Powering The Economic Recovery Of Small Business In India

Facebook today shared new initiatives to support small businesses in India as they continue to face economic uncertainties in the wake of the pandemic. The announcement includes approximately USD 4.3 million (INR 32 Crore) in grants for small businesses in India. To help small businesses impacted by COVID-19, today Facebook is also announcing that businesses on Facebook and Instagram now have the capabilities to drive the discovery and sale of Gift Cards that could help lakhs of small businesses across the country get cash flow when they need it the most. 

The company also announced the findings of the State of Small Business Report, an ongoing research collaboration between Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey small and medium-sized businesses around the world, including India, in the context of COVID-19. The aim of the survey is to provide a window into SMBs’ experiences amid COVID-19. According to the study, more than a third of operational SMBs on Facebook expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months.

“Small businesses are a big priority for Facebook. The recovery of small businesses from the pandemic will be critical to the recovery of Indian economy, and we want to do everything we can to help. As part of our USD 100 million global grant for small businesses announced back in March, today we are announcing a grant of USD 4.3 million (INR 32 crores) for more than 3000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Facebook has offices,” said Ajit Mohan, MD and VP at Facebook India in a blog post

The India grant is part of the $100 million grant for small businesses across 30 countries that Facebook had announced in March. Applications are open from 15th September to 21st September. The grant includes both cash and ad credits, with cash constituting a larger share.  Businesses do not need to have a Facebook presence in order to apply.They are also free to do what they wish to do with this grant. 

Since the pandemic began, several small businesses have moved online to ensure business continuity and growth. The State of Small Business Report revealed that 41% of operational SMBs on Facebook India reported that at least a quarter of their sales are made digitally. As small businesses adapt to new businesses models that are built on digital, Facebook is looking for ways to make their offline to online journey seamless.

“To help small businesses impacted by COVID-19, today we’re announcing that Facebook and Instagram have launched capabilities for businesses to drive discovery and sale of Gift Cards. Digital gift cards will help them reach more potential customers online. They will also enable small businesses to get cash flow when they need it the most, and even when physical stores might be shut,” said Mohan in his post.

Configuring Gift Cards on Facebook and Instagram is free for businesses, and we have tied up with multiple partners to enable the issuance and management of Gift Cards.

The Report findings indicate green shoots for the sector. 53% of operational SMBs on Facebook India feel optimistic about the future of their business. The easing of lockdown measures has enabled SMBs to reopen, as India saw closure rates fall from 47% to 34%, according to the survey findings.

Equipping small businesses with the skills to adapt

These new initiatives come on the back of several other efforts by Facebook since the pandemic began to help entrepreneurs move from offline to online and adapt in real time. In May, Facebook’s flagship global program for skilling young businesses, Boost with Facebook, went virtual in India, and saw four times more registrations than the on-ground events used to receive. India-specific VC Brand Incubator initiative, which works with venture capital funds to skill small businesses has also gone virtual. As part of this initiative, Facebook has started Campaign Lab to help direct-to-consumer businesses get creative solutioning support, and go live with mobile friendly creatives and strategy in under 72 hours. As businesses adapt to digital businesses models, Facebook will continue to support them, including the ones that get the grant, through timely skilling and training. 

“The real power of digital infrastructure gets unleashed as startups and small businesses come online, and new opportunities arise across verticals. What the pandemic has shown us is that digital is no longer just an alternate channel for brands to connect with consumers, but a fundamental driver of step change in business outcomes,” added Mohan

For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for a grant, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants


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