New Delhi, April 15: With a view to encourage the startup ecosystem in India, e-commerce major Amazon on Thursday announced a $250 million fund to help businesses grow and achieve new heights. Amazon India launched the ‘Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund’ which it would invest in startups and entrepreneurs focusing on technology innovations in SMB digitisation, agriculture and healthcare. According to reports, the fund was announced in the opening session of Amazon India's flagship event Smbhav.

Here’s how the ‘Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund’ would benefit startups in India:

  1. Amazon India said that the venture fund will invest in technology-led startups that are passionate about unlocking possibilities of a digital India.
  2. The fund will specifically focus on encouraging the best ideas to digitise SMBs (small & medium businesses), and drive technology-led innovation in agriculture to improve farmer productivity.
  3. Moreover, Amazon announced plans to digitally empower and bring 1 million offline retailers and neighbourhood stores online, on the Amazon India marketplace, by 2025 through the 'Local Shops on Amazon' programme.
  4. The launch of the Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund aims to attract best ideas and empower entrepreneurs in the country to partner in this vision.

Amazon also launched the 'Spotlight North East' initiative at the same event to bring 50,000 artisans, weavers and small businesses online from the eight states in the north-eastern region of India by 2025 and to boost exports of key commodities like tea, spices and honey from the region.

Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India said in his address that in the year 2020, the firm pledged to digitise 10 million SMBs, enable $10 billion in exports, and create 1 million jobs by 2025. “Through our initiatives, we are committed to being a catalyst and a partner in unlocking the possibilities for a Digital India, and realise the vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat as put forth by the PM”, he said. “Additionally, our initiatives to onboard 1 million offline shops on and digitally empower the northeast region will accelerate the progress towards a digital and self-reliant India," he added.