A Facebook sign is seen during the China International Import Expo, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China. Picture: REUTERS/ALY SONG
A Facebook sign is seen during the China International Import Expo, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China. Picture: REUTERS/ALY SONG

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we’re talking to social media giant Facebook about its support for small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook Africa’s regional director, together with Glenda Ramathavha, a businessperson from Limpopo.

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The conversation begins with Ntshingila talking about what effect Covid-19 has had on Facebook’s operations in the region. As more people have had to stay at home to adhere to social distancing guidelines, Ntshingila says their first mission has been making sure that users stay connected and there’s no interruption to services.

The company has 3.1-billion users across its platforms, including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza.
Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza.

She then talks about the company’s efforts to support small businesses that ordinarily use Facebook to do business but which have been negatively affected by the pandemic and lockdowns.

The Silicon Valley company recently announced a grant of about R8.5m to support 217 small businesses in SA, as part of its $100m Global Grants Programme, which aims to support 30,000 small to medium businesses in over 30 countries. With applications closing soon, Ntshingila explains how business owners can apply for the grant.

The discussion then turns to Ramathavha, who runs Glenz Cakes, a baking based enterprise in Thohoyandou.

Ramathavha, who was recently featured in a book by Facebook called Inspiring #Changemakers: Lessons  from Life and Business, is now in the process of building two bakeries in rural areas and writing her first cookbook.

She talks about her business, its founding and how she was able to build a social media following to grow Glenz Cake. Ramathavha highlights how social media has helped to grow her enterprise but also explains some of the reasons many small businesses are still reluctant to join the digital revolution.

Apart from a fear of the unknown, she says many people are fearful of handing over financial information and detail to online platforms. She hopes that stories like hers will help more to realise that embracing digital is the way forward for business that want to expand their reach beyond Covid-19.

For more episodes, click here.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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