To fuel the growth of India's entrepreneurial and small business community, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp in partnership with Invest India launched the "Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge". The challenge will give away a total of $250,000 (Rs 1.8 crore) to the top 5 winners.
WhatsApp has listed healthcare, rural economy, financial and digital inclusion, education and citizen safety as the themes for the startup challenge.
"Entrepreneurs with highly innovative ideas, business models that solve for a local India problem, making a large scale socio-economic impact, are invited to apply," WhatsApp said in a media release.
Registrations will be open till March 10, 2019. The applications will first be evaluated by an independent evaluation committee post which the best 30 ideas will be shortlisted for the subsequent round and to 10 in the following round. The selected 10 ideas will be invited to participate at the live pitch day during the grand finale. The five winning ideas will each receive a grant of $50,000 on May 24.
Earlier on October 31, 2018, WhatsApp had announced partnership with Invest India in the presence of Suresh Prabhu, Commerce & Industries Minister, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Industrial Policy & Promotion and Chris Daniels, Vice President, WhatsApp. At the time, Minister Prabhu said "WhatsApp is a startup that has grown into a community and is an example of how an idea can grow to become an integral part of our day to day life [and]... that the Startup community is the future of India and will be the platform through which the millions of youth of this country will be gainfully employed."
WhatsApp, with 1.3 billion global users and over 200 million users in India, has been working closely on its business platform - the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API. These were launched in 2018. With the launch WhatsApp, showcased how it is offering businesses of every size - be it small, medium or large enterprises-a formalized way to connect with customers. Earlier, last week, WhatsApp announced that over 5 million businesses are now on WhatsApp.