked, and also developed training for both technicians and at-home tanners to get the best spray tan.


Moncur Collection is home to handmade earrings that Amanda carefully curates out of polymer clay, a medium that is so versatile to let her creativity flourish. Amanda has built a loyal following on Instagram and ships products all over the world.


Creative studio Ligne Studio specialises in brand designs, offering photography, fashion, art, graphic design, and everything in between. Britt goes beyond the standard branding practices to give clients a fully customised and ready-to-launch brand.


Aviana the Label is a chic fashion tights label offering bold and eye-catching styles that are made in Italy. The brand was born in March 2021 with a mission to encourage women to be more confident and fearless with their fashion choices and to de-stigmatise societal fashion expectations.


The brand Molina Suaz is about embodying quiet but strong confidence. Minimalist and sleek, Molina Suaz products are functional, durable, and can be used for any occasion. Gabriela named her business after her biggest inspiration, her grandparents.


Swimwear label Leni Swims was founded in 2017 by sisters Lucy and Molly Cochrane with an aim to make a carefully curated collection of sustainably and ethically made swimwear. With a focus on styles that are made to last, all of their processes, colours, quality, and designs have an emphasis on creating a bikini that sustainably and ethically considers all steps in a product's life cycle.


Mikaela works as an artist and musician across a number of mediums and has built a loyal community on her Instagram account, where she sells her music and art to thousands of fans.


Sapé Fashion is a Sydney-based label making customised African-flavoured power suits for everyone. After posting her designs on Instagram, people loved Philicia’s sharp lines and started requesting bespoke orders.


Alina has spent years perfecting her skills as a nail technology specialist. Over the years she’s worked in health, opened her own salon in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, and now teaches others her nail techniques online.


Allora Curated is a small jewellery business specialising in independent, handmade & thoughtfully curated pieces. Alexia started the brand in Sydney earlier this year with the idea of making jewellery that she could not find anywhere else on the internet.


Moose Cow Fish is an active streetwear brand, combines fashion and function. The brand was founded in 2020 by 20 year old Alex, who struggled to find activewear brands with stylish and groovy designs which were also durable enough to wear every day without falling apart.

Small business going global from the Central Coast

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – June 10, 2021


This week we headed to the seaside town of Terrigal, meeting small businesses from across the Central Coast and supporting them with digital education to help them take the next step in their business journey. No matter where we are across Australia, we continue to meet entrepreneurs owning and running businesses that support their local communities and are expanding to reach people all around the world.

Technology and platforms like Facebook offer the ability to start and run a small business from a regional town and expand its reach to another part of the state, country, or even internationally. The event was an opportunity to take time to improve digital skills and work on the business, rather than in the business, finding new ways to optimise their digital capacity and reach new customers in an important period of economic recovery.

This is a view also shared by Ms. Lucy Wicks Federal Member for Robertson who said, “So many businesses here on the Central Coast are known for their resilience, innovation, and entrepreneurialism – it’s the defining story of our region and what we will be known for in the years to come. Our local businesses back each other, create local jobs, and contribute to our national economy. Many of our 24,000 small and medium-sized businesses turned to digital technology platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to adapt in the face of enormous challenges.”

We recently commissioned the Deloitte Dynamic Markets report, which found that 82 percent of SMBs reported that using Facebook helped them to start their business, while 59 percent of exporting SMBs that use Facebook apps said they were helpful for making international sales.

We were joined by two local Central Coast business owners that are taking advantage of the benefits that technology offers, running businesses locally whilst reaching customers nationally and internationally. Take for example Survival Emergency Solutions, co-owned by Michael Tyrrell. Survival is an innovator in first aid solutions which uses Facebook and Instagram to educate and empower customers to be equipped in times of emergency. The business consistently uses a mix of organic content and personalised ads to drive awareness of its brand, including videos that teach people how to respond to emergencies like burns and bites. The dedication has paid off, and the digital strategy helped the business grow to include an additional five staff, and now they plan to grow their business further into the USA.

We also heard from Emily and David Berlach, co-owners of Bohemian Traders who used Facebook and Instagram to create a community and marketing channels to encourage customers either to purchase in-store or to purchase online. The business built a loyal customer base across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the US with their online presence. Their popularity caught the eye of national fashion retailer, David Jones who loved the label so much that they added the latest collection to their upcoming season for Australia and New Zealand.

Boost with Facebook is back – first stop, Blue Mountains

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – May 19, 2021


Small businesses are the driving force for economic recovery, which is why we’re excited to be back on the road, visiting towns across regional Australia offering free digital skills to use Facebook and Instagram to continue to grow, innovate and stay resilient through uncertain times.

The Facebook team visited the Blue Mountains for our first in-person Boost with Facebook event since March 2020 and was joined by business owners ready to learn and grow their businesses, despite the many varied headwinds faced by the local community. We met with small businesses looking to take the next step in their digital marketing journey, and we were thrilled with the enthusiasm and commitment of attendees to step outside their comfort zone and learn something new.

