WhatsApp launches SMBSaathi Utsav to help digitization of small businesses

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The effort began with a pilot in Jaipur, where 500+ small entrepreneurs will be taught how to run their operations digitally.

WhatsApp India today unveiled SMBSaathi Utsav, a programme aimed at assisting small companies in adopting digital tools like the WhatsApp Business App to conduct their operations.

WhatsApp has begun a trial programme in Jaipur’s Johri Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar, where 500+ small businesses are being trained on various elements of conducting business online.The goal of this programme, which was launched in conjunction with Josh Talks, is to educate and assist small businesses in realising their full potential through WhatsApp.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and technology has the potential to further boost their business. During the pandemic, we saw several small business owners thriving by using simple platforms such as WhatsApp Business App to stay connected with their customers”. -- Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India

Approximately 6.3 billion micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) exist in India, accounting for 30% of the country’s GDP and employing over 110 million people.These firms were badly impacted by the epidemic, with overall earnings falling by 20 to 50 percent.The lack of market access was one of the key causes of this decline.WhatsApp launched the SMBSaathi project earlier this year to help these businesses recover from the epidemic. The initiative featured inspiring stories of company owners throughout India who switched to digital means of doing business during the pandemic.For many of these companies, WhatsApp was their first digital gateway and a more cost-effective and efficient option to developing and maintaining a website.The second phase of the SMBSaathi campaign is the SMBSaathi Utsav.

Trained volunteers are delivering one-on-one digital training to companies in Jaipur’s Johri Bazar and Bapu Bazaar as part of the project.The goal of these trainings is to teach business owners how to use the WhatsApp Business App to better manage incoming leads and queries, create a product/services display, and market to key audiences utilising online tools.

Traditional arts and handicrafts, jewellery, fashion and apparel, food and beverage outlets, and a variety of other businesses are being coached on how to use the WhatsApp Business App’s different capabilities and guided on how to sell their products to the correct audiences.

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