Facebook offers free digital skills training for 10,000 Irish SMEs

27 May 2021

Image: © Thaspol/Stock.adobe.com

The Boost with Facebook programme will provide digital skills training to help businesses grow their online footprint, establish an online shopfront and reach new audiences.

Thousands of SMEs in Ireland will be able to avail of free digital skills training with a new Facebook initiative that aims to help businesses recover from the pandemic.

Facebook Ireland has today (27 May) announced its intentions to train more than 10,000 small Irish businesses with digital skills.

The Boost with Facebook programme aims to help businesses grow their online footprint, establish an online shopfront, connect with new customers and reach new audiences.

As well as free digital skills training, Facebook will also offer specific training to industries that have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, such as retail and tourism.

Businesses can register for the training by visiting Facebook Ireland’s new business training website, which includes virtual on-demand training and upcoming sessions hosted throughout the year by Enterprise Nation.

A rapidly changing marketplace

The announcement comes following Facebook’s latest report on small businesses, which highlighted some of the challenges SMEs have faced during the pandemic.

The report found that, of the Irish businesses that remained open during the pandemic, 62pc experienced lower sales and 25pc reduced employment.

However, online sales have offered a lifeline to many businesses over the past year. A recent Irish e-commerce report from Wolfgang Digital showed a surge in e-commerce revenue of 159pc in 2020, compared to an average annual growth of 32pc between 2017 and 2019.

Facebook’s director of global business, David Harris, said business owners in Ireland are learning to embrace the benefits of digital and social media channels, but for some, the pivot to online retail can be daunting.

“Through the Boost with Facebook programme, we will offer 10,000 small businesses in Ireland free training that will provide them with the digital skills to compete in what is a rapidly changing marketplace,” he said.

The latest initiative follows the tech giant’s announcement of €4.7m in grant funding to more than 1,000 small businesses in Dublin, Cork and Meath in September last year.

The grant was a combination of cash and ad credits to help businesses rebuild and recover operations that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google also pledged last year to help 60,000 Irish SMEs with its own digital skills initiative.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic