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Facebook to give away $6.5 million of free ads to help start-ups and small firms

50,000 small businesses across Europe and the UK will benefit from free advertising and get advice on making the most of social media.

Facebook dld 2012 01 24Enlarge
Speaking at the 2012 Digital Life Design conference in Munich today, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said that “increasingly, social media means growth and jobs… [and] is proving particularly valuable for small and medium-sized businesses, which form the backbone of the European economy." (Nadine Rupp/Getty Images)

LONDON, UK – Facebook has announced plans to help thousands of small businesses across Europe and the UK by giving away free advertising worth $6.5 million, as part of a series of initiatives aimed at helping small firms make the most of social media.

50,000 small firms across the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy will receive up to $130 each of ad credits to use on Facebook’s site as part of the company’s Ad Boost program, Sky News reports.

In addition, Facebook is organizing a series of events across the UK over the next six months in conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce (which represents UK business interests around the world), to show small businesses how can they can effectively set up a Facebook page and engage potential customers.

The Silicon Valley-based social media giant will also create and deliver e-book toolkits on the subject for small firms and start-ups, as part of joint project with Enterprise Nation, a small business support company.

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Today a report commissioned by Facebook and published by accountancy firm Deloitte concluded that Facebook supports 232,000 jobs across Europe, benefiting the UK alone to the tune of more than $3.4 billion a year, according to the Guardian.

Speaking at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in Munich, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “The report shows that Facebook is about a lot more than sharing pictures or keeping up with friends. Increasingly, social media means growth and jobs… [and] is proving particularly valuable for small and medium-sized businesses, which form the backbone of the European economy,” the UK Press Agency reported.

In addition to the Ad Boost program, Facebook has also joined the “Next Gen Skills” campaign, which aims at training young people “to join and lead the UK’s digital, creative and hi-tech industries,” and said it would publish a report on the “digital skills gap” in the UK, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/120124/facebook-give-away-65-million-free-ads-help-start-ups-and-small-f