Google India announced Digital Unlocked skills program – making quality ‘going digital’ training available to every single SMB in India. Google India also announced My Business Websites, which will allow any business in India to create and easily manage a free, mobile optimized website, even from a smartphone, starting later this year.
Google India reaffirmed its commitment to digitally empower India’s 51 million strong small and medium business (SMB) community. Making the announcements at an event held in New Delhi, Sundar Pichai, CEO-Google, spoke to representatives from hundreds of small and medium business from across the country on the benefits of the web and digital technology.
Today, the Internet is a powerful equalizer and we are motivated to bring the benefits of information and technology to as many people as possible. Building for everyone and making it available in the hands of as many people is at the heart and core of what we do. And we do this by investing in open ecosystems.
Referring specifically to SMBs, Pichai added, “The Internet and digital technology will be an engine of growth for the Indian economy. Today, anyone can become an entrepreneur, a developer or a creator, but it is important that they have the right tools and skills to digitize. We believe it is important for us to invest in training and equipping these individuals and small businesses to accelerate their journey of growth.”
Setting the context for the initiative, Google unveiled a joint research study with KPMG titled, ‘Impact of Internet and Digitization of SMBs in India.’ The study reiterates that 68% of the 51 million Indian SMBs are offline. Highlighting the macro-economic impact of the Internet, the research found that rising penetration and greater uptake for digital by SMBs could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10%, taking it up to 46-48% by 2020. Ascertaining the benefits of going digital for SMBs, it determined that profits of digitally-engaged SMBs grow twice as fast compared to offline SMBs. Likewise, digitally engaged businesses are able to grow their customer-base significantly with 52% catering to customers beyond their home city versus only 29% offline SMBs. The report cites the lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills as the essential reasons for being offline.
To address the gap, Google announced the launch of Digital Unlocked, a training program to empower thousands of Indian SMBs with essential digital skills that will enable them to get online and start using the power of the Internet to grow their business. Google also previewed My Business Websites, an easy-to-use offering to help businesses to have a rich, mobile optimized digital presence that will be launched later this year.
Rajan Anandan, Vice President- India &South East Asia Google said, “I am very excited to talk to you about changing SMB ecosystem in India. Today, India is one of the fastest growing economies and the second largest smartphone market in the world. And, there has been an unprecedented growth in the demand for consumer goods. MSME or SMBs account for 37% of GDP and employ 120 million people. Google India’s mission is to bring connectivity to everyone and drive the economy. During the last few years we developed a good understanding of how to bring connectivity to majority of the Indians. Google has been on the forefront of launching initiatives to a billion Indians online, including launching apps and services in the Indian vernacular languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, etc. In India, the single largest challenge has been connectivity and how to reach broadband to every India. On the business side, we are focusing on SMBs as there are 51 million SMBs in India and only 32% are involved in digital business. SMB entrepreneurs can just register on our Google My Business, an initiative we are going to launch soon. For whoever is doing business online, in addition to their offline ventures, the results have been astounding. Also, businesses which are online have significantly larger number of customers (over 50%) outside of their city they operate, compared to those who work only offline. Most interestingly, those SMBs that leverage online employ 5 times more number of people than those who operate only offline. It is estimated that by going online, SMBs can increase their contribution to GDP by 10%, that taking the total contribution to up to 47%. As of today, over 68% are present only offline. This has 2 reasons: first, most SMBs do not have the awareness that online can really and substantially improve their business. Second, they do not have the technical skills or they think it is too complex to work online. In the last few years Google has launched several initiatives such as Digital Unlocked, Google Maps and soon Google My Business. Many businesses have already started benefitting from these two initiatives.”
With Digital Unlocked, Google is committed to ensure that every single SMB in India that wants to go digital has access to quality training. In keeping with the varied learning needs of the millions of businesses in India, Google has built this program across online, offline and mobile. The offline training is being conducted in partnership with FICCI and over the next 3 years, 5000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities. The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials, curated specifically for India and are available free of charge at g.co/digitalunlocked. The tutorials cover a comprehensive set of topics ranging from building a web presence and driving online growth to reaching customers over mobile and video. The trainings are certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.
