Aiming to help the Indian entrepreneurial community connect with their customers and grow their businesses, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced to invest $250,000 into the start-up ecosystem in India.
As part of the partnership, WhatsApp will provide 500 DPIIT-approved start-ups with $500 each of Facebook ad credits. Start-ups can use these credits to create ads on the platform to reach a wider audience.
In order to be eligible for this incentive, startups must be at an early traction or scalable stage and must be recognized by DPIIT. Interested startups can apply here and selection is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once registered, the first 500 entries will receive free Facebook ad credits worth $500.
The move comes after the start-up India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge, which inspired many budding entrepreneurs to develop India-specific solutions with socio-economic impact. WhatsApp awarded the five Grand Challenge winners with a grant worth $50,000 each (approximately Rs 35 lakhs).
‘Start-ups and small businesses are the lifeblood of Indian communities and are a powerful driver of local economies. India’s entrepreneurs are at the forefront of bringing impactful social and economic change, and we at WhatsApp are committed to providing them support in achieving success,’ said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
There are over five million businesses around the world, of which a million are in India, and are actively using the WhatsApp Business app to interact with their customers. The company has recently launched catalog feature, wherein small businesses can now have a mobile storefront to showcase their products and services so customers can easily find something they might like to buy.
Launched on January 16, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, start-up India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India and is intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
In the last three years, over 19,000 start-ups have registered with start-up India programme.