Ms. Susan Templeman, a Member of Macquarie joined the event and shared her support for local business owners impacted by many crises and how digital tools can help the Blue Mountains community stay resilient. “The past 18 months have seen the people of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury endure bushfires, landslides, the pandemic, and two floods. It’s meant businesses have had to pivot to adapt, and for many that have meant increasing their social media presence. Our local business owners are weary of constantly being challenged, and that’s why I was heartened today by the number of local people who took time out of their busy days to come along and put it into building their skills at the Boost With Facebook program.”

The pandemic has shown that digital skills are imperative to help businesses adapt and build resilience, and their survival is necessary not just for the people they employ, but also their communities. We invited two local business owners to share their insights as part of the workshops.

One was Mountain Culture Beer, a boutique brewery run by Harriet and DJ McCready in Katoomba, NSW. They launched their business as the pandemic began and despite lockdowns grew their presence on Facebook, developing a loyal following of customers across Australia, leading to the business being voted as Australia’s top brewery. Their online growth had put them in a position where they could give back to their community, and just recently ran a fundraiser with all the proceeds donated to the local athlete, Tom O’Halloran who will head to Tokyo for his first Olympic Games.

Another person helping the area is business owner Muriel Wang, from Kotes by Kobe. Muriel wanted to share her love for the Blue Mountains with the world and started an Instagram account (@kobethepyr) for her furry best friend Kobe, to show the best dog-friendly hiking destinations around the area. The Instagram account grew and nurtured a close-knit community within itself of dog lovers, adventurers, and nature lovers from all around Australia and other countries, and attracted domestic travelers back to the Blue Mountains to explore the hikes (and other local businesses) for themselves.

The success of these business owners wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the resilience and adaptability to be creative and keep going. This is why we will continue to invest in education and local programs as part of our ongoing support to small businesses, to help communities move towards economic recovery.

The Boost with Facebook Blue Mountains event was organised in collaboration with the Blue Mountains City Council and MTNS MADE, and we’re incredibly thankful for their partnership to bring this event to life.

Our next Boost with Facebook event will be announced soon. Tune into the Facebook Australia page for future announcements.

If you aren’t able to make our Boost with Facebook events, you can access more free training from Facebook via the Small Business Learning Hub, and connect with thousands of businesses on the Boost with Facebook Australia Group.

Australian confidence surges, but we’re still not out of the woods

Melinda Petrunoff, Director of Small and Medium Business, Facebook ANZ – April 8, 2021


To say 2020 was a challenging year, and the pandemic had an existential impact on Australian small businesses would be the biggest of understatements. Doors were closed temporarily or permanently, employers were forced to lay off hard-working employees, and people did whatever they could to keep the lights on.

While far from unscathed, Australia’s strong public health response has meant we’ve been able to avoid drawn-out lockdowns and as a result, business confidence is returning and sales are rebounding. Last year we launched the first Global State of Small Business Report to uncover the ongoing effects of the pandemic on businesses and saw a grim picture. But thankfully, the latest report findings show the reason for optimism about the future.

Australians lead in confidence

Australian businesses are more confident than every other surveyed region, with 79 percent of Australian SMBs confident in their ability to stay open over the next six months. Nearly a third (24 percent) is higher than the global average. That confidence correlates to Australia’s management of COVID-19,  enabling businesses to stay open, when many across the world experienced tougher and longer lockdown measures. This saw local businesses fare better than most other regions, with less than half (42 percent) of Australian SMBs this year reporting lower sales than the same period last year. In contrast, the global average was 13 percent higher, indicating that Australian SMBs are rebounding quicker than their international counterparts.

Innovation acceleration

Last year businesses were required to accelerate their digitisation or risk complete closure. In the face of adversity, businesses created digital storefronts, gyms live-streamed workouts, restaurants became food delivery services, and almost everyone had to find new ways to reach customers who were locked down at home, no matter where they were around the country or world.

We saw businesses of all sizes do this but in particular SMBs. Sticky co-owners Rachel Turner and David King based in The Rocks, took their lolly business international by live streaming quirky videos to their online community. Their simple strategy resulted in building a loyal international customer base, and now 85% of their total online sales ship overseas to the US, Europe, and Asia. FADE WOMEN, co-owned by Kallie Hunter and Kurt Foggo launched their business from their Gold Coast garage at the start of the pandemic and used Instagram as their core channel to build their community. With their use of personalised ads across Instagram and Facebook, they were able to smash their start-up goal of $100,000 revenue within the first 10 months, and have since expanded their product range.

Women-led businesses earning less

The impact of the pandemic has hit female-owned businesses hardest, with many female-dominated industries more likely to have been affected, including tourism, hospitality and the arts. Of the Australian businesses reporting lower sales, over half (54 per cent) were female-owned, in stark contrast to 37 per cent of male-owned counterparts. As Australia begins the long road to recovery it’s imperative that we support women and unlock their potential to create resilient and strong communities. I would encourage anyone to revisit your favourite female-operated business and show your support. If you’re looking for inspiration, you could buy a book from My Little Bookshop or try some Australian native food with Warndu.

