Google India today reaffirmed its commitment to digitally empower India’s small and medium business community by announcing the launch of SMB Heroes, a nationwide program designed to recognize and celebrate SMBs that have embraced digital to grow their business. A nationwide program in partnership with FICCI, SMB Heroes will comprise of three categories – Business Innovation through Digital, Impacting Change through Digital and Woman Business Leader. Starting today, businesses from across the country can submit their nominations on the SMB Heroes website <g.co/smbheroes >. The last date for entries is April 24, 2017. Following this, one winner from each category will be shortlisted from five major zones, culminating in a national finale in Delhi later this year.
As per a research study by Google and KPMG titled “Impact of internet and digitization on SMBs in India”, 68% of the 51m Indian SMBs are offline. Highlighting the macro-economic impact of the internet, the research found that rising penetration and greater uptake for digital by SMBs could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10 percentage points, taking it up to 46-48% by 2020. Ascertaining the benefits of going digital for small businesses, it determined 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. The report cites the lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills as the essential reasons for being offline.
Recognizing the need to address this gap, Google has commenced Digital Unlocked an online, offline and mobile training program to empower thousands of Indian SMBs with essential digital skills. In keeping with the varied learning needs of the millions of businesses in India, the program is built 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. The trainings are certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI. Over the next three years, in partnership with FICCI, Google will conduct 5,000 Digital Unlocked workshops across 40 Indian cities.
Further, for India’s mobile-first audience, Google has recently 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 available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly. In the last two months, Primer has been downloaded over 550,000 times already.
Google few months back also previewed My Business Website which is aimed at 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, editable websites for small businesses created from their data and photos on Google Maps. My Business Website will be available in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam. Over 100,000 Indian businesses are now part of the pilot rollout program.