It is well known that South Africa has one of the largest rates of youth unemployment in the world. As such, it was welcome to see Facebook Africa host more than 300 young entrepreneurs and marketers in partnership with South Africa's Department of Small Business Development for day focused on youth entrepreneurship and skills development.

Titled the Facebook Youth Enterprise and Skills Day, the event was aimed at inspiring young South Africans about how to build and grow business through leveraging digital marketing and the range of job opportunities available through digital technology.

“Our aim is to drive positive social and economic impact across South Africa and there can be no better way to achieve that goal than by helping to equip future generations with the skills they need to thrive in a digital age. With our researching showing that 58% of respondents plan to start their own business in the future, digital skills will be vital for these young entrepreneurs to thrive,” said Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Lead Facebook, SADC region.

Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Lead, Facebook SADC region.

The event was held on 8 June 2019 at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg and it featured South Africa's young digital entrepreneurs who also told attendees about their experiences. There were also workshops which provided knowledge on how to use Facebook, Instagram and other digital tools to grow their own businesses.

Youth digital skills training

The event falls in line with Facebook’s focus on educating youth about the employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the digital world. In a recent Facebook survey undertaken by Living Facts, which surveyed 550, 18 -25-year-olds from the country’s major metros, it found that 62% felt negatively about employment prospects in South Africa, yet only half were aware of the employment opportunities offered by the digital industry.

Previously Facebook Africa has been involved in a South African youth online safety initiative which focussed on training 1,000 South African youths aged between 13 to 18 years old across high schools and youth groups nationwide in understanding how they can stay safe online, provide practical tips and guides, whilst creating a number of youth ambassadors to provide peer-to-peer support.

This was carried out under a partnership between Facebook and Digify Africa.

Facebook Blueprint

The event witnessed a panel discussion, fireside chat and question & answer session where attendees heard from young small business owners that have used Facebook platforms to grow and reach new audiences. Sessions covered topics ranging from customer experience, digital marketing skills and digital commerce to content creation, audience management and measurement as well as advice about embarking on a technical career.

Mbali Ndhlovu, creator of I know a Guy; William Lehong, host of the event and Lebo Nefolovhodwe, from Lessons with Lion and BEOPLE.

Facebook also provided information about Facebook Blueprint, a global training and certification program about marketing on Facebook and Instagram, and Boost Your Business, events providing businesses with the most up-to-date tools, insights and best practices for achieving success on Facebook and Instagram.

“I loved having the opportunity to share my company’s story and hear about how other companies have used digital technology to grow. Facebook has helped me to build a real community around my business, and this has been one of the secrets of my success," said Lebo Nefolovhodwe, of Lessons with Lion podcast and BEOPLE.

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