At the 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries, Chairman Mukesh Ambani made a plethora of generous announcements, some of which are aimed at benefiting the domestic startup ecosystem.
Starting January 1, 2020, Reliance Jio will provide free cloud services and connectivity infrastructure to India's budding startups. This will also include Azure cloud services that Jio is bringing as part of a long-term alliance with Microsoft.
Ambani urged "all startups to register for their custom-designed package on Jio.com." About 80 percent of the cost of running a startup goes into setting up a cloud infrastructure. "We are taking away this cost," he said.
Not only this, Jio will also offer a monthly digital services pack to micro, small, and medium businesses, starting at just Rs 1,500. Ambani called these enterprises the "bedrock of the economy".
"To run their business, a bundle of connectivity, productivity, and automation tools costs a micro and small business between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 per month currently. For a similar service, customers abroad pay over $1,000 per month. Today we are taking the bold step of giving these applications along with our connectivity to small businesses for one-tenth the cost."
He asserted that these new initiatives will benefit two to five million startups and SMBs in India, and propel them towards growth.
There will also be custom-designed plans for medium and slightly larger businesses that incur costs between Rs 3 lakh and 5 lakh per month on connectivity and infrastructure.
Jio will also continue to "invest and financially support" startups that can address India's requirements in healthcare, education, agriculture, and skill development, and create new livelihoods.
"Jio is a startup built in India for India by Indians. And we have a special place in our hearts for startups," Ambani said.
The company has already invested in 14 startups that complement Jio's services. And, will look to make more investments in blockchain, virtual and mixed reality, and other "advanced technologies".
(Edited by Megha Reddy)