Sundar Pichai further elaborated, “Earlier, information was a luxury when I was a child. But today even kids sitting in India can access a lot of information at a faraway place like US. Google during the last 2 decades has been working with commitment to make the information available to the people across the globe. Our current focus in India is on SMBs, which today are the backbone of Indian economy. Since my last visit a year ago, Google has announced a lot of initiatives for the expansion of the business abilities of Indian entrepreneurs. The tools for going online for businesses are getting easier and powerful as time goes by. Through using Internet, even a small business can become a big one within a short time. In traditional ways of doing business, middlemen are involved who charge their own commission. But the online operations help you to bypass unnecessary middlemen and their fees, which saves time and money. Using an online platform helps to quickly up your business volumes overnight. Over the next 3 yrs, we will be reaching 1000s of businesses in India. Any SMB with Internet connection can sign up with us and start. Any business can build their own website and control it themselves easily. Google is serious about helping Indian SMBs and transform their way of doing business as never before.”
Using Google platforms, several businesses are starting digital platforms and leveraging the benefits, mankind advertising simple. Google My Business, to be launched later this year, helps to unlock the power of Internet and online channels for doing business in a more efficient way. Digital Unlock is an online and offline training program. Online training has many short and highly helpful video tutorials. At every step of the training process, you get more answers for your common queries. Our Digital Unlocked is being implemented in partnership with FICCI. These training programs teach you how to build a successful digital campaign. Primer mobile app is another initiative that very useful and easy to operate. Google My Business is a free service that helps personal business transform into actions and enables SMBs to propel their businesses. Using My Business entrepreneurs can set up and operate their own websites very easily and effectively. Next our initiatives also have the option to use India vernacular languages. Over the last six months, we have been working with 40,000 Indian businesses and results have been astounding.”
Further, for India’s mobile-first audience, Google also launched Primer, a free mobile app uniquely designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It is available for download through the Google Play and iOS app store. Primer also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly.
At the event, Google also previewed My Business Websites aimed at equipping the vast majority of small businesses with a simple way to start their digital journey by creating a free, mobile optimized website, easily and instantly. Available for Google My Business users later in the year, this new feature will provide simple, template, editable websites for small businesses created from their data and photos on Google Maps. My Business Websites will be available in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayalam.
Several small businesses that have leveraged Google’s products and technologies were also present at the event. Three of them – Walnut, Go Co-op and Maganlal Dresswalla – were in conversation with Sundar Pichai and shared their journey to digital using Google offerings including Google My Business, Google AdWords as well as the Google Cloud Platform.
The announcement is a continuation of Google’s efforts to support Digital India. Last year Google had launched GoogleMy Business, a program aimed at helping SMBs get an online presence on Google Search and GoogleMaps, without having to invest in a website or domain. Over 8 million Indian SMBs are already on these platforms, with thousands more coming online every month.
Speaking on the occasion, IT Minister, Mr. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad; said, “I am glad to be here talking to Sunder Pichai of Google and others here. Our Prime Minister, Modi’s vision is to make Indian an Honest, Strong and Digitally empowered country. I am happy that Sunder Pichai and his team are taking great initiatives through Google to digitally empower SMBs in India. I wish Google will employ more Indian managers in future to promote and implement Google’s initiatives in taking India to the next level in the process of digitization of the economy. We missed the industrial revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries and then we also missed the entrepreneurial revolution that swept across the world in the later part of the 20th century. But now we do not want to miss the digital revolution that started in the 21st century. Today, we are seeing a digital transformation and metamorphosis at a massive scale, as never before. Powered by the digital push, today, even those who do not know English and even illiterates are becoming digitally literate. Digital India, Make in India and Skill India are in the process of making an amazing India. Today, in India there are nearly 350 million smart phones and 1.9 billion Addhar accounts. Now already over 40 mobile manufacturers have started their manufacturing plants in India under Make in India program. Today, even people in the rural areas are actively using ecommerce. There are 51 millions SMBs in India. Now even government apps are being downloaded in millions. Those who are making Aadhar cards etc, I will call them digital soldiers. After the stock market has gone digital, things have improved and changed for better very fast. Demonetization has given another push to the digitization as even small groceries and even shops started accepting digital payments. I appeal to Google to become a proud partner of India and take more initiatives to digitize India. India should become a great hub of digital transactions in the coming years.”
“Google is committed to bring the best initiatives and tools to the Indian public to digitize their businesses and activities” .
Sundar Pichai, CEO—Google.