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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Google India to bring 500,000 Indian Small Medium Businesses online for free

Google India launched a nationwide initiative to assist small medium businesses in India to get online with a free website, personalised domain and hosting. Called ‘India Get Your Business Online,’ this initiative aims to break down the barriers that stop small businesses from getting online -- by offering a quick, easy and free tool to set up and host a website.

With this initiative, Google intends to help 500,000 small medium businesses in India to get online in next three years, working with web hosting provider HostGator.

Small business owners in India can logon to and use the tool to get a get a free, easy-to-build website and web hosting for one year powered by HostGator. Businesses also get a customised domain .in name and free tools, training and resources to succeed online.

According to union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, "SMEs are the future business leaders of India and their growth is a priority for the UPA government and its policies. We want to see India's SMEs grow to become recognized Indian brands, and a presence on the Internet is absolutely essential for this. I therefore welcome Google's initiative in launching India Get Your Business Online for SMEs. This will help SMEs modernize their operations and reach out to more customers in India and abroad. Indian SMEs should make the most of such opportunities to establish their presence on the Internet. I wish this initiative all success."

Highlighting Google’s commitment to India, Nikesh Arora SVP & Chief Business Officer of Google Inc. said, “Google has always believed in the power of the Internet to help small businesses thrive and to make people's lives easier by making information more accessible and useful. We recognise India as a high growth and high potential Internet market in the world and we’re committed to play the role of a catalyst to bring the benefits of the internet economy to small and medium businesses in India. We have received tremendous response to this initiative in other countries and we’re very excited to bring this initiative to India and empower local businesses as more and more Indian users get online.”

While India is home to an estimated 8 million small and medium businesses, only about 400,000 have a website. The initiative is designed to bridge the information gap that exists online due to the lack of presence of local Indian businesses on the Internet. Businesses often believe that getting online is too complex, costly and time-consuming; this perception prevents many SMBs from taking the first step towards building an online presence. Google India and HostGator plan to change that through this initiative. In addition, 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 call centers 1800-266-3000.

“Small and medium businesses have been an important focus area for us and we have launched a number of initiatives in India to support SMB’s who are already online. By partnering with HostGator we’re changing the game - our consumers will benefit from having access to better information of local businesses, business owners will benefit as their customers will be able to find them easily - so it’s a win-win proposition for both. We’re investing major resources in this campaign to help as many businesses as possible to get online. We aim to get at least 500,000 businesses online in the next three years,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director and VP sales and operations for Google India.

“SMBs form a very substantial part of our global customer base and we are committed to offer world class service to Indian SMBs. With Google, we have the perfect partner and we are very excited about the opportunity this represents for small and medium businesses in India. We will do our best to help out business in India build their online presence and also offer 24/7 support through our call center,” said Taylor Hawes, Marketing head of

India get your business online program is also supported by Federation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), popularly known as FISME. FISME, the non-profit organization will work with Google India to help SMBs get online through direct customer outreach and events.

V K Agarwal, president, FISME said, “With Google search being the most preferred search service on both the desktop and mobiles in India, this initiative of offering free domain, dynamic website and promotional tools, brings unparalleled advantage for small businesses in India. FISME with its network of 730 MSME associations will help the Indian Small businesses to make the most of this opportunity and benefit from this program. It is going to be a game changer.”

Details of website creation tool:

● Free: It’s free to set up your website. The domain is free for 1 year, and it’s free to maintain your website for 12 months.

● Quick: The website tool takes 15 minutes from sitting down to being found online

● Easy: You don’t need to be a tech whiz to get started. All you need to start is your address, phone number, TAN/CIN or PAN to verify you as a business

● The website is simple because customers are looking for simple information online

● If you want to make your website work harder, you’ll have access to steady stream of free tips and tools from the Getting Indian Business Online team and a free coupon of worth Rs. 2500 INR advertising trial from Google AdWords to help promote your site.

● Gives you your own .in domain

● You get a Google Apps account - free personalized email ids

● Other features include photos/logos, integration with social media platforms

● After the first year, SMBs can choose to pay a monthly pay-as-you-go to maintain their website using HostGator.

● At the end of the first year, they’ll have to pay a nominal charge if they wish to renew their domain name. They can cancel their website at any time.

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