Facebook hs launched commerce and connectivity – focused accelerator programs for startups on Monday.
The two 12- week capsule program is focused on providing and expanding new ideas and solutions to broaden its commerce and connectivity efforts as the COVID pandemic has redefined business strategies of major e retailers.
The company said that Facebook’s Commerce Accelerator will select 60 startups from the EMEA and LATAM regions for the program. The chosen startups will focus on building shopping solutions to drive commerce inside Facebook’s family of apps.
Michael Huang, Head, Startups Programs commented on a blog post, “Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from an entrepreneur to the largest brand to use our apps to connect with customers”.
In a recent global survey conducted in partnership with the OECD and World Bank, Facebook found that at least a third of small to medium-sized businesses on Facebook saw a 25% or more jump in its sales being made on e-commerce platforms as people preferred to follow safe distancing norms and shop online due to coronavirus.
The company stated, “With so many sales being made online, the importance of intuitive and positive e-commerce experiences for customers has become even greater.”
The other accelerator program, called Connectivity, will feature 30 startups from the LATAM and North America (Americas) regions. These startups will be totally focusing on making internet access available in more places and providing affordable connectivity to a minimum of 100,000 additional potential customers.
Facebook said through these accelerator programs it aims to provide local development opportunities for potential entrepreneurs. The company holds one or two similar accelerator programs each year in some markets.
In total, the company has launched accelerator programs in 11 countries to date. The pandemic has “exposed the hard truth of the digital divide and the critical need for reliable, affordable internet connectivity,” commented Huang.
The chosen participant start-ups will get access to cost-free training, 1:1 mentorship, access to Facebook products, and the rich expertise and knowledge of a global network of successful founders.
However, as announced on Monday, the company is not offering monetary benefits to startups — something it has done in some of its previous accelerator programs, Interested parties can submit the online application.
“At Facebook, we strongly believe that by connecting, training, and growing entrepreneurs and startups through our programs, we can empower people to solve relevant, meaningful problems. We aim to build products that billions of people can use and benefit from,” Huang wrote.
For Facebook, the interest in commerce is relatively new as in the past it has mainly focused on connective efforts. CEO Mark Zuckerberg in May had unveiled Facebook Shops for making it easy for companies to list their products on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook’s foray into the already competitive e-commerce platforms is surely worth a wait and watch.