Amazon launches $250 million venture fund for SME digitization, agritech, health tech

Amazon has announced a $250 million fund for India with the aim to focus on enabling SME digitisation, agriculture technology and medical technology. The announcement came at the tech giant’s second Smbhav event.

Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon Web Services, said, “Small and medium-sized businesses are often the engine and the lifeblood of economies and I think it’s true in India as well. And we are very passionate about trying to enable acceleration of SMBs in fueling innovation and the economy in India and so building on what we did last year. I am excited to announce the $250 million Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund where we’re going to help inspire more SMBs, to be able to build brand new businesses.”

Jassy will also take over as Amazon Inc CEO later this year.

Amit Agarwal, Global SVP & Country Head, Amazon India, mentioned that the fund is targeting at empowering the best ideas and attracting visionary entrepreneurs. The fund is going to focus on three big fields- SMB digitization,

innovations to empower farmer productivity and reach and healthtech to provide quality healthcare.

During Covid-19 last year, Amazon had announced an initiative – Local shops on Amazon, which has been adopted by more than 50,000 retailers in 450 cities across India. “We are committing to bring 1 billion local shops online on Amazon by 2025,” he said.

The company will launch a dedicated storefront which customers can access in regional languages and also encourage the participation of these local stores in onsite sale events.

He added that realising that the initiative needs to reach every region of India and therefore, the company is launching another initiative called Spotlight Northeast. This is in partnership with the government and is aimed to boost the local economy, create jobs and towards empowerment of women across the northeast states.

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Speaking more on the initiative, Jitendra Singh, Minister for State (IC) for Development of North Eastern Region, mentioned that the program is aimed to bring e-commerce benefits to 50,000 weavers, artisans, a majority from the tribal communities, and local small businesses including offline neighbourhood stores across the region by 2025.

“Additionally, we’ll bring 5000 graphs, Geographical Indication (GI) products and other local products on its India marketplace. This will boost export of exclusive commodities of the region for example – honey, spices like Mizo Chilli, tea, etc. I hope that the outcome of this initiative will help in boosting the local industry and also improve the standing of the Northeast region and for all of us here in the world,” Singh said.

Amazon will also launch a dedicated North East storefront to showcase unique GI products and hidden gems like Chakshesang shawls from Nagaland, Muga Silk from Assam, different types of weaves like Moirang Phee from Manipur.

Amazon is partnering with government organizations including TRIFED and NEHHDC to engage, skill and digitally enable artisan and weaver communities across the region.



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