On Wednesday 22 November 2017, Facebook announced a new nationwide initiative in Nigeria which, according to the company, will further cement its commitment and investment in the country, and across the continent. Incorporating a series of high profile partnerships, training programmes and a physical space that will serve as a center for learning and skills development, this set of initiatives is aimed at helping to develop and nurture communities, including small businesses, the tech and start-up ecosystem, youths and creatives.
“In Nigeria, more than 22 million people use Facebook every month and 87% of SMEs say that when they hire, digital skills are more important than where an applicant went to school. This demonstrates that the power of digital skills to aid economic growth and development has never been more important”, commented Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa. “At Facebook, our mission is clear: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Our investments and commitments announced in Lagos today further reflect our intent to partner with Nigeria’s policymakers and its vibrant tech and entrepreneurial eco-system to create economic opportunity and independence in Nigeria and across Africa.’’
NG_HUB from Facebook
In partnership with CC Hub, Facebook will be opening the doors to its first community Hub space in the heart of Lagos, which is scheduled to open early next year. According to the company, ‘NG_HUB from Facebook’ will be a multi-faceted creative space, which will connect and bring together developers, start-ups and the wider community to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas. The NG_HUB will also host a start-up incubator programme, as well as bespoke trainings, guest speakers and a dedicated event space, all aimed at attracting the best talent and driving innovation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.
Additionally, across Nigeria, Facebook will be supporting a number of existing tech Hubs to serve the communities outside Lagos. The hubs will function as learning centres for local communities, providing multiple opportunities for training and access.
Commenting on the announcement of NG_HUB in partnership with CC Hub, and Facebook’s further support of local hubs across Nigeria, Emeka Afigbo Head of Platform Partnerships, Middle East & Africa said “Nigeria is producing a new generation of exciting start-ups that have incredible potential. We understand the important role Facebook plays here in Nigeria with developers and start-ups and are invested in helping these communities build for the next billion. One of our key passions at Facebook is nurturing and helping to develop the tech and start-up community, and I’m excited to announce our partnership with the Nigerian tech hub ecosystem especially the NG_HUB space, here in Lagos.”
Facebook Nigeria Skills Programmes
Facebook also revealed its commitment to working with Nigerian small businesses, tech entrepreneurs and the next generation of leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for economic growth. Launching a series of learning-based programmes facilitated by local training partners, these have been designed to provide skills that lead to employment and to support the growth of small businesses. The goal is to train and support over 50,000 students, small businesses and creative entrepreneurs across the country through a series of scaled digital skills trainings, as well as long-term impact programmes.
The training programmes will include:
· Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Digital (in partnership with the Fate Foundation) – a four-week intensive programme for entrepreneurs across Nigeria. This will be offered throughout the year in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu
· Jobs for Youth: Coding for Employment – a training programme to develop Nigeria’s next generation of coders – designed to upskill developers and prepare them for employment
· Boost your Business: designed for small, medium sized businesses owners, teaching the fundamentals of digital marketing for business growth, with the goal to help business owners better understand their brand, audience and how to best reach and service them online
· Creative Entrepreneurship Training: specialised training designed specifically for creatives, including photographers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, bloggers and other creative content creators
· Online Safety + Digital Literacy Training in Schools and Universities: featuring a series of online safety and digital literacy courses for secondary school and university students
Ahead of the programme launch, Facebook undertook a detailed ‘Economic Impact Study’ to further understand how communities like small businesses and consumers in Nigeria use the platform, and the effectiveness of social media as a growth tool. Nearly 1 in 2 small businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform, and 62% stated they have been able to use Facebook to help find employees for their business, whilst over half (58%) of small businesses on the platform say they have been able to hire more employees’ due to growth since joining Facebook.