Australian and New Zealand-based start-ups and small businesses can now apply to take part in social media giant Facebook’s small business accelerator program.
Twelve businesses will be selected to take part in a two-day workshop on how businesses can use Facebook to grow.
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They will receive credits towards their Facebook use and three months of ongoing support from the Facebook team.
Nick Bowditch, manager of small business for Australia and New Zealand at Facebook, says in a statement the large number of Australians using Facebook meant businesses with a strong presence on the platform could take part in these conversations.
“Many small businesses are doing great things on Facebook and we are committed in helping them continue to unlock the opportunities open to them,” Bowditch said.
The Sensis 2013 Yellow Social Media Report in May found more Australian small businesses have a social media presence than ever before, but are still far behind the number of consumers on social networks.
The report found 30% of Australian small businesses and 47% of medium-sized businesses have an online presence, well below the 65% of Australians overall who use sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
“This shows all SMEs need to make use of digital opportunities, even if it’s just being there,” Sensis executive general manager of digital partnerships and innovation Kelly Brough said at the time.
Bowditch says the Facebook Small Business Accelerator Program will see the company work with 12 businesses and support them by “fast-tracking their path to success on Facebook”.
“ We look forward to receiving submissions from businesses of all different types from across Australia and New Zealand, and working with the 12 selected businesses to help them maximise their efforts on Facebook,” he says.
According to Facebook, there are 16 million small businesses around the world using Facebook Pages.
Bowditch told StartupSmart they were looking for companies who understood the need to have a social media presence.
“The program is open to all small businesses located in Australia and New Zealand with a Facebook Page. Businesses that will stand out are those that know enough about social media to know that they should have a presence and are looking to take their social media savvy to the next level,” Bowditch says.
Applications close August 12. Winners will be announced 19 August.
You can apply here.