Google on Wednesday announced an initiative to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India to expand and connect with their consumers online with a free website. Called ‘India Get Your Business Online,’ the initiative aims to break down the barriers that stop small businesses from getting online by offering easy tools to set up and host a website. The service will be free for one year.
The company said that utilizing its tools, which include 90 templates, any registered firm in India will be able to set up a website in less than 15 minutes.
Google, which is working with web host provider HostGator and InMotion Hosting, hopes to help five lakh small and medium businesses in India get online in next three years through this programme. “In many ways, this is the most important initiative we have announced in recent years,” said Rajan Anandan, head of Google’s India operations.
“There are over 80 lakh SMEs in the country. Of these just 4 lakh have websites.”
Nikesh Arora, Google’s global chief of business operations, said that as more and more people search for information on services and products on the web, it will be important for SMEs to have online presence. “In the next 10 years, if you don’t have online presence you will not succeed. We recognize India as a high growth and high potential internet market… we are committed to play the role of a catalyst to bring the benefits of internet economy to SMEs,” he said.
Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, who was at the launch event, said the initiative could not have come at a better time. “Government is realizing the potential of SMEs and is today announcing that from now onwards it will procure 25% of its goods from small businesses. The initiative from Google is laudable. We will explore how we can work together with the firm so that we can make SMEs more visible,” said the minister.
“I hope the initiative is not just a ploy to gain foothold in the market,” he said. To create an account, users will need to furnish an ID document, either a PAN, or Tax Deduction Account Number.
(TAN) or Corporate Identify Number (CIN).