Social media giant Facebook is offering USD 4.3 million in grants to more than 3,000 small businesses across five Indian cities, to help them tide over the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is part of Facebook’s USD 100 million grant plan announced in March to help small businesses in 30 countries during these difficult times.
The money from the Facebook Small Business Grants Program can be used to retain staff and pay the rent. The company has partnered with Goodera for this venture.
”As part of our USD 100 million global grant for small businesses announced back in March, today (Tuesday) we are announcing a grant of USD 4.3 million for more than 3,000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, where Facebook has offices,” Facebook India MD and Vice-President Ajit Mohan said in a blogpost.
The grant includes both cash and ad credits, with cash constituting a larger share, he added.
The grant is open to all businesses and they do not need to have a Facebook presence or any such guidelines to apply.
“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.
“It means that for every 45 people in the world, there is a small business present on the Facebook family of apps,” he said.
Facebook intends to play a larger role in how businesses pick up in the coming decade in large economies like India, especially with greater digital adoptions..
“We hope that our grant, along with the numerous other steps that we are taking to aid the recovery of small businesses can help some of them emerge from the crisis,” he said.
Recently, Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank, surveyed small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world, including India, in the context of COVID-19.
As per the India findings, more than a third of operational small and medium businesses (SMBs) on Facebook India expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months. The survey also revealed that 41 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook India reported that at least a quarter of their sales are made digitally.
Facebook and Instagram have also launched Gift cards for these small businesses. Gift cards will help small businesses reach more potential customers online. Mohan said configuring gift cards on Facebook and Instagram is free and the company has tied up with multiple partners for issuing these gift cards.
Another survey done by Facebook in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group showed that digitally influenced purchases increased by up to 15-20 percent in urban consumers in only three months for key consumer categories.
“As small businesses pivot to online, they need constant support and skilling to scale themselves… We have skilled thousands of businesses since the pandemic began by taking our industry-leading skilling programs online,” he said.
Facebook”s flagship program for skilling small businesses ”Boost with Facebook” went virtual in India in May and saw more than 12,000 people register for it.
In India, SMEs have to submit their application between 15 and 21 September 2020. Eligibility criterion is
- SMEs that have 2-50 employees as on January 1, 2020
- Have been in business for over a year
- Experienced challenges from Covid-19
- Be in or near a location where Facebook operates (New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru)
- Have GST registration certificate
- Have Business PAN
- Be a for-profit company
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