Under the joint initiative, ‘Startup India WhatsApp Grand Challenge’, top five selected startups will receive $250,000 as seed funding. An additional $250,000 will be directed to a select few from the entrepreneurial community to promote their WhatsApp business number on Facebook and drive discovery of their businesses.
Talking about the partnership, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary of Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP), said, “Startup India started in 2016, with the idea to transform India, and this partnership is a step in that direction. We effectively have 19 states with startup policies, and the idea is to bring in the change.”
Invest India is also working with WhatsApp to drive awareness about its business tools in around 15 states impacting over 60,000 businesses in the coming months through tools such as Startup India ‘Yatra’ programme and other in-person training events.
WhatsApp Business already has more than 3 million small businesses on its platform, leveraging the tools provided by the Facebook-owned messenger, to boost their businesses.
WhatsApp’s vast network and technology expertise will help the Indian startups to leverage its experience, in order to help them grow their business.
There are 50 million small and medium businesses in India, who are employing 100 million people and contributes a third to India’s GDP.
The latest partnership will further boost the growing Indian startup ecosystem. Recently, according to a report by NASSCOM, more than 1,200 startups were added in 2018, making India one of the developing hubs for startups.
Furthermore, India added 8 new startups to the elite unicorn list and the entire startup ecosystem received ₹31,500 crore ($4.3 million), during the period of January-September 2018, witnessing an increase of over 100% from $2 billion in 2017.