Fueling growth for India’s Small and Medium Businesses

GoCoop envisioned creating India’s largest artisan directory and connecting them directly with buyers from across the world

Maganlal Dresswalla is a 100-year old Mumbai based costumier who wanted to accelerate and cater to newer audiences

Walnut, a personal finance app, had the opportunity to scale overnight from 2 million to 5 million when the Indian demonetization drive started in November 2016

For these and millions of small businesses across India, digital offers a powerful platform to transform and accelerate growth.

At Google, we believe that as Indian small businesses chart their growth journey, technology is playing a pivotal role in helping them explore new markets, engage different audiences and compete more effectively. And our focus is to enable them with the right skills and tools to help them digitize and leverage the full power of the internet.

In our joint research study with KPMG, we find that rising internet penetration and greater uptake of digital by SMBs in India could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP from the current 37.5% to to 46-48% by 2020. Ascertaining the benefits of going digital for small businesses, it determines  that profits of digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast compared to offline SMBs. Likewise digitally engaged businesses are able to grow their customer base significantly with 52% catering to customers beyond their home city versus only 29% offline SMBs. However, the study found that 68% Indian SMBs are still offline due to a  lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills to get them online.

At Google, we believe that the Internet is just as much for the established local merchant as it is for the new-age startup. Further, with the Internet, the smallest business can become the largest business in the blink of an eye. And therefore, today we are launching a large scale training program for Indian SMBs - Digital Unlocked. With this program, we envisage making quality training in going digital available to every single small business in India that wants it.
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In keeping with the varied learning needs of the millions of businesses in India, we’ve built this program across online, offline and mobile. The offline training is being conducted in partnership with FICCI and over the next three years, 5,000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities.
The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials, curated specifically for India  and is available free of charge at g.co/digitalunlocked. The tutorials cover a comprehensive set of topics ranging from building a web presence and driving online growth to reaching customers over mobile and video digital and email marketing to social media. The trainings are certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.

Further, for India’s mobile-first audience, Google also launched Primer, a free mobile app uniquely designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It is available for download through the Google Play and iOS app store. Primer also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly.

We recognize that having digital skills is a good starting point, but businesses also need a robust online identity to connect with consumers and convert their interest into action. And therefore, today, we are previewing My Business Websites with the intent of equipping the vast majority of small businesses with a simple way to start their digital journey by creating  a free, mobile optimised website, easily and instantly. Available for Google My Business users later in the year, this new feature will provide simple, templated and editable websites for small businesses created from the information and photos provided by them on Google Maps. My Business Websites will be available in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam.

In 2015, we launched our first initiative to partner Indian SMBs on their digital journey. And over the last year, we have engaged 8 million small businesses by helping them find and grow their online presence, benefitting from the innovations offered by Google Search and Google Maps.

We are excited about our next steps forward in our journey, that will enable every business, everywhere in India to open their doors to digital with the tools, training and support needed to grow and transform their business.