WhatsApp helping Indian entrepreneurs write success stories

New Delhi: Ice cream lover Aarti Laxman Rastogi decided that not all indulgences need to be sinful and, in March 2018, she started Artinci to provide ice creams with premium, all-natural ingredients.

Running a business has its own challenges and she also had to go through hardship till she joined the WhatsApp Business app.

“I have a hearing disability. WhatsApp has become a great communication enabler for me. I text my way through the planning and execution of any business day. It helps give and receive instructions in writing too, and leaves no room for misinterpretation,” said Rastogi who now has a 14-member team with five outlets in Bengaluru, and two more coming soon.

In addition to connecting Rastogi with customers, WhatsApp Business app helped the company launch a limited edition ice creams made with jaggery. “We sold out half of this batch through WhatsApp exclusively,” she added.

Several such success stories are being written via WhatsApp in India. Many Indian entrepreneurs have built something from scratch and are seeing it thrive and expand with support from the Facebook-owned app which has 400 million users in the country.

In a recent survey of Indian small businesses on WhatsApp, 77 per cent said that it helps them connect with customers – including in other cities – while 62 per cent said WhatsApp helps them increase sales and is essential for running their businesses.

According to Abhijit Bose, India Head, WhatsApp, small and micro-enterprises are providing the majority of jobs in the country and driving economic growth.

“We’re excited to play a role in helping to match the enormous talent and ambition of Indian entrepreneurs with the opportunity of a very strong domestic consumer base – and to make it easier to tap a vibrant global market,” Bose told IANS.

Poonam Bir Kasturi has made home composting a habit for thousands of people globally with Daily Dump, India’s first home composter for urban spaces, which she designed in 2006.

Daily Dump offers pioneering solutions for decentralized waste management. Its range of composters, segregation products, books, services and awareness material enable people’s change in behaviour to harm the environment less.

The company has a dedicated WhatsApp Business number for customers to connect for any queries, support, information and other details, and also use WhatsApp Business groups to connect as a team internally and with partners in different parts of the country.

“We have many customers who reach out on our helpline with photos and we give them live demos on what to correct,” said Kasturi.

According to Will Cathcart, Global Head of WhatsApp, India is producing a new generation of small businesses and micro enterprises that are shaking up markets, growing economies and boosting jobs.

“We’re excited to see what more people are doing with WhatsApp, particularly in India, to grow their business and support their local communities,” he said during his India visit in July this year.

Amid the comic book craze, TBS Planet is working to bring Indian superheroes into the spotlight.

“When I started TBS Planet in July 2016 with comic book ‘Ved,’ it was a hobby,” said founder Rajeev Tamhankar.

“Soon, we got contracts from Balaji Motion Pictures and Ajay Devgn FFilms to create comics for their movies ‘A Flying Jatt’ and ‘Shivaay,’ respectively. That’s when I quit my job and started this venture full-time”.

Jabalpur-based TBS Planet which develops comics in six languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla, Marathi, and English – is on WhatsApp Business app.

“Since almost everyone uses WhatsApp, it helped us scale distribution quickly. No one needed to download a new app to read our comics,” said Tamhankar.

Since they started using the WhatsApp Business app, the company has seen high growth rates, up to 40 per cent month over month. TBS Planet has approximately 14,000 subscribers – some from as far away as Dubai and the US.

Many Indian entrepreneurs, said Cathcart who launched “Gateway to a Billion Opportunities” — a collection of impactful user stories from across India”, have built something from scratch and are seeing it thrive and expand with support from WhatsApp.

When WhatsApp Pay becomes a reality soon in India, these small and micro-businesses will thrive more as peer-to-peer (P2P) payments will be done within WhatsApp, keeping transactions simple and secure.


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