Access to capital and relevant digital tools remain the leading issues faced by women led businesses, the company said. It said out of over 63 million small businesses in India, approximately 20% are owned by women highlighting the need to bring more gender equality and that In India, 52% of small businesses using Facebook made at least 25% of their sales digitally in the past month. Meta said in partnership with FICCI, it will address the barrier to access right digital tools and resources by offering easy access to tools, programmes and resources to women entrepreneurs in India.
Meta said with this partnership, it will extend its support via three initiatives: Facebook Business Coach that will let women entrepreneurs access self-paced lessons via Meta’s educational chatbot tool on WhatsApp and learn how to establish and maintain a digital presence and Grow your Business Hub for micro, small and medium businesses to find relevant information, tools, and resources to further empower these businesses to find tools curated to their growth needs. Thirdly, Meta’s Commerce Partners Program will enable businesses to build a digital presence, go direct-to-customer and grow using the power of technology. The company said these businesses will have the opportunity to adopt solutions across the retail value chain via its partners, with additional onboarding support, training, and preferential pricing.
Narayan Rane, union minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said he hopes Meta’s pledge to support 5 lakh women owned businesses will create a supportive ecosystem for women and inspire them to become contributors to the overall development of the country.
Sanjeev Mehta, president at The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said ‘FICCI- FLO Empowering the Greater50%’ is an ‘ambitious’ women empowerment mission to enhance the entrepreneurial and decision making skills of women. “Our government has been creating several opportunities through progressive policies for women to thrive. However, achieving a common vision of building a gender inclusive nation with a focus on women led development calls for aggregated efforts and multi stakeholder partnerships,” he added.
Ajit Mohan, vice-president and managing director, Facebook India (Meta) said the pandemic has been an economic crisis for small businesses across the world and women led businesses have been particularly affected due to lack of resources. “To help women led businesses of India, we are partnering with FICCI to enable 5 lakh women at grassroot levels with appropriate digital tools and resources. This is a part of our commitment to enable 1 crore small businesses over the next 3 years via our Centre for Fuelling India’s New Economy (C-FINE) at our new office in Gurgaon,” he added.
Meta said it created the #SheMeansBusiness programme in 2016 to be a space for entrepreneurial women to make valuable connections, share advice and move forward together. The company said it has trained 1.5 million women in 38 markets around the world since 2016.