Tech giant Google, which is empowering thousands of Indian SMBs with essential digital skills with its Digital Unlocked initiative, recognised small businesses that have embraced technology to power their growth.
India is home to over 51 million SMBs, contributing to 37 percent of India’s GDP but only 32 percent have web presence, highlights Rajan Anandan, VP, Google India & South East Asia. In its endeavour to digitally empower small and medium enterprises, Google felicitated the winners of SMB Heroes 2017, an initiative aimed at recognising India’s small businesses that have embraced technology to chart their growth story.
According to a joint report by Google and KPMG, SMBs cited a lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills as the essential reasons for being offline.
Launched earlier this year, Google’s Digital Unlocked initiative is aimed at bridging these gaps and empowering thousands of Indian SMBs with essential digital skills. It has trained over 500,000 individuals under the programme.
Rajan Anandan said: “India’s incredible story of internet adoption continues to have a transformational impact on how people are consuming information, finding new businesses and connecting with one another. However, India’s SMB community is not yet where they should be. At Google, we are committed to removing the barriers to adoption and providing small businesses with the training and tools they need to accelerate their growth.”
The SMB Heroes 2017
The initiative received 1,100 entries from over 142 cities. An eminent jury panel comprising industry experts and Google’s top management selected 14 regional finalists earlier this year.
Entries to SMB Heroes were sought in three categories — Woman Business Leader, Business Impact through Digital, and Impacting Change through Digital. Three businesses under each of these categories were awarded for excelling in innovative use of technology, leveraging it to overcome challenges and grow their businesses.
- Arpita Ganesh, CEO of Buttercups, bagged the award for Woman Business Leader. Buttercups is India’s leading online lingerie store and provides custom lingerie for women. Based out of Chennai, the company was started as an offline business, but in 2014 Arpita turned to social media marketing to robustly grow the brand’s reach. In 2016, she began exploring Google advertising solutions. After starting digital marketing, Arpita highlights that the business witnessed a 13-fold jump in revenues in one and a half years, experiencing a revenue growth of nearly 200 percent since 2015.
- Farida Gupta, who runs a women’s apparel brand, won the award in the Business Impact through Digital category. The company aims at bringing together a varied range of traditional crafts and techniques of dyeing, weaving, printing and hand embroidery. In 2016, the company launched its website and a mobile site, and also started using digital advertising tools to engage with customers in a better way. In the last one year, the company has witnesses a 10-fold increase in customer acquisition and is looking at 400 percent growth in online revenue year on year.
- Chennai-based CareNx, a health solutions provider for pregnant women, was the winner of the Impacting Change through Digital category. Leveraging the power of technology to take healthcare to remotest corners of India, CareNx launched CareMother, a first-of-its-kind app that connects pregnant women with gynecologists to monitor vitals, acting as an end-to-end health information management system for gynecologists and patients. Today, CareMother is catering to over 6,000 pregnant women in over 200 villages across India and aims to help 30,000 pregnant women by the end of this year.
Other initiatives for digital empowerment
Apart from the Digital Unlocked campaign, Primer and Websites with Google My Business are two other initiatives aimed at equipping Indian SMBs with the power of digital. Primer is a free mobile app aimed at teaching digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. The app has witnessed 2 million downloads so far.
Websites with Google My Business is a free tool for SMBs to create free, mobile-optimised websites instantly. This tool allows SMBs to automatically build websites in 10 regional languages and over 1,60,000 Indian businesses are using it to connect with customers.