Facebook looks to scale up extending Boost Your Biz programme

Saturday, Apr 16, 2016,11:17 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Bengaluru | Social media giant Facebook today said it is looking to scale up extending BoostYour Business programme to villages in India to help entrepreneurs in improving theirbusiness prospects. We are doing a bunch of different initiatives catered specifically to arts and crafts of India that live in villages.

The challenge before us now is of scaling this up, Head of Economic GrowthInitiatives for Facebook India Ritesh Mehta said. So we will try to partner with the organisationwhich will help us scale because one company can do a limited amount of things. But if we partner with 10 NGOs or governments, then together we can do a lot more, he added.

Arts and crafts is a very big focus area for Facebook and it is running a specific initiative for rural entrepreneurs, he said. When we visited five cities of Uttar Pradesh, we actually wentout to the villages, not just the cities.

When we were in Banaras, we also went outside Banaras as well, where weavers live and showed them the usage of Facebook page. Same thing we did in Kanauj and Kanpur, he said. Facebook is starting to work with NGOs like Seva in Gujarat that have a huge network of rural artisans, he said.

When asked how many partnerships Facebook has struck to take the programme to cities and villages, Mehta said,Right now we are not ready to announce the partnership with NGOs, but we work with them for different initiatives.

Mehta also said Facebook is intalks with the Karnataka government, but do not have a formalpackage to take this programme to cities across the state. We are in conversation, but we don’t have a formal package as of now. We would love to take this programme to other cities across Karnataka, he said.

Asked why Karnataka was not the first destination to implement the initiative, especially as Bengaluru is considered a hotbed for net connectivity, hesaid that before talking to the government, they wanted to besure they establish their initiative here. We have starteddoing that, Mehta said.

He said they had so far covered seven cities inIndia, including Hyderabad and Bengaluru and trained 4,000 women entrepreneurs. By year end, Facebook aims to cover 20 to 25 cities, training women entrepreneurs to usetechnological tools on Facebook to better theirbusiness prospects, Mehta said.

This year we aim to cover four or five other states. Apart from that we aim to cover eight to 10 other cities. Probably by year end we would have have gone to 20 to 25 cities, he said. We have cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Indore already listed in our calendar, where we would be visiting,he added.

Mehta said this initiative is never-ending and would continue evenafter covering 29 states and 100 cities as there would be new technologies and platforms created in future, which wouldprompt them to update entrepreneurs. Asked about the success stories, he said, If the entrepreneurs who know to use Facebook, they are the ones who definitely have tasted success.

There aresuccess stories everywhere – that is encouraging us to go tomore and more cities so that we can talk about their successstories. However, these successes have not come about overnight as it takes time and energy to improvebusiness content to reach out to customers, Mehta said.

This definitely is success, but not an overnight success. If you start a Facebook page today, you are notgoing to taste success tomorrow itself. You need to improveyour content to reach out to customers to better yourbusiness, Mehta said.