Facebook's knows that small business owners are the next generation of marketers. Source: Shutterstock

Facebook’s knows that small business owners are the next generation of marketers. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s how Facebook is grooming the next generation of businesses

SMEs in Singapore employ about 10 workers on average and contribute close to SG$900,000 (US$662,100) in gross value to the economy. They also spend big on ads, especially on digital platforms.

Therefore, they’re an attractive cluster to companies such as Google and Facebook.

Facebook partnered with IMDA, for example, to create a program for a smaller subgroup of SMEs — startups. Dubbed Startup Station Singapore, the program supports innovative data-driven startups that are developing the next generation of business solutions today.

The company’s focus on startups is understandable given that they’re inherently ambitious and more likely to scale-up quickly, increasing spends on digital platforms among other things.

Obviously, Facebook intends to support this group of businesses because they’re the ones that receive the least amount of support and advice on scaling and growing their business in a digital-first world.

In an interview with Facebook Director of Developer Partnerships and Programs in the APAC Virginia Yang, Tech Wire Asia learned how the company is helping startups and supporting other groups in the region to groom the next generation of marketers and business owners:

“At Facebook we believe that in order to continue building the future we need to build together, build great technology and ultimately build a strong community of innovators and startups.

“This is what we hope to do through the Startup Station Singapore. We believe in giving people the power to build community, and are committed to supporting the ecosystem in Asia to help the startups grow at home and globally.”

Startup Station is just one initiative that the company has launched in the last year to support startups in the region. Following the launch, Facebook went on regional roadshows in five different cities – Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and Singapore – to engage startups from across Southeast Asia.

“We learned that the biggest challenge for startups is scaling, and finding connections to industry mentors in Asia.

“We also learned that support cannot be tech support alone. To succeed, startups need access to a holistic approach to growing their businesses, including product management and help driving to product market fit, recruiting talent and growing their teams and culture, as well as identifying and marketing to their target audiences.”

Facebook also launched Tech Hubs globally and has grown its Developer Circles program to better engage with future leaders.

“Our tech hubs support startups and developers through startup acceleration, virtual reality labs, and technical trainings. We currently have 15 tech hubs around the world, including in UK, India, Korea, France, Brazil, Nigeria and most recently Singapore.”

Although Facebook isn’t the only platform trying to mold the minds of tomorrow’s business leaders, it’s doing a pretty good job providing support and building a community that even regulators such as the IMDA approve of and value.

In the coming months, expect more such programs across Southeast Asia, as SMEs, especially startups quickly morph into the biggest spenders on digital platforms.