New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI) Social media giant Meta on Friday said it has, under its #SheMeansBusiness programme, partnered with industry body FICCI to support five lakh women-led small businesses across India.

The announcement was made during Meta’s inaugural National Women Entrepreneurship Summit to encourage industry dialogue and steps to support the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across sectors.

Access to capital and relevant digital tools remain the leading issues faced by women-led businesses, according to a statement.

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Out of over 63 million small businesses in India, about 20 per cent are owned by women highlighting the need to bring more gender equality, it added.

“Together with FICCI, Meta will address the barrier to access right digital tools and resources by offering easy access to tools, programmes and resources by Meta to women entrepreneurs in India.

“With this partnership, Meta will extend its support via three initiatives — Facebook Business Coach, Grow your Business Hub, and Meta’s Commerce Partners Program,” the statement said.

Narayan Rane, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said digital adoption through social media platforms has led many businesses to grow and succeed.

For a tangible inclusive economic development of the country, there is a need to support women-owned businesses by creating an ecosystem that offers opportunities, Rane added.

“We are hopeful that Meta’s pledge to support five lakh women-owned businesses will create a supportive ecosystem for women and inspire them to become contributors to the overall development of the country,” he said.

FICCI President Sanjeev Mehta said FICCI-FLO ‘Empowering the Greater50%’ is an ambitious women empowerment mission to enhance the entrepreneurial and decision-making skills of women.

“India Inc stands committed to this cause. Our partnership with Meta will encourage more women to take up entrepreneurship by providing them with all the necessary support,” he added.

Ajit Mohan, vice-president and managing director at Facebook India (Meta), said the pandemic has been an economic crisis for small businesses across the world.

“Women-led businesses have been particularly affected due to lack of resources. We’ve seen that when supported with access to the right tools and resources, these women-led businesses turn out to be more economically resilient,” he added.

He also said that to help women-led businesses of India, Meta is partnering with FICCI to enable five lakh women at the grass-root level with appropriate digital tools and resources.

This is part of the company’s commitment to enabling one crore small businesses over the next three years via Meta’s Centre for Fuelling India’s New Economy (C-FINE) in Gurugram, he noted.

Meta had created the #SheMeansBusiness programme in 2016 to be a space for entrepreneurial women to make valuable connections, share advice and move forward together. Meta has trained 1.5 million women in 38 markets around the world since 2016. PTI SR HRS hrs