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Google India on Wednesday said it has partnered with third-party online platforms such as Instamojo, Zoho, Swiggy and Dunzo to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) build their digital presence as more and more consumers turn to online purchases amid the pandemic.

“We are partnering with the industry leaders to offer more support to help small businesses go digital. The most pressing need though is on the consumer demand side, and to aid that we have launched a nation-wide campaign Make Small Strong...", said Shalini Girish, customer solutions director at Google India.

As part of the initiative, Google has brought on board two delivery platforms Dunzo and Swiggy to help small-scale restaurants do business online. They will provide additional support to small businesses to start accepting orders online and enable delivery logistics. SMBs can avail Dunzo’s 24x7 merchant support for free, with zero sign-up fees and instant registration and can make use of Swiggy’s seven days ‘Fast track Onboarding’.

Small businesses will be able to create business websites using software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zoho inventory platform and sell online through Zoho Commerce for free till 31 March, 2021.

Digital payment gateway Instamojo, on the other hand, is offering a six-month free subscription to its ‘Premium Online Store Solution’ hand holding small businesses to set up their online shops. All these initiatives will be available for SMBs on Grow with Google Small Business hub in India.

“Instamojo currently serves over 1.3 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country to start, manage and grow their business online. Given the current circumstances, our mission is more important than ever to unlock the potential of digital and internet to startups and MSMEs in India. We are excited to partner with Google for this campaign and extend Instamojo's offerings to help small businesses in India fight the pandemic," added Akash Gehani, co-founder, Instamojo.

Google said it is also investing in efforts to scale its outreach to help small businesses learn the use of digital tools in local Indian languages. As part of this effort, Google has worked closely with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) to drive an industry-wide skilling programme which has already trained 1.2 million individuals.

Google will also launch a new show in partnership with state broadcaster Doordarshan called Namaste Digital, serving as a mass media programme for SMBs to educate about Internet and help them grow their business.

In July, Google had launched Grow with Google Small Business hub in India, which serves as a single destination for small businesses access products and tools they need to go digital and also resources like quick help videos, support pages to learn digital skills.

The search giant has also introduced new features on Google My Business app and Google Pay for business. The company claims that over 3 million SMBs have started using Google Pay. The payment platform has recently started offering loans to SMEs as well. Google has announced investments of $10 billion in Google for India Digitisation Fund that includes digitisation of small businesses as well.

India has over 60 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and some estimates suggest that 10-15% of them could wind up during the year. Crisil Ltd in a recent report, titled The Epicentre Of An Existential Crisis, said the MSME sector’s revenue growth is seen plunging 17-21% in 2020-21, which in turn will lead to operating margins shrinking.

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