Google India offers free website to small, medium businesses

November 2nd, 2011 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) Google India Wednesday launched a new initiative, “India Get Your Business Online” to provide a free website, personalised domain and hosting to small and medium businesses (SMB) across the country, in partnership with US-based firm HostGator.

The company aims to help 5,00,000 small and medium businesses in India to get online in next three years through this programme.

“With this initiative, our customers will benefit from having access to better information of local businesses, and business owners will benefit as their customers will be able to find them easily,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director and vice president (sales and operations), Google India.

“We are investing major resources in this campaign to help as many businesses as possible to get online. We aim to get at least 5,00,000 businesses online in the next three years,” he added.

The company declined to give any investment details but said that currently Google is not expecting any revenue out of the project.

According to Google, India has over 26 million small and medium businesses but only about 4,00,000 have a website. This initiative is designed to bridge the information gap that exists online due to the lack of presence of local Indian businesses on the internet, it said.

HostGator will also offer free support in creating, hosting and managing the website for a period of one year without any cost through its toll free numbers.

“We want to see India’s SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to grow to become recognized Indian brands, and a presence on the internet is absolutely essential for this,” said Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was also present on the occasion.

“This initiative will help SMEs modernise their operations and reach out to more customers in India and abroad,” he added.

Google provides a range of templates and designs from where the companies can choose the lay-out for their website. In order to reach out to a larger audience, the services will also be provided in Hindi and regional languages but the company did not give a specific deadline to it.

“We will also have it in Hindi and regional languages very soon,” Anandan added.

The initiative is also supported by the Federation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and private lending firm ICICI.

The programme has already been launched in other countries.

“We have received tremendous response to this initiative in other countries and we are very excited to bring this initiative to India and empower local businesses as more and more India users get online,” said Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer, Google Inc.

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