Jo(e) Social Media was founded in 2012 by co-owners Jo Phillips (left) and Joe Whitbread. Photo Submitted

Jo(e) Social Media was founded in 2012 by co-owners Jo Phillips (left) and Joe Whitbread. Photo Submitted

Lacombe’s Jo(e) Social Media gives back to youth with help of a national grant

The local company values the community and wants to help the next generation achieve their dreams

Jo(e) Social Media was the recipient of a grant in June that was aimed at helping small Canadian businesses stay afloat during COVID-19. The money came at a perfect time for the company as they had just launched a new venture, Jo(e) Youth Creative.

Right as Alberta first began to see COVID-19 numbers rise, Jo(e) Social Media co-owners Joe Whitbread and Jo Phillips opened the Youth Creative Centre.

The $10,000 grant helped with infrastructure and technology used in many of the youth programs. Programs include gaming, YouTube and TikTok clubs along with day camps.

“To not only get the money but to get it from people who are saying ‘yes’ you know what, we understand and trust what you’re doing. That’s more valuable to us than the money itself,” said Whitbread.

Like most businesses this year, Jo(e) Social Media has had to adapt and change to comply with COVID-19 orders. Even though they are a digital marketing firm, many of their workshops, clubs and presentations rely on in-person interactions.

Pre-COVID-19, Whitbread and Phillips often volunteered and spoke in Central Alberta schools to children about social media. After their interactions with locals, they saw a need for a program that nurtures kids’ interest in social media creation.

The Jo(e) team still offers presentations for schools and organizations that help children and adults understand that TikTok, YouTube and Instagram are all viable places to start careers and have hobbies.

These virtual presentation options have allowed the Lacombe business to reach more clients in locations across the country. However, this isn’t the main goal for Whitbread and Phillips.

“We really like engaging with local businesses,” said Whitbread.

“We teach local social connection and the community level component. The stuff that frankly, we’ve proven we’re good at,” he added.

To end Small Business week, this Saturday is the fourth annual Lacombe Business and Community awards.

As a finalist in the small business category, Jo(e) Social Media is showing their commitment to the community by helping the event continue despite COVID-19. The event will be live-streamed out of the YouTube Studio.

The team was thrilled to be nominated for the small business category after only being in Lacombe for the past four years.

They have big plans for the future, including a podcasting studio, but for now, they are just trying to stay afloat.

“Right now we’re just holding on tight treading water like the rest of Central Alberta and hoping things sway and in a place where we can hire more people and roll out these new programs,” said Whitbread.