Iowa’s largest city is among the first five in the country to be included in an initiative launched by Facebook that’s designed to help small businesses and job seekers sharpen their social media skills.
A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds 57% of small business owners say they lack familiarity with available on-line tools. Aneesh Raman, Facebook’s manager of economic growth initiatives, says that’s why training is essential.
“Small businesses aren’t just anchors of local communities, but really are the engine of our economy,” Raman says. “As you know, four out of five new jobs every year are created by small businesses.” In November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to start the program, “Community Boost,” aimed at showing small businesses and people in the job market how to expand their digital abilities. Raman says more companies looking to hire want people with on-line abilities.
“We’re starting to see, in Iowa for example, 58% of small businesses say an individuals’ digital and social media skills, a new applicants’ skills, are important,” Raman says. “That’s almost as high a percentage as where someone went to school.”
St. Louis, Houston, Albuquerque, and Greenville, South Carolina, join Des Moines in being the first of 30 cities in the Community Boost project. A team from Facebook will meet with small business managers and job seekers in Des Moines the first full week of June.
(Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio)