Indian industry body, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has partnered with messaging platform WhatsApp to educate and train small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs on using the messaging platform to connect with customers and growing their businesses.
WhatsApp and CII will work together to enhance business communication for Indian SMEs through CII’s SME Technology Facilitation Centre. This was set up in November 2016, with the objective of creating awareness amongst SMEs in India on technological solutions that can be optimally adopted to enhance their overall competitiveness.
There will be on-ground trainings around the country to explain the features and best practices on the App. In addition to this, business owners located in the hinterland 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.
WhatsApp and CII will collaboratively develop informative content to be distributed among entrepreneurs both in physical and digital formats, addressing the advantages of the professional use of WhatsApp Business and promoting the creation of networks for knowledge sharing. WhatsApp will also give workshops to CII team members across the state, to expand content dissemination and offer local support for cities across India. The partnership starts on 29th October with a training in Pune and is expected to reach small and medium businesses along with start-ups and members of CII.
To recall, WhatsApp had recently collaborated with government of India’s Start-up India initiative to launch ‘WhatsApp Startup Challenge’, wherein the facebook-owned messaging paltform will invest $250,000 as seed funding to the top 5 winners of the challenge and an additional $250,000 to a select few from the entrepreneurial community to promote their WhatsApp business number on Facebook.
According to a survey demonstrating the economic impact of WhatsApp in India, 70% of SMEs on WhatsApp in India say that they built their business on the platform. 78% of these SMEs say they have increased sales because of WhatsApp. Until the launch of the WhatsApp Business app earlier this year, small businesses didn’t have a formalized way to use WhatsApp to connect with their customers.
Ms Neerja Bhattia, Executive Director of CII said “CII SME Technology Facilitation Centre, is CII’s initiative to provide latest technology support to SMEs in India. It’s operating as a one-stop solution centre, summating different upgraded and latest technology from our multiple large technology partners with an aim to enhance access to technology for Indian SMEs and create technical literacy amongst them. The Centre also provides an opportunity to its technology partners to expand their market and reach out to SMEs spread throughout the country with their product and services.”
Commenting on the partnership, Mr Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager at WhatsApp, said, “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 achiceve 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.”
Launched in January 2018, the WhatsApp Business app was developed to improve SMEs’ communications with their customers, by creating an official presence for those companies in the app and enhancing their customer care, with specific tools to make communicating with customers easier and more efficient. More than three million people are already using the WhatsApp Business app worldwide.
Besides WhatsApp, CII’s Technology Facilitation Centre has partnered with some of the best technology companies in India like Microsoft Corporation (India) Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd, Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd, Indus Net Technology Pvt Ltd, Secure Meters Limited, CT Infotech India Pvt Ltd, Tricolite Energy Solution LLP and Hewlett-Packard India Ltd.
Notably, CII as a part of its knowledge management initiatives also runs a Knowledge Portal called myCII.in, which is a state-of-the-art online knowledge resource centre of CII that includes premium research reports, recordings of conference proceedings, thousands of sector specific presentations, online master class videos, Webinar recordings, Investment and Policy Trackers, B2B Opportunities and online database of member companies.
Via ~ CII.in