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Digital Kendra for SMBs, Spotlight North East Launched

Amazon Smbhav 2021, the company’s annual event for small and medium businesses, was opened in a virtual avatar earlier today. The event marks the company’s annual push for digitisation of India’s millions of offline small and medium enterprises, and marked key anecdotes linked to promises made at Smbhav 2020, as well as moves that look towards the future. At the keynote, Amazon India vice-president, Manish Tiwary, announced the opening of the company’s first ‘Digital Kendra’, as a move that the company hopes will expedite its push for digitisation of offline businesses.

Amazon India also announced a new venture – Spotlight North East. The latter is an initiative made by Amazon India, and aims to bring 50,000 artisans, small businesses and weavers from North-East India online, by 2025. The move aims to boost export of local north-eastern produce to other regions, therefore boosting businesses from the region that trade in local commodities such as tea, honey and spices. Also announced earlier today was a $250 million venture fund through which the company aims to invest in Indian startups and “entrepreneurs focusing on technology innovations in SMB digitisation, agriculture and healthcare.” According to Amazon, the fund will look for SMBs that “drive technology-led innovation in agriculture to improve farmer productivity, and enable them to bring the best of India’s farms to consumers, and enable universal and quality healthcare access for all using technology.”

Also joining the opening session of Amazon Smbhav 2021 were Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal and to-be CEO (and erstwhile AWS chief) Andrew Jassy. During the session, Jassy highlighted the essence of cloud platforms, claiming that they offer comparative costs in comparison with older business hosting methods, the biggest advantage of which is scalability. As part of examples, Jassy highlighted major Indian startups Dream11, Paytm and Swiggy as some of the biggest global success stories of businesses hosted on AWS, alongside the likes of Pinterest, Instagram and Airbnb – among others.

The Amazon Digital Kendra announced today is the first move of its kind by a tech giant in India. The mission will setup physical offices under the Amazon India umbrella, which will work towards onboarding small and medium businesses and private ventures on to a digital platform. During the keynote, Tiwary noted that since February 2020, digitisation of businesses under the company has seen a 10x growth towards its goal of bringing 10 million offline businesses online, by 2025. He further highlighted that within one year, Amazon has also registered over 70,000 sellers who export to other countries, and are already accounting for revenues of over $3 billion.

Finally, Amazon India also claimed that it has helped create over 3 lakh direct jobs in digitised small and medium businesses over the past one year, while indirectly, it has contributed to the creation of over 1 million (or 10 lakh) jobs across India. Amazon Smbhav will run through the weekend, hosting its last session for 2021 on Sunday, April 18.

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