Considering that over 45 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with their consumers globally; over two million of them from India, social media giant Facebook has set up an SME Council in India, the first being in the US.
According to media reports, the SME Council is keen to help small businesses grow locally and regionally across the country.
Commenting on the move, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said, “There’s nothing small about small business, especially in India, one of the world’s most important economies. Small and medium enterprises drive 40 per cent of India’s exports. And there are more than two million small businesses in India with active Facebook Pages. We want to help these and all businesses grow by connecting them to customers across the globe.
“Today we established a Small Business Council in India, which is a first in the region. A group of leaders from different industries will meet with our teams and help us understand how we can better serve the businesses that are creating jobs and opportunities for people across India,” she added.
One of the council members is babajob.com, a job site in India, which uses Internet.org’s Free Basic Services app. So far, 60,000 people have visited BabaJob through Free Basic Services and more than 10 per cent of them have applied for jobs online. This means that 6,000 people who were once unconnected now have an opportunity to apply for a job, the COO said. “When businesses grow, we all win. We can’t wait to learn from our new Small Business India Council, and work together,”
Comprising of 12 small business owners from different geographies and with varied business objectives and goals, the council will meet a few times over the coming months to discuss progress on solutions, business ideas, discuss new successes and challenges and meet the Facebook teams.
As per an official statement from the company, of the 138 million people on Facebook in India (90 per cent on mobile), more than half of them are connected to at least one small business in the country. Over 1.99 billion interactions are generated between businesses and people in the country.
“Mobility is the future of India. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities it creates for people and businesses and are invested for the long-term,” said managing director of Facebook India, Kirthiga Reddy, as per a Facebook post.
Facebook is focussed on helping people connect, including giving them access to the Internet, and assisting businesses to grow, she added.