Eying on India’s thriving small and medium businesses (SMBs), global technology giant Google launches a free digital training program – Digital Unlocked and previewed free website for SMBs in India. In an event in New Delhi today, Google CEO Sunder Pichai said that SMBs are backbone of India’s economy as they contribute 37% in country’s GDP but they are also the one who think that “Internet is not for them.”
“There are 51 million SMBs in India, of which only 32% are online. The large number – 68% are still offline because most of them do not understand the benefit of going digital and they also face technical challenges,” said Rajan Anandan, vice president, South East Asia and India at Google.
Google says that is why it is important to provide the right tools and skills to digitise India’s SMBs. “We believe it is important for us to invest in training and equipping these individuals and small businesses to accelerate their journey of growth,” said Pichai.
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Company executives asserted that Digital Unlocked will address both these challenges and impart essential digital skills that will help SMBs to get online and start using the Internet to grow their business.
Google has built this program across online, offline and mobile. The offline training is being conducted in partnership with industry body FICCI and over the next three years, 5,000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities. “A day workshop will comprise of an 8 hours rigorous training on going digital,” said Sapna Chadha, country marketing manager, Google India.
The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials and is available free of charge at g.co/digitalunlocked. The tutorials cover a 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.
Google also launched Primer, a free mobile app 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.
Company also previewed My Business Websites, aimed at offering SMB with a simple way to start their free optimised website. Currently less than 6% of SMBs have web presence and “Google plans to target 90% of them,” said Pichai.
Available for Google My Business users later in the year, this new feature will provide simple, templated, 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. Over 8 million Indian SMBs are already on these platforms.
“Both of these platforms are going to help SMBs in India,” said IT secretary, Aruna Sundarajan, adding that “we need scale, speed and agility to serve large market like India.”
Participating in the event, India’s IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We missed industrial revolution, we missed entrepreneurial revolution but we don’t want to miss digital revolution.” He urged Google India to bring expertise to ensure security of the digital platform and focus on cybersecurity in India. “In 3-4 years time, India’s digital economy is going to be a one trillion business,” he said.