Ajit Mohan, MD and VP at Facebook India said that the grant will be offered to more than 3,000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Facebook has offices
Social media giant Facebook has announced $4.3 million (Rs 32 crore) grants to support small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in India as they continue to face economic uncertainties in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is a part of $100 million global grant for small businesses announced by Facebook in March this year.
Ajit Mohan, MD and VP at Facebook India, said that the grant will be offered to more than 3,000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Facebook has offices. The grant includes both cash and ad credits, with cash constituting a larger share.
"The grant program is open to small businesses from all industries and verticals, and businesses do not need to have a Facebook family of apps presence in order to apply. They are also free to do what they wish to do with this grant," Mohan said.
To help small businesses impacted by COVID-19, Facebook and Instagram have also launched gift cards feature to India, which will allow businesses to get cash flow when they need it the most, and even when physical stores might be shut. Gift cards will also help small businesses reach more potential customers online.
Configuring gift cards on Facebook and Instagram is free for businesses, and the social media platforms have tied up with multiple partners to enable the issuance and management of Gift Cards.
Facebook India's MD said that 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, which means that for every 45 people in the world, there is a small business present on the apps, he said.
Mohan also announced the findings of a survey on the condition of small and medium-sized businesses around the world, including India, in the context of COVID-19. As per the survey, which was conducted by Facebook in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, more than a third of operational SMBs on Facebook India expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months. "We hope that our grant, along with the numerous other steps that we're taking to aid the recovery of small businesses, can help some of them emerge from the crisis," he said.
The SMB Survey also revealed that 41 per cent of operational SMBs on Facebook India reported that at least a quarter of their sales are made digitally. More than half of operational SMBs on Facebook India also said that they feel optimistic about the future of their business.
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, Ajit Mohan said.
By Chitranjan Kumar