The programme was launched in collaboration with Josh Talks, a social media platform that raised $3.5 million in funding in May of this year.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta and has India as its largest market, started the SMB Saathi Utsav programme on Tuesday to encourage small businesses to get on board its WhatsApp Business app for growth. WhatsApp stated in a statement that the pilot initiative, which began in Jaipur's Johri and Bapu Bazaar, has already onboarded over 500 businesses, allowing them to take advantage of the Business App's various capabilities and encourage ease of doing business. The programme was launched in collaboration with Josh Talks, a social media platform that raised $3.5 million in funding in May of this year.
Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and technology has the potential to further boost their business. During the pandemic, we saw several small business owners thriving by using simple platforms such as WhatsApp Business App to stay connected with their customers,”.
According to the company, trained volunteers are delivering one-on-one digital training to businesses on how to manage incoming leads and queries, construct a product/services display, and promote to key audiences utilising online tools using the WhatsApp Business App better.
Traditional arts and handicrafts, jewellery, fashion and apparel, food and beverage outlets, and other businesses are being instructed on how to use the WhatsApp Business App's various capabilities, as well as how to advertise their products to the appropriate audiences, according to WhatsApp.
WhatsApp's business app was released in 2018 for small and medium businesses. At the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event in December 2020, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the WhatsApp Business app has over 50 million users worldwide, with roughly 15 million in India.
In India, WhatsApp has around 400 million users. To monetize the business app, the company included a Shopping Button, which allows clients to browse a directory of small businesses and purchase things directly from the app. WhatsApp has previously announced the development of a feature called Carts to bolster its push toward chat-based product buying and selling between merchants and customers.