Facebook ‘Likes’ SMBs, Partners with FICCI

Facebook has partnered with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) to get Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to use Facebook’s global Small and Medium Business (SMB) Boost programme and also provide Indian SMEs with educational resources and free advertising to help them get started and grow their businesses online. This program will also aid numerous member SMEs of FICCI in exploring and utilizing social media for their business promotion and consumer outreach activities.facebook_fanpage

“India presently has around 6400 industrial clusters, of which nearly 6000 are “low tech”. Poor technology adoption remains a major cause for poor operational and marketing competitiveness in the sector. Facebook and FICCI aim to make technology a driving factor for enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian SME sector through this collaboration. FICCI has already identified Innovation as one of the key themes for strengthening Indian SMEs and in recent past has strenuously strived to highlight innovative practices from the world over and adapt them in the Indian context.” [announcement/pdf]

Facebook also unveiled a series of ‘Facebook for Business’ tutorials, which they will run at FICCI tradeshows and conferences. Participating SMEs will receive hands-on training on how they can use Facebook to create an online presence, build and maintain a Facebook Page, engage Facebook users and access customers through Facebook’s global user base of more than 800mn. Participating SME’s will also get the SMB Boost voucher, which will give them an advertising credit for free advertising on the Facebook platform.

SMEs in India: An Opportunity

Here are a few data points (Feb 2010) that gives a good idea of the SME opportunity India offers:

  • India has the second largest population of small and medium businesses (SMBs) among BRIC countries and the US.
  • SMEs in India contribute to more than 40% of the total Industrial Output (35% of it is exported).
  • SMEs Provides employment to 75% of India’s workforce.
  • In Karnataka alone, there are more than 750 Large to Medium Enterprises with investments of more than 60,000 Crores and employing 4,00,000 people.
  • In comparison, there are more than 3,80,000 SMEs with investments of just about 10,000 Crores while employing 22,00,000 people! [Damn! The Big SME Opportunity that Technology Entrepreneurs Ignore]

In short, this is where Facebook is taking on the ad giant, i.e. Google. Couple of months back, Google launched ‘Get your Business Online’ program that offers free websites/domain names and hosting services to small medium businesses in India.

For Facebook, getting access to Tier-2 advertisers is the key and while a lot of them are using adwords (Google earlier partnered with Dell for JumpStart campaign), getting SMEs to advertise and start using Facebook pages (vs. Google+ accounts) will be the next big battle.

Aside, if you are a SMB, here is something worth reading: Startups, Beware of Facebook pages. It can make you complacent.

[Like Pluggd.in on Facebook.]

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