To help the Indian entrepreneurial community connect with customers and grow businesses, WhatsApp has announced that it is investing $250,000 in the country's startup ecosystem.
Through a partnership with Startup India, WhatsApp will provide 500 startups approved by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) with $500 each of Facebook ad credits. With the ad credits, the startups can create ads that invite customers to click and open a chat on WhatsApp, towards deepening connections and increasing sales.
In order to be eligible for this incentive, startups must be at an early traction or scalable stage and must be recognised by DPIIT. Interested startups can apply on the Startup India website, and the selection would be on a first-come-first-served basis. Once registered, the first 500 entries will receive the free Facebook ad credits.
Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India, said,
“Startups 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.”
This investment comes on the heels of the Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge that inspired entrepreneurs to develop India-specific solutions with socio-economic impact. WhatsApp awarded five winners with a grant of $50,000 each (approximately Rs 35 lakh).
Deepak Bagla, CEO and MD of Invest India, said, “India is at an inflection point, and, as it has the second-largest community of startups in the world, our focus has always been to support the ecosystem and promote innovative solutions to today’s challenges. The Startup India portal has played a pivotal role in enabling the ecosystem to drive inclusive growth and we’re constantly working to support the next generation of Indian innovators with partners like WhatsApp.”
Launched on January 16, 2016, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India. Over the last three years, over 19,000 startups, spread across 513 districts and covering all 29 States and six Union Territories, have registered under the Startup India programme.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)
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