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Google open to partnering with industry bodies to take SMBs online

10 million out of 51 million small and medium businesses have presence on Google Search

Avishek Rakshit  |  Kolkata 


India is aiming to bring all of the country's small and medium businesses (SMBs) online and is on a lookout for partners among industry bodies. Earlier, it had come up with the tool for SMBs which makes it possible for these companies to have a digital presence.

"If there are (industry) bodies which can help us accelerate the process and give us scale, we are open to partnering with them. Our eventual aim is to bring in all the SMBs in the country online", Shalini Girish, director, India at Marketing Solutions said.

The company has recently tied up with and to create the Digital Unlocked initiative which helps startups and SMBs by providing essential digital skills, create an online presence, launch and execute cost-effective targeted digital marketing campaigns besides others.

"In the next three years, we plan to conduct 5,000 classroom training programmes for the SMBs and SMEs so that they get to know the benefits of an online presence and may take it forward", she said.

So far, 13,000 certifications for the training programme.

Girish said India has around 51 million SMBs of which a total 10 million have a presence in Search and Maps.

Further, India has also come up with a mobile app — — which allows users to learn digital marketing skills in an easy and interactive way.

In a recent joint study conducted by India and KPMG, it was noticed that out of the total SMBs in the country, around 68 per cent don't have any online presence while the digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast as compared to the offline SMBs.

According to the report, SMBs with an online presence has been able to grow their customer base more efficiently than the ones with an offline presence. Fifty-two per cent of the small businesses with an online presence has been able to expand to markets other than their base cities while it is 29 per cent for the ones with no digital presence.

Asked about how the forthcoming (Goods and Services Tax) regime is affecting the SMBs, she said, "They want to understand the impact of on their business. We have been getting query from the SMBs on this which we are quite capable to address".

In January this year, the California based company's Indian division piloted the SMC0centric website with a base of 1,20,000 SMBs and finally launched it this month. The tool offers the SMBs manage how customers view their business.