Google launches $15M financial assistance program in India, partners with SIDBI to offer loans to businesses

Google has formed a key partnership to help provide loans to micro and small businesses in India, the firm announced at its annual event for the South Asian market.

The company said it has partnered with Small Industries Development Bank of India, the country’s apex regulatory body for overall licensing and regulation of micro, small and medium enterprise finance, to launch a $15 million financial assistance program to deliver timely micro credit to enterprises.

The loans, which will be disbursed by SIDBI, will be offered at “competitive interest rates,” and its ticket size will range from 25 lakhs Indian rupees ($33,728) to 1 crore ($135,000). Eligible firms will be using the loan to finance purchases of new equipment and machinery, scaling their production infrastructure and fulfilling their working capital needs, said Shalini Puchalapalli, director of Customer Solutions at Google India, at the event.

“With today’s announcement, we believe that working with the broader ecosystem we can drive a wide-ranging positive social impact. We also hope that this will encourage more organizations to invest in public-private partnerships and further strengthen our economy,” she said.

The program will prioritize women-owned businesses and those that are engaged in production of equipment for the country’s fight against the pandemic, she added.

“Today, we feel proud that SIDBl’s efforts in reviving the sector are backed by a strong collaboration with Google,” said Sivasubramanian Ramann, chairman and managing director of SIDBI, at the virtual event.

Google, which last year committed to invest $10 billion in India over the course of five to seven years, is the latest tech giant to explore helping disburse loans to businesses in India.

In August, Facebook launched a similar program to help small and medium-sized businesses secure loans in the South Asian market. Facebook has inked tie-ups with lending partners to grant small ticket loans — ranging between 500,000 Indian rupees ($6,720) to 50,00,000 ($67,200) — at a predefined interest rate of 17%-20% per annum.