In 2017, the Small Business Association (SBA) reported that there were almost 30 million small businesses in the United States employing almost 58 million people, which makes up almost half of the U.S. workforce. According to George Carey-Simos of WeRSM, Facebook has taken note of these statistics and has pledged to provide skills training to 1 million small business owners by 2020. Almost all job applicants report that digital skills are important in the workforce, but only a small fraction of them report having excellent digital skills. People are constantly seeking free resources that will help them develop these skills, and that is why Facebook is launching this training.

We know that giant corporations such as Amazon do a great job of creating jobs, but smaller businesses can be very successful, too. There is no shortage of people who have a great idea for a small business but lack the skills needed to create and maintain it. We hear about startups all the time, but Patrick Henry of Entrepreneur reported that “the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years is over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.” Other than the fact that running a business is just plain difficult, a huge reason some businesses fail is due to the “digital skills gap” that plagues them and leaves them behind other businesses that have the needed skills.

The SBA already offers free resources to small business owners, which can be of great assistance when coupled with Facebook’s initiatives. Facebook’s newly announced program will give people the training needed in sectors like coding and digital marketing. By using in-person and local partnerships, the program will teach individuals new skills that will allow them to get a better job. In fact, according to Carey-Simos, Facebook is also offering a similar program called Facebook Community Boost and has reported that its first “bootcamp” helped 85% of graduates find new and/or better jobs. Facebook has also trained over 160,000 small businesses through its Blueprint eLearning platform, which offers free online courses related to advertising, marketing, technological business tools (e.g. Instagram), and creative inspirations.

Technology has always been important for businesses, but it has never been as crucial as it is now. A 2017 analysis by the Freelancers Union reported that the majority of the workforce will be freelancers by 2027. Great employees are not always available to be in-office every day; therefore, being able to work remotely and communicate via the latest technology is crucial for these individuals. Many businessmen and businesswomen, especially of the older generation, aren’t used to new kinds of technology, from simple filesharing to cybersecurity. With the proper training, however, these skills will no longer be a mystery to these people.

Small businesses are tough to run, but with the right skill set and attitude, they can be successful. Katie Horne of Digital.com reported that 92% of small business owners love what they do and don’t regret their career choice. With determination, commitment, business knowledge, and newly gained technical skills (thanks to Facebook), small businesses can succeed and continue to contribute greatly to the U.S. economy.

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