On 15th September 2020, Facebook announced that it will offer a grant of $4.3 million (Rs. 32 crores) to more than 3,000 small businesses across five Indian cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru) under its Facebook small business grant programme to help businesses continue their operations amid COVID-19 pandemic.
This grant for SMBs in India is a part of Facebook’s $100 million global grant for small businesses that the platform announced back in March.
“As part of our $100 million global grant for small businesses announced back in March, today (Tuesday) we are announcing a grant of $4.3 million (Rs 32 crore) for more than 3,000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru, where Facebook has offices,” Facebook India’s MD and Vice-President Ajit Mohan said in a blog post.
The grant includes both cash and Facebook ads credits, with cash constituting a larger share, he added.
Why small businesses?
The State Of Small Bussiness Report reveals that 41 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook India reported that at least a quarter of their sales are made digitally.
Small businesses are a big priority for Facebook. Every month, 180 million small businesses globally use the Facebook family of apps to reach potential customers and build their business. That means that for every 45 people in the world, there is a Small Business present on one of Facebook’s app.
According to Mohan, the Facebook small business grant is open to small businesses of all industries and verticals, and businesses do not need to have a presence on any of the Facebook’s app in order to apply. They’re also free to do what they wish with this grant.
Earlier this year, the company invested $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms and said it would work with the Indian giant to explore ways to assist the nation’s 60 million businesses.
“The recovery of small businesses from the pandemic will be critical to the recovery of the Indian economy, and we want to do everything we can to help. Today we’re building on our commitment by announcing the small business grant for India,” said Mohan.
These gift cards, which will be issued by startups Qwikcilver and PayU, are designed to help businesses reach their potential customers online and get the instant cash flow to stay in business. Users can later redeem these gift cards at these businesses.
Mohan said accessing gift cards on Facebook and Instagram is free for businesses, and the company has tied up with multiple partners to enable the issuance and management of these gift cards.
Preparing Small Businesses For Future
“As small businesses pivot to online, they need constant support and skills to scale themselves. We have skilled thousands of businesses since the pandemic began by taking our industry-leading skilling programs online,” Mohan said.
In May, Facebook’s flagship global program for skilling young businesses, Boost with Facebook, went virtual in India. Other India-focused programs such as the Facebook Advertiser Vintage program and VC Brand Incubator initiative have also gone virtual.
As part of this initiative, Facebook has started Campaign Lab to help direct-to-consumer businesses get creative solutions support, and go live with mobile-friendly creatives and strategy in under 72 hours.
“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.
As businesses will be affirming to a more digital business model, Facebook will be lending a hand to support them through convenient skilling and training, including the ones that get the grant.
Facebook recently extended its application deadline to 28th September 2020. So in case, your business is in immediate need of cash and financial support, you can check the eligibility criteria and sign up for Facebook India’s small business grant here.
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