WhatsApp India has announced SMBSaathi Utsav initiative to support small businesses adopt digital mediums such as WhatsApp Business App to run their business.

SMBSaathi Utsav has kicked off with a pilot in Jaipur’s Johri Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar where over 500 small businesses are being trained on various aspects of running their business online. 

“Launched in collaboration with Josh Talks the intent of this initiative is to educate and help small businesses unlock the potential of their business through WhatsApp,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Small businesses were severely impacted during the pandemic, witnessing a 20-50 per cent decline in their overall earnings, the Meta owned messaging platform further said.

“One of the major reasons behind this fall was the lack of market access. To help these businesses revive from this downturn, WhatsApp launched the SMBSaathi initiative earlier this year, which showcased inspiring stories of business owners across India who pivoted to digital ways of doing business during the pandemic,” it added.

The SMBSaathi Utsav is the second phase of the SMBSaathi campaign.

As part of the SMBSaathi Utsav, trained volunteers are providing one-on-one digital training to businesses in Johri Bazar and Bapu Bazaar in Jaipur. 

These trainings include educating the business owners about building a digital presence on the WhatsApp Business App to help them better manage incoming leads and queries, build a product/services showcase and market to key audiences using online tools.

Businesses across sectors such as traditional arts and handicrafts, jewelry, fashion and apparel, food and beverage outlets and several others are being trained as part of the campaign. They are being trained on using the various features of the WhatsApp Business App and are being guided on how they can market their product to the right audiences.

Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said, “We are excited to launch the SMBSaathi and SMBSaathi Utsav programmes dedicated to India’s small business community. 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. We are committed to finding new ways of increasing awareness about simple digital tools for businesses to support and celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in India,” Bose added.