Facebook supports African SMBs, launches digital gift card initiative

kon karampelas HUBofEFQ6CA unsplashFacebook has announced that it will offer all its economic impact programmes virtually as the platform aims to equip small businesses with digital marketing skills to help them stay open, connect with and acquire new customers to survive the challenges posed by Coronavirus

Facebook’s economic impact programmes include Boost with Facebook currently implemented in 11 African countries, targeting more than 41,000 small businesses, SheMeansBusiness available in Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal reaching 7,500 participants, Digify Pro offered in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa with 230 participants and Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme which works with 360 participants in Nigeria.

These programmes, available virtually from 23 June 2020, will include 90 minute long Instructor-led live webinar sessions featuring presentations, demonstrations, lectures and virtual discussions.

As part of this there will also be Facebook/Instagram Live sessions that will feature business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups who will provide seminars and talks on various topics, with trainers also hosting ‘office hours’ to accommodate questions asked by participants.

Phil Oduor, policy programmes manager for economic impact and digital literacy at Facebook, said, “We know that businesses all over the continent, especially small businesses, are experiencing unexpected challenges. These specially curated programmes will provide much-needed support and advice to SMBs looking to build, establish and grow their businesses.”

Digital gift card for small business

Israeli startup Rise.ai, which offers AI-powered customer re-engagement solutions such as gift cards, loyalty cards, rewards, and refunds, is making its services available for purchase on Facebook and Instagram in a new partnership with the tech giant.

The new feature will allow small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs/SMEs) to sell digital gift cards to their local community through Facebook and Instagram, using customers’ geo-location.

These new offerings will enable businesses to reach more new customers, increase traffic, and maintain their activity during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic requires businesses to sell and engage with merchants on more channels and to find more effective ways to prosper,” said Yair Miron, founder and CEO of Rise.ai. “Since COVID-19 started to affect the market, we see tremendous need for advanced digital gift cards and store credit solutions to fuel the growth of merchants.”

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