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Amazon launches ‘Digital Kendra’ to onboard new MSMEs

In line with its mission to digitise 10 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India, Amazon India on Thursday announced the launch of its first brick-and-mortar resource centre, ‘Digital Kendra’ in Surat, Gujarat.

Amazon ‘Digital Kendras’ will act as walk-in establishments and provide micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) the opportunity to learn about the benefits of e-commerce and avail a range of third-party services such as shipping and logistics support, cataloguing assistance, digital marketing services, GST and taxation support to kick start their journey towards being digital entrepreneurs.

“This is an important step towards the commitment we have made to digitise MSMEs. Our thought process was that if Amazon can go down to these MSME clusters and handhold them through their journey of digitisation, it will help small businesses take their first steps towards e-commerce. Our trained resource partners will take these MSMEs through all the services and various programs which Amazon provides," said Manish Tiwary, vice president at Amazon India.

“Amazon believes that a sustainable way for MSMEs to get on their feet is to go digital. And having the comfort of a physical center will only help MSMEs get the right level of confidence," added Tiwary in an interaction with Mint.

Tiwary added that Amazon India has helped Indian MSMEs export $1 billion in shipments in the last 12 months, under its ‘Global Selling’ program. Of the 850,000 sellers on Amazon India, the e-commerce major has onboarded over 300,000 sellers since January 2020.

Amazon India has more than 100,000 sellers in Gujarat, at present, Tiwary added.

“Last year at Smbhav, we had announced that Amazon will invest $1 billion in India to help digitize 10 million Indian MSMEs by 2025. And today, we take one more important step towards that goal as we open our first Amazon ‘Digital Kendra’ in Surat, Gujarat. This is an earnest endeavour to bring the right tools, support and services infrastructure closer to where MSMEs are based and help them benefit from e-commerce," said Amit Agarwal, senior vice president and country head, Amazon India.

Based on the feedback for its first ‘Digital Kendra’, Amazon India will look to open more such resource centers in the country.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has taken the brick-and-mortar route to accelerate the digitisation towards e-commerce in the country. Earlier, it also launched ‘Amazon Easy’, first piloted in 2015, which enables local entrepreneurs to offer online shopping assistance to new-to-ecommerce audiences.

As of 2020, Amazon India claimed to have over 45000 Amazon Easy touchpoints.

“I would like to congratulate Amazon India for having taken this initiative that will help equip MSMEs with the right knowledge, skills and support to benefit from technology adoption and ecommerce. This is even more important as MSMEs look at reviving and rebuilding their businesses after the recent challenges. Initiatives like these have a multiplier effect in enabling our MSMEs to play a big role in taking India," said Vijay Rupani, chief minister of Gujarat, while inaugurating Amazon’s first ‘Digital Kendra’.

Last year, during Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos’s visit to India, the company had announced three important commitments - to digitally enable 10 million MSMEs, enable ecommerce exports worth $10 billion and create 1 million additional jobs in India between 2020 and 2025.

The company claims to have already digitised 2.5 million MSMEs, enabled cumulative exports worth $3 billion, while helping create nearly 1 million jobs in India till date. This includes 300,000 direct and indirect jobs since January 2020.