In an initiative to serve local communities and support small businesses, social networking app Bumble is giving out grants worth a lakh rupees each to 13 entrepreneurs in India. Part of a larger cohort of 150+ businesses that it is monetarily supporting across 11 countries, the timely move comes at a time when companies find themselves at the brink due to the COVID-19 crisis. Also Read - Chinese Government's Social Media Post Mocking India's COVID-19 Crisis Backfires, Deleted
The Bumble Community Grant program, launched in the light of the global pandemic, aims to support local businesses and their workers around the globe, and keep them afloat while money is scarce. The program has been offered in the US, UK, Russia, Germany, Australia, India, France, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, and New Zealand. Also Read - Manmohan Singh Writes to PM Modi on COVID-19 Crisis; His 5 Suggestions to Battling The Pandemic
“When we first realised things were getting serious in March, we pulled together leaders across the company to figure out how we can support both our employees and our Bumble community of nearly over 90 million users in 150 countries during this unprecedented time. We were all watching the news daily and reading updates hourly. Unfortunately, the overall situation was changing rapidly and there were varying degrees of severity in each market that we operate in. Some areas were going under complete lockdown immediately, while others were a few days or weeks behind. Also Read - Fine For Not Wearing Masks in Delhi Raised From Rs 500 to Rs 2,000: Kejriwal's Hard Line to Tackle COVID
“As all of this was unfolding, we started seeing early reports that a pandemic of this size and with this level of potential impact could trigger loneliness, isolationism, and economic devastation – and we knew that Bumble could help. From using Bumble as a way to stay connected to real people during this time or to provide monetary support for small business owners, we knew we had to act quickly to support our community,” Priti Joshi, Vice President of Strategy at Bumble told IANSlife in an email.
Beginning March 26, in India, applications were available via an online registration form accessible in all three modes of the app (Date, BFF, and Bizz). Users had the opportunity to submit an entry for themselves as a small business owner or nominate a small business in their community. As the deadline closed in on April 9, the team saw a tremendous response.
“Within two weeks, we received over 2,000 entries in India from small businesses that have been impacted by the crisis,” Joshi said.
The 13 cross-industry MSMEs that received the grant include Culture Aangan, a company that is developing villages as tourist destinations; The Wishing Chair, a home-grown women-led design brand creating artisanal products as perfect gifting options; and The Curator Collective which aims to publish works of independent or upcoming visual artists and musicians.
From the fashion segment, recipients include Alankaara India, a small craft-based studio working with small sectors of women SHGs; and Bunavat Retail Private Limited who promote sustainable, ethical and timeless fashion.
In the health, CSR, and business sector they have chosen Bloodport Healthtech Solutions, who save lives using their digital platform for blood banks and blood donation drives; Suicide Prevention India Foundation, a non-profit that offers free counseling services to the COVID-19 affected; Mitti Social Initiatives Foundation, a non-profit working for sustainable livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities; Thinkerbell Labs that have built a tech ecosystem to enable self-learning and classroom teaching of Braille and will go regional; and Happy Turtle OPC Pvt Ltd, a bootstrapped company that works towards minimising plastic consumption.
In F&B and Hospitality, the grants will be given to The Little Farm Co., who produce fruit, vegetables and spices using organic fertilizers in MP; Happyjars.in, a health and food brand from Haryana that offers natural peanuts, almonds and cashew nut butter; and Poshinda Restaurant, who source ingredients from rural farmers and serve food to the farmers and students who come from rural areas to Ambajogai for work.
Suicide Prevention India Foundation told IANSlife: “We use the WHO-recommended strategy called Gatekeeper Training to prevent suicides. We aim to help individuals using evidence-based interventions by creating awareness through talks and workshops on suicide prevention. COVID-19 has pushed us to aggressively train everybody in our growing circle to counsel those who are emotionally distressed/ suicidal due to the uncertainty/loneliness the pandemic has brought along.
“Unfortunately, to continue training the mental health professionals we were lacking funds as COVID-19 has impacted our funding pipeline and eliminated our face-to-face business to host training with laymen, students or/and corporate professionals. The current situation has led to an increase in demand but a lesser willingness to pay. There has never been a drastic spike in the incidents of self-harm, suicide ideation or suicide attempts in the recent past. With the grant from Bumble, we will again continue to train the common people and mental health professionals who are our front liners to support emotionally distressed individuals.”
The grants will be given to the winners this week, as per Bumble.