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FMCG major Procter and Gamble (P&G) India on Tuesday announced a fund worth 500 crore through which it aims to accelerate growth in rural areas by collaborating with external partners on innovations tailored for consumers and retailers for such markets.

The 'P&G Rural Growth Fund' will provide external partners an opportunity to collaborate with P&G on business solutions customised for meeting the needs of rural consumers, the company said in a statement.

This new fund is a part of P&G India's 'vGROW' program that focuses on identifying and collaborating with start-ups, small businesses, individuals, and large organisations offering innovative industry-leading business solutions, it added.

Commenting on the initiative, P&G Indian Subcontinent CEO Madhusudan Gopalan said, "Rural India has a pivotal role to play in India's road to recovery from the pandemic. We have already seen the rural segment deliver a resilient performance during the last few months and will continue to be a key driver of growth for the FMCG industry."

For P&G, he said, "Accelerating our growth in the rural market is a strategic priority. With this, we set up P&G's 'Rural Growth Fund' to collaborate with external partners who understand the rural DNA and can enable us to deliver our superior products, communication, retail execution and value to our rural consumers."

Gopalan further said, "We also want to invest in empowering rural kiranas with tech-enabled solutions and best practices on inventory and store management that will help them build their businesses further. We are confident that through these partnerships we will be able to contribute towards the inclusive growth of the rural economy."

Through the vGROW platform, P&G India said it engages with over 2,000 Indian suppliers, including start-ups, small businesses and large organisations from a wide range of industries and services - from creative agencies to technology partners to material suppliers.

The company also said it has launched the fourth edition of 'P&G vGROW External Business Partner Summit,' from October 19-20, 2021, which will offer a platform to existing and new suppliers to pitch their solutions to P&G's leadership team to accelerate rural growth.

Stating that the rural market is a significant contributor to the growth of the FMCG industry, P&G India said, "The opportunities of the rural market are unique and require solutions that are tailor-made to meet the needs and consumer habits of the rural consumer."

Four years ago the company had launched the vGROW program with a vision to create an active collaboration platform for external partners and suppliers across India, Gopalan said adding, "Over the years, we have invested more than 680 crore in business solutions through this platform".

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