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"We believe that small and medium businesses have transformational potential and we are here to help them unlock that potential," says Facebook MENA's Head of Public Policy.
Facebook has just hosted its first Boost Your Business event in Cairo, welcoming 400 small and medium enterprises to learn from businesses that have used Facebook to grow and establish connections.
“We want to play a bigger role in taking that success to even higher levels," says Nashwa Aly, Facebook MENA's Head of Public Policy. "We believe that small and medium businesses have transformational potential and we are here to help them unlock that potential. When they flourish, they brighten economic prospects by creating stronger, more vibrant and more cohesive communities, and this is what Facebook is about.”
Today tens of millions of businesses around the world have utilised Facebook and Instagram to get started, connect with customers to grow, trade and hire. In Egypt 23 million people actively use Facebook daily, while 37 million actively use Facebook each month via mobile phone; 71 percent of whom are connected to at least one local startup or SME.
“Egypt values the innovative thinking of its youth who are aware of the present and future challenges and work diligently to meet them head on. I am pleased to be here today, witnessing firsthand the evolution and development of the entrepreneurial framework. You are building your own future and the Egyptian government fully backs and supports you," says Hossam Othman, Advisor to the Minister of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "We are fully aware that SMBs are a vital element in the growth of any economy or market, and we consider them our essential partner in our efforts to shift to a digital economy and build a knowledge based society.”
According to Othman, the ministry is working on creating an environment that fosters the growth of a digital economy through several programs and initiatives; Those include setting up a supporting legislative environment through the recently passed IT crimes law; regulating the gathering and use of Egyptians’ personal data and information; encouraging investments in data hosting centers; as well as working on a draft law regulating electronic transaction service providers. "All of our efforts are geared towards achieving the necessary balance between digital data protection, driving companies to invest, while preserving the rights of the government,” he adds.
Facebook’s diverse and free tools supporting business growth and enhancing digital skills include its new kobs tool allowing businesses to post new openings, while helping candidates find jobs more easily and allowing them to apply directly on Facebook. They also include solutions like Pages, training programmes like Community Boost and free e-learning tools like Blueprint, as well as new digital skills training programmes like Boost Your Business. "In cities all over the world, local businesses create more than 60 percent of new jobs,” says Aly. “We want to help local businesses grow so they can hire more people and make communities even stronger."
Main Image: From panel at Boost Your Business, Courtesy of Facebook.
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