This is the second SME Council set up by Facebook globally, the first one being in the US. Over 45 million small businesses actively use Facebook Pages to connect to their consumers.
“Small businesses are the backbone of India’s economy. From kirana stores to restaurants and online clothing sites, these businesses drive economic growth, create new jobs and enrich the lives of people across the country,” Facebook India Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy told PTI.
Facebook is focussed on helping people connect, including giving them access to the Internet, and assisting businesses to grow, she added.
In a post, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said: “There’s nothing small about small business, especially in India, one of the world’s most important economies. Small and medium enterprises drive 40 per cent of India’s exports.”
“There are more than two million small businesses in India with active Facebook pages. We want to help these and all businesses grow by connecting them to customers across the globe,” she added.
A group of leaders from different industries will meet Facebook team and help understand how the social media company can better serve the businesses that are creating jobs and opportunities for the people across India, she added.
“To help businesses better connect with the people they care about, we are excited to announce the first SME India Council in Asia-Pacific. The new council is a group of small business from various industries and geographies in India,” Reddy said.
The Council will have members like Amruta Walvekar (Wrapistry), Anaka Narayanan (Brass Tacks), Anitha Nayak (Floured), Gautam Ivatury (MeraDoctor), Maya Chandrasekaran (Babajob.com), R Balakrishnan (GIO Adventures) and Vivek Iyer (English Dost), among others.
The group will meet throughout the year to share feedback, discuss new ideas and work with Facebook to build better ads solutions.
India has the second-largest base of Facebook users globally (after the US). Of the 138 million people on Facebook in India, more than half are connected to at least one small business in the country.
Globally, Facebook has 1.55 billion users.
As India turns more digitally savvy and social media is now a part of daily life, businesses are increasingly looking at tapping consumer information.
Companies are also looking at leveraging Internet to reach out to a huge number of consumers in a cost-effective way and at the same time, strike a more personal bond with them through targeted marketing through digital platforms.