Facebook India Targets Small Biz In eCommerce Grant Drive

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Facebook will dole out millions in cash and advertising credits to small businesses across India, while also helping merchants launch online gift cards, as the social media giant pushes deeper into the country’s fast-growing eCommerce sector.

In a Tuesday (Sept. 15) blog post, Ajit Mohan, managing director and vice president of Facebook India, unveiled plans to distribute $4.3 million in grants to small businesses across India, as reported in The Hindu Business Line.

The grants will be targeted at more than 3,000 small businesses in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, all cities where Facebook has offices, Mohan wrote.

The grants will come in the form of both cash and ad credits, with cash making up the larger share.

Businesses from “all industries and verticals” can apply, nor do they need to “have a Facebook family of apps” to qualify, with no restrictions on how the money is spent, the Facebook executive noted.

The program is part of a larger, $100 million, global small-business grant drive announced by Facebook this spring amid surveys suggesting as many as a third of all small businesses might go under amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Technology can be an equalizer in creating economic opportunities and play a critical role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation,” Facebook’s Mohan wrote. “Our commitment to India and its people is unwavering — we want to play an active role in furthering India’s digital progress and advance India’s social and economic growth.”

In addition, Indian small businesses will also be able to create gift cards for use on Facebook and Instagram, with the social media giant having “tied up with multiple partners to enable the issuance and management of Gift Cards,” according to Mohan.

“It’s been inspiring to see how people and businesses have come together on the Facebook family of apps to support their local communities,” Mohan wrote. “Gift cards will help small businesses reach more potential customers online.”

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