Meta is partnering with India's ONDC to boost 5 Lakh small businesses, take on e-commerce giants

Meta is partnering with India's ONDC to boost 5 Lakh small businesses, take on e-commerce giants

Meta is partnering with India's ONDC to boost 5 Lakh small businesses, take on e-commerce giants

In a strategic move, social media giant Meta has joined forces with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to pave the way for as many as 500,000 small businesses to tap into the potential of digital commerce over the next two years.

This groundbreaking collaboration sees Meta and ONDC collaboratively spearheading integrated capacity-building programs, fusing social media expertise, AI-driven tools, and an open technology network architecture, as reported by the Indian Express.

The primary objective is to create an equitable playing field for the myriad Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) navigating the digital commerce landscape.

Thampy Koshy, the CEO of ONDC, and Sandhya Devanathan, Vice-President of Meta India, have outlined their shared vision for bolstering small businesses and weighed in on the burgeoning digital commerce landscape in India.

Expanding on the initiatives meticulously crafted to underpin the digital transformation of small businesses, Koshy explained that ONDC’s overarching vision is to empower small enterprises with equal opportunities in the digital realm, steering them away from being overshadowed by a select few major players.

Devanathan echoed a similar sentiment, affirming Meta’s dedication to collaborating with ONDC to upskill small businesses entering the network. She underscored Meta’s commitment through the Small Business Academy, aiming to train up to five million small businesses in digital marketing skills over the next two years to fuel their growth.

Additionally, Meta will extend engineering support to business solutions providers, ensuring seamless buyer-seller experiences on WhatsApp integrated with ONDC. Collaboration is also underway on the development of ONDC’s Sahayak chatbot to streamline seller onboarding.

Devanathan underscored that Meta’s platforms — Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp — empower small businesses to test, iterate, and grow audiences cost-effectively. “Open networks like ONDC that democratise access will enable small sellers to make their catalogue available to wider sets of buyers. We are also focused on women-led small businesses through our skilling and enablement initiatives,” she said.

Koshy emphasized the confidence he observes in Indian entrepreneurs and developers crafting innovative solutions for both national and global markets. He stressed the importance of leveraging ONDC and Meta’s offerings for small businesses to expand their customer bases, moving beyond mere replication of existing models. “Our government is also strongly backing efforts like ONDC to move towards an inclusive, participation-driven digital economy,” Koshy added.