Launching a business accelerator with the Indian IT ministry is Facebook parent company Meta’s metaverse push

As it increases its wager on the metaverse, Meta Platforms is considering India’s thriving startup scene. According to officials, the social media behemoth has teamed with the startup center of the Indian IT Ministry to introduce an accelerator in the nation to promote innovation in cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality.

The XR Startup Program, which is run by MeitY Startup Hub and Meta, will work with 40 early-stage startups to help them with R&D and making products and services that work. The American giant also said that each new business will get a grant of over $25,000.

Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund will help pay for the program. At first, 80 startups will be chosen by hand to attend a bootcamp. Meta said that it will also help startups find customers, make deals, and raise money.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship, said that the program’s main goal is to help small cities and towns grow new technologies.

The XR Startup Program is the latest way that Meta is helping to improve skills in the South Asian market.India is the country with the most Facebook and WhatsApp users, so the company teamed up with the Central Board of Secondary Education, which is in charge of education in both private and public schools in India, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety, online well-being, and augmented reality for students and teachers in the country.

The program will be run by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi. There will also be a “grand challenge” for innovation in areas like education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability, and tourism, the American company said.

“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.

Meta has always been keen to collaborate with startups in India. The company has helped three new businesses in the country get off the ground. These include the social commerce platform Meesho and the online education group Unacademy.

“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.

“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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