At Fuel for India 2021, entrepreneurs reveal how Meta and its app help them to meet customers beyond boundaries

Speakers at the event share how Meta and its apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram have helped businesses connect with customers.
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In the second edition of Fuel for India organised today, Meta (formerly Facebook) shed light on the opportunities that the metaverse will offer. 

Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, India - Meta flagged off the event. He spoke about emerging technologies such as AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) and their impact on education and learning, businesses and the creator economy, and the role India will play in building the metaverse.

In the third season of the two-hour-long event, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Meta in conversation with Aayushi Khandelwal, Co-founder, Anveshan; Pranav Malhotra, Managing Director, Pashtush; and Sai Gole, Co-founder, BharatAgri talked about how these businesses have made a wider reach not just in India but also beyond the country boundaries and enabling small farmers, craftsman, and rural population to do business efficiently. 

Talking about BharatAgri, which leverages information technology to provide crop-management related advisory services to Indian farmers, and how it has been able to connect with 1.5 million rural farmers, Sai says that information unavailability in rural India is one of their top challenges. With the help of Facebook and Whatsapp, BharatAgri is able to reach out to farmers guiding them on the right technology. 

Highlighting the problem of middlemen in the world of craft products, Pranav says that bringing Instagram to a decade-old family business, he had solved two big problems — a seasonal business now runs around the year as they are able to send products across the globe through Instagram and Facebook. Secondly, they have solved the problem of high prices. According to Pranav, handmade products used to be lost in an expensive string of middlemen. With the help of Facebook and Instagram, Pashtush is taking this beautiful product directly from the loom to the end consumer. Pashtush runs an online store selling luxury shawls, scarves and other products.

Thousands of skilled rural food producers who want to connect directly with the consumers are able to do so with Meta family of apps. Aayushi says that Anveshan is showcasing the rural food producers' stories and struggles to the end consumers, who are now able to know who is making their food and how it is prepared. Facebook and Instagram have turned out to be phenomenal platforms in putting these stories out in front of millions of people, she adds.

Meta and its family of apps is democratising access where people from anywhere and everywhere can connect with each other. 

With an aim to strengthen the small businesses, Sheryl also talked about the ‘Small Business Loans Initiative’ programme, where it has partnered with fintech lending startup Indifi to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) avail of easy, collateral-free loans.

The lineup of speakers at the event included Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development; Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship; Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Government of Odisha; Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO - Meta; Akash Ambani, Director and Head of Strategy - Reliance Jio Platforms Ltd;  Santosh Desai, CEO - Future Brands Ltd; Content Creator, Aparna Shukla; among others.

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