Facebook India announces SMB Grants and Gift Cards

Facebook India

Facebook shared new initiatives to support small businesses in India as they continue to face economic uncertainties in the wake of the pandemic.

The announcement includes grants for small businesses in India, and businesses on Facebook and Instagram will now have the capabilities to drive the discovery and sale of Gift Cards.

The company also announced the findings of the State of Small Business Report, an ongoing research collaboration between Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey small and medium-sized businesses around the world, including India, in the context of COVID-19.

The aim of the survey is to provide a window into SMBs’ experiences amid COVID-19. According to the study, more than a third of operational SMBs on Facebook expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months.

“Small businesses are a big priority for Facebook. The recovery of small businesses from the pandemic will be critical to the recovery of Indian economy, and we want to do everything we can to help. As part of our USD 100 million global grant for small businesses announced back in March, today we are announcing a grant of USD 4.3 million (INR 32 crores) for more than 3000 small businesses across Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Facebook has offices,” said Ajit Mohan, MD and VP at Facebook India in a blog post

The India grant is part of the $100 million grant for small businesses across 30 countries that Facebook had announced in March. Applications are open from 15th September to 21st September. The grant includes both cash and ad credits, with cash constituting a larger share.  Businesses do not need to have a Facebook presence in order to apply. They are also free to do what they wish to do with this grant.

Also Read: Facebook & Instagram Shops get major updates

Since the pandemic began, several small businesses have moved online to ensure business continuity and growth. The State of Small Business Report revealed that 41% of operational SMBs on Facebook India reported that at least a quarter of their sales are made digitally.

“To help small businesses impacted by COVID-19, today we’re announcing that Facebook and Instagram have launched capabilities for businesses to drive discovery and sale of Gift Cards. Digital gift cards will help them reach more potential customers online. They will also enable small businesses to get cash flow when they need it the most, and even when physical stores might be shut,” said Mohan in his post.

Configuring Gift Cards on Facebook and Instagram is free for businesses, and Facebook has tied up with multiple partners to enable the issuance and management of Gift Cards.

The Report findings indicate green shoots for the sector. 53% of operational SMBs on Facebook India feel optimistic about the future of their business. The easing of lockdown measures has enabled SMBs to reopen, as India saw closure rates fall from 47% to 34%, according to the survey findings.

Equipping small businesses

In May, Facebook’s flagship global program for skilling young businesses, Boost with Facebook, went virtual in India. India-specific VC Brand Incubator initiative, which works with venture capital funds to skill small businesses has also gone virtual.

As part of this initiative, Facebook has started Campaign Lab to help direct-to-consumer businesses get creative solutioning support, and go live with mobile-friendly creatives and strategy in under 72 hours. As businesses adapt to digital business models, Facebook will support them through timely skilling and training, including the ones that get the grant,

“The real power of digital infrastructure gets unleashed as startups and small businesses come online, and new opportunities arise across verticals. What the pandemic has shown us is that digital is no longer just an alternate channel for brands to connect with consumers, but a fundamental driver of step change in business outcomes,” added Mohan.

You can check the eligibility criteria and sign up for the grant here.