In an effort to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses in India, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp on Thursday announced the “Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge”.

The top five startups will receive a total grant of $250,000 (roughly Rs. 1.8 crores), the company said in a statement.

“Ideas and business models capable of making a large-scale socio-economic impact and solve day-to-day problems have been invited to apply for the challenge by March 10,” said WhatsApp.

The messaging app, with 1.3 billion global users and over 200 million users in India, has been working closely on its business platform for a year now.

Nearly one year after debuting the WhatsApp Business application, the app is now used by more than 5 million businesses monthly.

In India, 84 percent of small and midsize business (SMBs) think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, and 80 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.


We discussed what WhatsApp absolutely needs to do in 2019, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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