‘Strive for Growth’ e-commerce training program for small businesses

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Supporting small businesses across Latin America to increase their online sales by providing e-commerce training content through active MSE Facebook community groups.

Why this program?

  • Latin America has many vibrant Facebook communities where small business owners congregate to exchange information, find support, and trade.
  • Strive Community programs have shown that social media is a powerful tool for reaching these small businesses at scale, but only when campaigns are delivered to active and engaged groups of entrepreneurs. 
  • Despite social media being an effective promotional tool, less than 1% of small businesses reached spend time engaging with content on these platforms. Instead, most content engagement happens on dedicated learning platforms. 
  • This program combines these learnings to harness the powerful reach of social media to promote and drive learners to more in-depth training materials on our Strive for Growth learning platform (ES: Hora de Crecer, PT: Hora de Crescer).

Program overview

This project aims to upskill Latin American small businesses selling online by promoting training content through active communities of small business owners on Facebook. The training content - developed by TechnoServe with support from Strive Community - is designed to support social and e-commerce businesses to grow their customer base, increase sales and profits, and boost customer satisfaction.  

Each Facebook community engaged through this initiative has a different identity and unique membership of small businesses. However, they have all created and fostered a spirit of trust and shared values among their members, offering a safe space for peer-to-peer engagement. The communities support MSEs as they transact in real time, providing a unique mix of mentoring, capacity building, and marketing support.

The aim of this project is to distribute relevant training content to support the growth of their online businesses by making use of the social capital, reach and trust present in these groups. Based on insights from previous initiatives, we hypothesize that small business owners will be more likely to engage with relevant content when it’s shared within such credible fora. These are spaces where entrepreneurs are used to asking questions, sharing advice and supporting one another.

And so through the project, Facebook group owners will distribute a bespoke social media campaign within their groups to promote the Strive for Growth (ES: Hora de Crecer, PT: Hora de Crescer) e-commerce training course among relevant small businesses. Group owners will engage with any questions or comments that arise as a result of the campaign.

Through the social media campaign, tips and tricks - based on the course material - will be shared on how to optimize an online small business, as well as how to access the full version of the e-commerce training course.

In addition to learning whether these trusted communities foster greater social engagement, we hope to understand what kind of messaging is most effective at driving traffic to the online course. To that end, there will be a variety of posts containing images, videos, polls, infographics and different calls to action to encourage engagement and click-through to the training material.

At the same time as rolling out this program with Hoob Marketing, we are also making the “Strive for Growth” learning material available to corporate partners across Latin America so that it may benefit small businesses more widely. These “scale partners” will either host the content within their own digital ecosystem or direct the small businesses in their networks to the Strive Community platform. Our first partner in the region is BBVA Microfinance Foundation, who will promote the “Hora de Crecer” Spanish language content through five of their regional microfinance institutions.  

About Hoob Marketing

Hoob is a digital marketing agency specializing in impact projects, working with education partners and virtual communities to strengthen and drive the growth of small businesses in Latin America. Through Strive, Hoob will distribute educational content to approximately half a million small entrepreneurs in the region.

About Dotsy

Dotsy is one of the initial community groups participating in this initiative. It is a virtual supercommunity with more than 300,000 members, focusing on small entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals and artisans. Founded in 2015, the community has generated a positive impact through digital and financial inclusion for over eight years, recognized in Brazil and internationally.

About Clube da Borboleta 

Clube da Borboleta is also one of the first community groups to join the program. It is a collaborative and gender inclusive initiative that was born in 2012 in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, and currently connects and empowers around 285,000 women as agents of transformation in their lives and in their community.

About BBVA Microfinance Foundation

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF), a nonprofit institution, promotes sustainable development of vulnerable entrepreneurs in Latin America. Its 5 Microfinance Institutions currently provide a wide range of financial products and services to three million low-income entrepreneurs to whom it also facilitates financial education, business and digital training. Moreover BBVAMF’s institutions offer training through open and free learning platforms:

We know Facebook is an effective channel for reaching millions of small businesses across Latin America. By collaborating with the entrepreneurial owners of trusted community groups, we hope to not only reach the micro-enterprises they serve, but actually increase engagement with bespoke digital training materials that can boost their online sales.

Luz Gomez

Vice President, Social Impact - LAC, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

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