Aiming to train more than half a million people in India by 2020, Facebook today introduced personalised online learning to help small businesses and people in India grow by giving them the digital skills they need to compete in today’s digital economy.

These Digital Training and Facebook Startup Training Hubs which are being rolled out first in India and have been developed with local organisations, will provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, advise entrepreneurs how to get started and help existing businesses and nonprofits get the most out of the internet.

Since 2011 Facebook has invested more than $1 billion to support small businesses globally. Facebook Boost Your Business and SheMeansBusiness has trained more than 60,000 small businesses, including 12,000 women entrepreneurs, in India.

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To develop the learning curriculum, Facebook has worked with local organisations, including Digital Vidya, EDII, DharmaLife and StartupIndia. The learning curriculum is personalised to the individual's needs and available in English and Hindi on mobile.

The curriculum includes vital skills for digital skill seekers and tech entrepreneurs, including how to protect your ideas, how to hire, how to go about getting funding, what regulations and legal hurdles you need to consider, how to build an online reputation, and a whole host of other critical skills required to succeed in today's digital world.

Facebook Digital Training Hub will provide free social and content marketing training (not just Facebook) for anyone - from students to business owners. The curriculum includes social media basics, how to build and create an audience, how to create content and how to measure online activity.

Facebook Startup Training Hub will help developers and tech startups build better products and businesses. The curriculum covers how to build a business plan, how to build a product and how to grow a business.

Facebook will continue to add lessons and content in the coming months, adapting the curriculum based on people's feedback.

Social media giant currently has 217 million people on Facebook in India and there are over four million small business Pages on Facebook. 42 per cent of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one SMB in a foreign country.

Sixty-five per cent of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one SMB in India and more than 250 million people from around the world are connected to a business in India

In the last five years (between 2012 and 2016), the number of new women-owned SMB Pages on Facebook has increased seven-fold, growing 85 per cent year on year from 2015 to 2016.

Nearly 81 per cent of small and medium businesses on Facebook in India say they’ve been able to hire more employees due to growth in demand since joining Facebook, and 81 per cent of small and medium businesses on Facebook in India say they have increased sales because of the platform

Facebook has helped 86 per cent small and medium businesses sell their products or services in other cities, states or countries.            Almost 93 per cent of small and medium businesses surveyed in India say that digital and social media skills are more important when making hiring decisions. In fact, they're more important to SMBs than where someone went to school.

“Digital skills unlock opportunities, empower people to dream big, build products, grow businesses and foster communities. We believe the best way to prepare India for a digital economy is by equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to succeed. We want more people to be have the opportunity to build their skills, build a business or build something for their community — because investing in people can lead to incredible things,” said Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programs, Facebook, India & South Asia.