New Delhi: WhatsApp on Wednesday said that it had partnered with Invest India for a programme that focuses on the proliferation of start-ups, promoting economic growth and generating employment opportunities in India.

The Facebook Inc.-owned messaging service said that it would invest $250,000 as seed funding in the top five winners of the ‘WhatsApp StartUp Challenge’ and an additional $250,000 will be directed to a select few from the entrepreneurial community to promote their WhatsApp business number on Facebook and drive discovery of their businesses.

Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors in India. I t focuses on sector-specific investor targeting and development of new partnerships to enable sustainable investments in India. This partnership is one of the largest corporate partnerships Invest India has entered into so far.

Commerce and Industry minister Suresh Prabhu, while addressing the audience at the launch event on Wednesday, said, “The start-up community is the future of India and through this platform millions of youths in the country will be employed."

The move would help fuel the growth of India’s entrepreneurial and small business community, said the messaging giant in a statement

Invest India is also working with WhatsApp to drive awareness about its business tools in around 15 states impacting over 60,000 businesses in the coming months through the Startup India ‘Yatra’ programme and other in-person training events.

“India adds over three start-ups a day, ranking it among the top start-up nations in the world. A significant number of start-ups is spearheaded by women. In fact, women-led start-ups are increasing by over 100% per annum," said Deepak Bagla, CEO & MD, Invest India.

Commenting on the partnership, Chris Daniels, vice-president, WhatsApp, said, “WhatsApp cares deeply about helping businesses connect with customers and grow. We’re excited to work closely with Startup India by supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups to become engines of economic growth."

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