So what next to support Australian small businesses

Over the last year, Facebook supported more than 200 million businesses adapt and continue on. As small business continues to be the backbone of economic recovery, our efforts to expand our support for business owners continues. We’re proud to have supported them with the launch of new tools like Facebook Shops making it easier for businesses to be discovered. We provided free digital skills training with our online Boost with Facebook Australia Group, which we hope to return to physical events soon. In an effort to help even more businesses we also partnered with initiatives like Skill Finder and One Small Step to give Australians the digital skills to lead the future. In addition to tools and training, we’ve also rolled out grants to hundreds of businesses in Australia, as part of our global $100 million Small Business Grants Programme.

More needs to be done to support women and other marginalised groups who faced a heavier burden from the pandemic, and I truly believe that when small businesses thrive, Australia thrives. While we are proud of the measures we have rolled out, we understand the role we can play and are challenging ourselves to do even more.



About the Global State of Small Business Report

The Facebook Global State of Small Business Report surveyed more than 35,000 SMB leaders across 27 countries and territories in February 2021. This report investigates the effects of the pandemic on these businesses’ performance, how they have adapted to the current circumstances, and SMB leaders’ expectations for the future. It also looks at the impacts of the pandemic on women-led and minority-led SMBs. You can read the full Global State of Small Business Report here.

Connected women are key to pandemic recovery in Australia

Melinda Petrunoff, Director of Small and Medium Business, Facebook ANZ – March 8, 2021


As Australia looks towards pandemic recovery, it’s time to put women at the heart of our agenda to advance economic empowerment. Now is the time rewrite gender inequalities that have existed for too long.

Over the last few decades, research has repeatedly shown that supporting women and unlocking their entrepreneurial potential is crucial to building a resilient and healthy society. By focusing on girls and women, businesses and governments can spur economic progress, expand markets, and improve health and education outcomes for everyone.

Casey Allen, Chasing Case

While Australia has made progress in creating equal opportunities for women, COVID-19 has had harsh impacts across communities and economies. This is also why the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – Choose To Challenge – is particularly relevant, which invites us to challenge and call out gender bias and unequal treatment.

Last year we partnered with several institutions to study gender equality at home and work during COVID-19 with inputs from the World Bank Group, UN Women, Ladysmith Collective, and EqualMeasures2030. More than 460,000 people on Facebook in over 200 countries completed the survey, which resulted in a first-of-its-kind snapshot of women's and men’s access to resources, their time spent on unpaid care work, and their attitudes about equality.

These insights give us both reason to worry and reason to hope. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women all over the world – with research in Australia showing that 35 percent of women expressed concerns about the future of their jobs. The research also showed women were more likely to shoulder the responsibility to care for their family, more likely to lose their jobs or have their pay cut, and more likely to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious.

This was further confirmed by our Global State of Small Business study, in partnership with the World Bank and the OECD which showed that women-owned small-medium businesses were more likely to report that they were closed due to COVID-19, even when taking into consideration factors such as the size of business, sector, and geography. In Australia, 28 percent of all female business leaders stated they worked 6 or more hours per day on domestic responsibilities, compared to only 8 percent of males.

Tara Baker & Arlia Hassell, Dancing with Her

In Woonona, NSW, Casey Allen’s business Chasing Case grew three times larger overnight with online sales soaring last year, but she also had to look after her daughter at home, while her husband worked full-time. Despite this, Casey showed incredible resilience, and her business continued to grow while she managed those two priorities. As a result, she was able to hire 2 women from the area and offer them flexible working arrangements to help them balance their work and family commitments.

In our research, we also found that female business leaders showed greater flexibility in their business models, and were more likely to make sales through digital channels. Tara Baker & Arlia Hassell, a couple who co-own the digital magazine Dancing With Her, which started as an Instagram account. The community quickly grew to over 230,000 people which led them to create the digital magazine of the same name, plus an inclusivity consultancy for the wedding industry.

Digital fluency and connectivity can also smash barriers that stop unemployed women from pursuing careers or starting businesses. Being able to work from home and set our own working hours means that more women would be able to join the workforce.

Kerry Ridley, My Little Bookshop

A great example of this is Kerry Ridley, who owns My Little Bookshop, a portable book store in a retro 22-foot caravan, which travels to communities across regional Western Australia and sells books to eager readers. To ensure she had customers, Kerry turned to Instagram as a way to find the people who would engage with her business in these new areas, even before she arrived. The strategy paid off, with her sales increasing by 50 percent which allowed her to expand My Little Bookshop’s fleet to three roving caravans.

There are many more stories like these, among the 200 million businesses on our platforms. These stories show that economic empowerment provides lasting benefits to communities. I firmly believe that supporting women and unlocking their potential will create a more resilient, inclusive, and equal society. This is why we will continue to invest deeply into the tools and programs that provide women with a world of opportunities to connect, learn and grow.

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