Facebook-owned WhatsApp has announced a collaboration with non-government Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to train young and upcoming Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) owners in the subcontinent.
According to the company's internal survey on the economic impact of WhatsApp Business, most of the SMEs didn't have a proper platform to build a connection with customers. But, after the launch of the app in January 2018, 78% of these SMEs say they have increased sales because of WhatsApp. Also, 70% of SMEs on WhatsApp in India say that they built their business on the platform.
With the new WhatsApp-CII programme, the company will try to improve the communication skill set of young entrepreneurs to connect with their customers and grow their businesses. They will also be provided with technological solutions that can be optimally adopted to enhance their overall competitiveness.
Also, there will be on-ground training across India to explain the features and best practices on the App. In addition to this, business owners located in the rural areas will have the opportunity to attend training webinars to help them grow and expand their businesses. The training material will be available on the CII SME website.
"Whether it's a chai stand or saree shop, small businesses are at the heart of vibrant communities and the engine that makes the Indian economy grow, and by partnering with CII, we're committed to helping SMEs achieve success. Small businesses need to meet their customers where they are, and in India, that's on WhatsApp. With the WhatsApp Business app, small businesses can easily and efficiently connect with their customers, and we'll be introducing new features in the future to continue helping them grow," Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager, WhatsApp, said in a statement.
Both WhatsApp and CII plan to bring more informative content both in digital and physical format and distribute to the young and upcoming SME owners help them understand the advantages of professional usage of WhatsApp Business app.
In a related development, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is currently testing Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based e-wallet feature in India. More than one million people are participating in the beta programme and the company is in the process of setting up of the local server to store user data for sake of privacy and security, which is one of the main requirements for any MNC company to roll-out digital payment service. Once done, WhatsApp payment feature will have a country-wide launch in India.