Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Facebook Partners with VC Funds to Enable India’s SMB Ecosystem for Faster Growth

Facebook India has announced an industry-first initiative which will see it collaborating with Venture Capital (VC) Funds to accelerate the growth of the small and medium businesses (SMB) they invest in. The VC Brand Incubator Program will be the first in a series of programs by Facebook that will be geared towards laying a strong foundation for SMB growth in India by providing them with timely skilling and guidance, enabling these businesses to hasten socio-economic growth of the country as well.

As a part of this program, Facebook will work with VC funds with the aim of skilling and mentoring the brands by sharing insights on best practices, proven solutions, playbooks, vertical-insights among other key learnings. For the first edition, Facebook is working with, a Mumbai-based early-stage venture capital fund that among others has partnered with startups in the food and beverages, personal care, apparel, and the lifestyle space.

Speaking about the VC Brand Incubator Program, Archana Vohra, Director, Small and Medium Businesses at Facebook India, said, “With the VC Brand Incubator program we hope to unlock the potential of SMBs in India, enabling them to enhance their and the country's socio-economic growth. SMBs are the backbone of our economy and Facebook is the default destination for them to thrive and grow. Several SMBs are actively working towards creating a larger social change, and many are empowering women entrepreneurs and generating impact in tier-2 and tier-3 towns. Their seamless growth can lead to consistent job creation, adding to the GDP growth. Working with VC funds is crucial as it allows us to scale and support SMBs at an early-stage itself, fast-tracking their growth.”

India is home to one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world, and venture capital funds are an integral part of this network. The number of small venture capital funds with active investments has been rising steadily in recent years. However, a robust skilling and support infrastructure to ensure the swift scale-up of SMBs is still lacking in the country. The VC Brand Incubator program aims to solve for this gap by supporting the VC funds and the brands they are invested in to facilitate their growth and remove roadblocks.

Manu Chandra, Founder, said, “The VC Brand Incubator program provides a much needed understanding of Facebook, its family of Apps, and the digital landscape. As a consumer focused investor, we look for social marketing expertise in teams that we back as it is a huge driver of success for small startups that have to optimize every rupee spent. The entire consumer startup ecosystem benefits from these initiatives, both from a skill-development and a community-building perspective.”

The VC Brand Incubator program is a series of events that will be held across Mumbai, Bangalore and other key cities, where SMBs will be provided with skilling and training sessions by Facebook experts on a range of themes and topics that will help them build their brands on the digital medium more effectively. The first VC Brand Incubator program was held last month in collaboration with and saw participation from 25 brands of which five were women-led businesses.

Speaking about how an in-depth understanding of Facebook and its family of Apps will help to grow his business, Yogesh Kabra, Founder, XYXX Innerwear said, “For a small and growing brand like ours, Facebook and Instagram can be intimidating and complex sometimes. The program has really helped me understand the platforms much better as a founder. I am now very confident about how to execute brand-building and advertising initiatives on these platforms to scale my business quickly with good ROI. It’s great to see their team take such initiatives for small startups like ours.”

Facebook believes that SMBs are key to the Indian economy’s growth, and their unhampered growth can fuel entrepreneurship and lead to consistent local job creation. Recently Facebook also announced an investment into Meesho, a social commerce company empowering first-time entrepreneurs, especially women, across Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns. In order to cater to the differing needs of SMBs, Facebook will be launching a slew of programs in the coming weeks that will benefit SMBs at different stages of their lifecycle. Some of these programs will be curated for agencies as well as industry partners who regularly work with SMBs.

Facebook is home to more than 90 million small businesses globally and is the default destination for SMBs to build their brand and grow their business. The new initiatives by Facebook India are geared towards simplifying the ease of doing business as well as improving digital adoption by SMBs in the country.

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