Facebook sets up entrepreneur lab in Brazilian 'favela'

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Facebook has opened a lab to provide digital marketing skills for residents of a São Paulo low-income community.

The project in the Heliópolis 'favela' is part of the Facebook for Entrepreneurs program focusing on communities, youth, startups and business guidance, the company said in a statement.

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The center caters to local retailers and small shop owners, and is equipped with 15 computers, which are permanently available to all Heliópolis residents when not being used for classes.

There are about 5,000 small retailers in the community of 200,000 residents, which is considered the second-largest 'favela' in São Paulo.

The company says around 90% of Heliópolis people use the social network, but 86% of its retailers do not have a Facebook page or "do not know how to leverage their business through Facebook," the company said.

The lab was launched in partnership with micro and small business support service Sebrae and the IAB Brasil institute, as well as local residents association UNAS, which provided the venue. The launch was attended by high-ranking officials such as science, tech and innovation minister (MCTI) Aldo Rebelo.

Brazilians are the third largest community on Facebook, with 91mn users.