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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Facebook announces 32 crore grant for SMBs in India

  • The programme involves a total of $100 million in cash and advertisement credits, though Facebook says cash constitutes a larger share

Social media giant Facebook, today announced a 32 crore ($4.3 million) grant for small businesses in India. The money is part of a small business grants programme Facebook had announced globally in March this year. The programme involves a total of $100 million in cash and advertisement credits, though Facebook says cash constitutes a larger share.

Facebook’s India Head, Ajit Mohan, said the company will be disseminating the fund to over 3000 small businesses (SMBs) in India in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, cities where Facebook has offices.

Mohan also said that the SMBs won’t be required to use Facebook technologies or even be a customer for the company. Applications for the same will be opened soon. The grant programme will also be open to all industries and verticals and businesses can do whatever they want with the money.

According to findings from a research by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, over a third of SMBs on Facebook India expect cash flow challenges in the next few months thanks to the pandemic. The company says it wants to do its part in helping these businesses tackle those issues.

Additionally, Facebook also announced that it’s bringing the gift cards feature to India, to both Facebook and Instagram. This allows businesses to sell gift cards using the platform, through their Facebook or Instagram pages, advertisements and more. At the moment, Facebook is looking to make this an online to offline initiative, where users buy gift cards via the platform and use them at a business’ offline locations.

“Gift cards will help small businesses reach more customers online. They will also help small businesses reach more potential customers online," Mohan said. While the programme is active globally, Mohan said the company will localize it in India by working with partners here, who have "deep connects" with small merchants. Payments provider PayU and gifting and store value company Qwikcilver are the first two partners for the programme here. "We're going to put a lot of energy behind making it easy to discover them on Facebook and Instagram," Mohan said.

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