FACEBOOK LAUNCHED IN early May its second edition of the India  Innovation Accelerator, a technology mentoring program meant to guide innovation in one of the fastest-growing Asian economies. The accelerator is formed in partnership with T-Hub, a public-private partnership between the government of the Indian state of Telangana, three academic institutes and private sector leaders.

“We understand the challenges startups face to get their ideas off the ground and we are committed to paving the way for the next generation of startup success in the country,” said Satyajeet Singh, head of platform partnerships at Facebook India and South Asia, in a statement.

“Through our Accelerator Program with T-Hub, we want to provide the right support, training and mentorship they need to explore the potential of emerging technologies.”

This is the second edition of the program, with the first having mentored new companies in the winter and spring of 2018. Nine out of 20 shortlisted applications were selected last year for the three-month program. This year’s theme will focus on artificial intelligence and its application to solutions that could improve Indian communities. Facebook said it will provide mentorship, technical expertise and training on how to best use the Facebook developer tools, according to a report from The Economic Times. The company will also give access to experts from inside Facebook.

The 2019 edition of the program will try to tackle a wide variety of problems such as empowerment of women and girls, agriculture, health care, education, and climate change.

Last year, all companies had the chance to display their work and receive feedback at the end of the program on June 29.

A study that the McKinsey Global Institute released in April shows India’s businesses are moving to the digital economy as a pace that trails only Indonesia. India is also the second fastest-growing market for digital consumers, the report said.

The initiative for startups comes as governments in India and other countries consider new regulations for Facebook and other social media companies during elections. In April, Facebook officials acknowledged that more work was needed to prevent its platform being manipulated during the current Indian general elections, set to conclude on May 19.



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