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WhatsApp launches initiative to help small businesses go digital

The Meta-owned popular messaging application WhatsApp on Tuesday announced SMBSaathi Utsav – an initiative in India that aims to support small businesses by helping them adopt digital mediums such as the WhatsApp Business App to run their business.

SMBSaathi Utsav has kicked off with a pilot in Jaipur’s Johriapu Bazaar where 500 plus small businesses are being trained on various aspects of running their business online. Launched in collaboration with Josh Talks the intent of this initiative is to educate and help small businesses unlock the potential of their business through WhatsApp, the company said.

WhatsApp said that India is home to approximately 6.3 Cr MSMEs accounting for 30 per cent of the country’s GDP and employing over 110 million people at present. During the pandemic, these businesses were severely affected witnessing a 20-50 per cent decline in their overall earnings. One of the major reasons behind this fall was the lack of market access.

To help these businesses revive from this downturn, WhatsApp launched the SMBSaathi initiative earlier this year, which showcased inspiring stories of business owners across India who pivoted to digital ways of doing business during the pandemic.

For many of these businesses WhatsApp was their first digital gateway and an easier and more effective alternative to building and maintaining a website. The SMBSaathi Utsav is the second phase of the SMBSaathi campaign. As part of the SMBSaathi Utsav, trained volunteers are providing one-on-one digital training to businesses in Johri Bazar and Bapu Bazaar in Jaipur.

These trainings involve educating the business owners about building a digital presence on the WhatsApp Business App to help them better manage incoming leads and queries, build a product/services showcase and market to key audiences using online tools.

Businesses across sectors such as traditional arts and handicrafts, jewelry, fashion and apparel, food and beverage outlets and several others are being trained on using the various features of the WhatsApp Business App and are being guided on how they can market their product to the right audiences.

“We are excited to launch the SMBSaathi and SMBSaathi Utsav programmes dedicated to India’s small business community. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and technology has the potential to further boost their business,” Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said in a statement. Zeebiz

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