Government-backed e-commerce protocol Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has tied up with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp parent Meta to help small businesses use the latter’s messaging app more effectively to boost sales.
Meta and ONDC plan to put in place an ecosystem of technical and business solution providers that will help small businesses set up online stores on WhatsApp, boost their visibility on the platform and help them manage digital payments.
As part of the initiative, Meta plans to upskill 500,000 small and medium-sized enteprises (MSMEs) over the next two years through its Meta Small Business Academy.
“The Meta Small Business Academy offers a certification to empower entrepreneurs and marketers to gain critical digital marketing skills to grow on our apps,” Meta said in a press release, while adding that it has set sights on upskilling 10 million small businesses.
“At ONDC, we are committed to accelerating and democratizing the digital landscape, and towards that, we aim to empower MSMEs, help them build digital visibility, and boost their businesses,” Thomas Koshy, managing director and chief executive officer of ONDC, said.
“Today, for any business to grow, it is critical for them to market themselves and reach a wider audience. Our partnership with Meta will not only digitally upskill these businesses but will also enable them to connect with a customer base far and wide. Our collaborative efforts will pave the way for millions of small businesses by providing them with the right impetus for growth,” Koshy added.
“India’s digital transformation story is unfolding at a revolutionary pace, and for this growth to continue, we need the right ecosystem and partnerships that enable millions of small businesses to build and deepen their digital presence,” Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president at Meta in India, said.
“Meta has been a frontrunner in partnering with the government and industry to advance digital inclusion, especially for MSMEs. Our partnership with ONDC builds on supporting the government’s vision for Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and furthering our ongoing commitment to skilling small businesses and aiding this rapid digital transformation and growth story in the country,” Devanathan added.
As part of the partnership, Meta said it plans to support Sahayak, ONDC’s WhatApp chatbot, in enhancing the services offered on the bot as the single point of seller communication and customer communication for ONDC.
Earlier this year, Meta had launched its ‘WhatsApp Se Wyapaar’ program to upskill 10 million traders across 29 states in 11 Indian languages on the WhatsApp Business app.
“Today, there are more than 200 million users of the WhatsApp Business app across the world, and more than 60% of people on WhatsApp in India message a business account,” Meta added in the release.
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