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Social media giant Facebook said it will create opportunities and invest in the Indian startup ecosystem in 2018 in line with the government’s Startup India campaign.

Ankhi Das, Director of public policy for Facebook in India said, “India is producing a new generation of startups that have incredible potential. Facebook is committed to helping create economic growth opportunities for startups and skill seekers in India and will continue investing in India’s digital skills of the future.”

As per Das, a lot of Facebook’s focus will be to support small businesses in India, particularly those run by women to help them connect, share and grow through more initiatives like #SheMeansBusiness and SheLeadsTech. “Through #SheMeansBusiness, Facebook has visited 18 cities across 6 states in India, providing skills training to more than 14,000 small businesses and self-help groups including 12,000 women entrepreneurs across the country,” Das added.

The SheLeadsTech is a programme that gives women-founded/co-founded startups access to a year-long programme that provides tools, mentorship and resources in order to overcome some of the barriers women face and help them build a successful business in technology.

Facebook And The Indian Startup Ecosystem

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The development comes a month after Facebook announced the launch of a new initiative, wherein it will be setting up an online startup hub to assist entrepreneurs in starting up and scaling their businesses. As part of the new project, the company is also planning to establish digital training centres to help enhance digital literacy among job seekers.

As per the official statement, Facebook is aiming to train over 500K Indians through these online hubs within the next three years. According to sources, the hubs are being launched in collaboration with local organisations.

Globally since 2011, Facebook claimed to have poured over $1 Bn into initiatives geared towards supporting small businesses. In India, the social media behemoth has offered training to more than 60,000 small business, including 12,000 women entrepreneurs, through such programmes as Boost Your Business and SheMeansBusiness, as per Ritesh Mehta, Head of Economic Growth Initiatives, India and South Asia at Facebook.

The company recently started the test run of its Marketplace feature in India starting with the city of Mumbai. The service, which is similar to Olx and Quikr, will allow people in selected cities to see buy/sell listings within a predefined radius. Earlier in July, Facebook had launched its Messenger Lite app in the country. The pared-down version is intended for users with old smartphone models or slow Internet connections.

With the decision to pour capital in the Indian startup ecosystem, Facebook is taking yet another step to expand in its biggest  market, a country that boasts over 450 Mn internet users and more than 616 Mn mobile users, as per reports by the Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) Association. As per company claims, Facebook India recorded 217 Mn monthly active people in Q2, 2017.

[The development was reported by Livemint]

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