Messaging giant WhatsApp on Monday said it will provide 500 DPIIT-approved startups with USD 500 (around Rs 35,840) each of Facebook ad credits, a move aimed at helping Indian entrepreneurs connect with customers and grow their businesses.
With the ad credits, the startups can create ads that invite customers to click to open a chat on WhatsApp so they can deepen connections and increase sales, a statement said. The announcement comes after the Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge under which Facebook-owned company had awarded a grant worth USD 50,000 (about Rs 35 lakh) each to five entrepreneurs who have developed India-specific solutions with socio-economic impact. "Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of Indian communities and are a powerful driver of local economies. India's entrepreneurs are at the forefront of bringing impactful social and economic change, and we at WhatsApp are committed to provide them support in achieving success," WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose said. In order to be eligible for the initiative, startups must be at an early traction or scalable stage and must be recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. Once registered, the first 500 entries will receive free Facebook ad credits worth USD 500, it said. "India is at an inflexion point and as the second-largest community of startups in the world, our focus has always been to support the ecosystem and promote innovative solutions to today's challenges," Deepak Bagla, chief executive officer and managing director at Invest India, said.
The Startup India portal has played a pivotal role in enabling the ecosystem to drive inclusive growth and it is constantly working to support the next generation of Indian innovators with partners like WhatsApp, he added. Five million businesses around the world, of which a million are in India, are actively using the WhatsApp Business app to connect with their customers.