Support small, local businesses with Google India’s ‘Make Small Strong’ initiative


India, home to more than 60 million small businesses, is staring at uncertain times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its unabated spread and ravages the country’s economy. A slew of the coronavirus-related restrictions, disruption in supply chains and reduced spending by consumers have made survival of small businesses extremely difficult. In fact, it is estimated that about 24 percent of such setups could shut down if conditions worsen further.

Small businesses, from local kirana stores to vegetable vendors, to even pharmacies or book shops, form the backbone of the hyperlocal economic ecosystem and have been instrumental in serving the society, especially during the strict nationwide lockdown.

As the virus-related curbs are eased and consumers return to bigger and global-facing businesses for their purchases, now is the time that these small businesses need customers’ support more than ever to survive and thrive. While the government has deployed its economic relief measures to help the industry, the onus is on customers to help the hyperlocal economy tide over this crisis.

To start a community-wide drive and encourage consumers to go vocal for local, YourStory and Google India launched the ‘Make Small Strong’ initiative. The new initiative builds on the ‘Grow with Google Small Business hub’ effort, and is in direct response to the feedback received from small medium businesses captured in the Google-Kantar small business tracker research conducted in July.

According to the report, customer related challenges tops the list for small businesses, with 92 percent businesses facing customer related challenges, revenue loss due to low demand and payment of fixed costs are the other most severe challenges among businesses. The report also highlights that businesses are seeing the benefits of going digital, and today 5 out of 10 businesses are using digital channels to engage their customers compared to just 4 in 10 in April. 

Building on its effort to help consumers discover small businesses on Google search and maps, the new initiative will focus on accelerating the efforts to help businesses build digital presence in partnership with Zoho and Instamojo. Keeping the needs of different businesses in mind, Google has also partnered with Dunzo and Swiggy to fast track the on-boarding process, with both partners committing to provide additional support to small businesses to start accepting orders online and enable delivery logistics. 

What’s in store?

The ‘Make Small Strong’ initiative will consist of a series of inspiring interviews, webinars and stories, and will look to inculcate people with the incentive and knowledge they need to support and induce growth for small businesses.

Consumers will get insights on different ways in which they can help support small businesses. For instance, a simple word-of-mouth recommendation, a good review on the business’ website or even a social media shoutout can help them go a long way. Case studies will showcase how the right platforms and mechanisms can help boost local businesses.

What’s in it for you?

Customers can also get a peek into the deep local-focussed side of a global giant like Google and its side of the story behind this initiative.

Watch out for a special interview with Shalini Girish, Director of Google Customer Solutions, India by YourStory Founder and Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI with YourStory Media Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma. This will help you get a brief overview of the initiative, what prompted Google to launch this campaign and its sustainability plans. You can get an idea about the trends that existed so far and what the company foresees for local businesses in the future too.

Moreover, you will also be able to look at different initiatives by the tech firm to help local businesses, including enabling digital adoption and payment mechanisms through its partners such as Zoho, Instamojo, Swiggy and Dunzo.

Speaking about the initiative, Shalini said, “Today, the need to go digital is a necessity and SMBs are hard-pressed to digitise fast. We need to do everything we can to handhold millions of small businesses in their digital-transformation journey and support business recovery during the current crisis. The needs of small businesses differ across the country and we are partnering with the Industry leaders to offer more support to help small businesses go digital. The most pressing need though is on the consumer demand side, and to aid that we have launched a nation-wide campaign Make Small Strongto rally support from the citizens to support small businesses by buying locally, leaving reviews and ratings and promoting their favourite retailers on social media to help generate demand for these businesses. We are thankful to our partners for joining hands with us, and really hope that together we will be able to make small businesses emerge stronger and overcome the challenges in a meaningful way.”

To know more about this initiative, click here.


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