We are post the days when our society was dominated by males; now it’s different, in contemporary times, women are breaking the trend and coming out of the shadows in an all-powerful avatar. In the past couple of decades, the status of women in Indian society has changed drastically. Indian women have come a long way from being just a homemaker to business, inventions, and leading new ideas. In the current era, women are playing a vital role in the growth of the Indian economy and have made a big impact and got success in almost every sector. This is the scenario in the Indian corporate and business world today, where women are leading top ventures & ideas, and making the nation proud by becoming a great leader & entrepreneur. Not just that, but women entrepreneurs are also being influential to other women of India as well as in globe.

Though, India continues to witness immensely successful women entrepreneurs like Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chanda Kochar, and Shahnaz Hussian, to name a few of them, still women continue to be a distinct minority in the booming entrepreneurial space. Reasons behind this is numerous – for several women conditioning, patriarchy and lack of social support from their own families may be a few reasons, however for the majority, lack of financial capital acts as a major barrier on their entrepreneurial journey. However, to deal with such roadblocks, and as a way of encouraging such businesses, Indian Government and financial institutions have introduced several schemes and policies that all women entrepreneurs need to be aware of. Let’s have a look.

Annapurna Scheme: Build Your Own Food Catering Unit

Under this scheme, the Government of India offers women entrepreneurs in food catering business, loans upto ₹ 50,000. The loaned amount could be used for working capital requirements such as buying utensils, cutlery, gas connection, refrigerator, mixer cum grinder, hot case, utensil stand, tiffin boxes, working table, water filter and much more. Currently, this scheme is offer by Bharatiya Mahila Bank, and State Bank of Mysore. The conditions are:

  • Sanctions loans of up to ₹ 50,000
  • Collateral in the form of assets and a guarantor are required to avail this scheme
  • Loan must be repaid within three years
  • Interest rates vary according to market rates

Bharatiya Mahila Bank Business Loan: Start Your Own Business with Ease

Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) started as a bank that focused on providing finances to underprivileged women who wanted to start their own businesses. The business loan scheme was implemented by BMB which was later merged with State Bank of India in 2017. As a public sector banking organization established in 2013, it offered women entrepreneurs’ business loans up to ₹ 20 crore for meeting working capital requirement, business expansion, or manufacturing enterprises. It also offers special business loans with a lucrative rate of interest and grants collateral-free loan up to ₹ 1 crore under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) cover. Women entrepreneurs are also offered 0.25 percent concession in interest rate. It includes a combo of working capital and term loan. The repayment tenure is flexible and has to be repaid within seven years.

Some of the different plans under the scheme include:

  • BMB Shringaar: This loan is applicable to self-employed women or homemakers who want to set up a parlour, purchase equipment, or meet daily business expenses. The loan doesn’t require you to provide any collateral security.
  • BMB Parvarish: This loan is for self-employed women or homemakers to set up day-care centers. The upper limit of this loan can be ₹ 1 Crore without any collateral security under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGSTSM) scheme.
  • BMB Annapurna: This loan is for food entrepreneurs, between 18 to 60 years. Those who are wanting to start or expand their small business can avail this loan.
  • BMB Kitchen Modernization: This loan is to help those who are planning to maintain their kitchen and modernize their lifestyle with respect to cooking and dining. 

Cent Kalyani Scheme: Empowering SMEs & Agriculture Entrepreneurs

This scheme under the Central Bank of India can be availed by both existing and new entrepreneurs and self-employed women for micro/small enterprises like farming, handicrafts, food-processing, garment making, beauty, canteen, mobile restaurants, circulating libraries, day centers, STD/Xerox booths, tailoring and more. Basically, this scheme is ideal for women who manages SMEs or is involved in agricultural work or engages in retail trading.

  • Loans up to ₹ 1 crore are sanctioned with a margin rate of 20 percent.
  • No collateral or guarantors are required.
  • Interest on loans depends on market rates.
  • The loan tenure will be a maximum of seven years including a moratorium period of six months to one year.

Dena Shakti Scheme: Business/MSME loans for Individuals

The Dena Shakti scheme for women is a solution for those who want to make a business out of manufacturing goods and agricultural work.

  • It provides loans up to ₹ 20 lakh for women entrepreneurs in agriculture, manufacturing, micro-credit, retail stores, or small enterprises.
  • It also provides a concession of 0.25 percent on rate of interest.
  • Loans up to ₹50,000 are offered under the microcredit category.

Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme: Providing Financial Assistance at Concessional Interest Rates

Offered by Punjab National Bank and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), this scheme aims to supports women entrepreneurs to set up a new small-scale venture.

  • Loans upto ₹10 lakh are sanctioned that has to be repaid in 10 years.
  • SIDBI also includes a five year moratorium period.
  • The interest depends upon the market rates.

Under this scheme, SIDBI offers different plans for beauty parlours, day care centers, purchase of auto rickshaws, two-wheelers, cars, and more. It also assists with upgrading and modernization of existing projects.

Mudra Yojana Scheme: Promoting Entrepreneurship Among the New Generation Aspiring Youth

This is a general scheme for small units that women entrepreneurs can avail of too. Offered by nationalized banks under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, this can be used to set up beauty parlour, tuition center, tailoring unit, and more. Loans between ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 50 lakh are sanctioned under this scheme. No collateral and guarantors are required for loans below ₹ 10 lakh.

The scheme has three plans:

  • Shishu Plan: Grants you loans up to a maximum limit of ₹ 50,000 for a new business with rate of interest being 1 percent per month or 12 per annum. The repayment period up to 5 years.
  • Kishore Plan: Grants loans from ₹ 50,000 up to ₹ 5 lakh for well-established businesses. The rate of interest varies with banks as it depends on the scheme guidelines and credit history of the applicant. Repayment period also depends on the discretion of the bank.
  • Tarun Plan: Grants loans from ₹ 5 lakh up to ₹ 10 lakh for business expansion. The rate of interest is dependent on the bank as per the scheme guidelines and credit history of the applicant. Repayment period depends on the discretion of the bank.

Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme: Designed For Self-Employed Women & Those Who Want To Set Up a Beauty Parlor/Salon

Launched by Oriental Bank of Commerce, Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana aims at providing women with the capital they required for starting small businesses. Conditions are:

  • Women participants, who hold a 51 percent share capital individually or jointly in a proprietary concern, are eligible for the loan.
  • No collateral security is required for loans between ₹ 10 lakhs to ₹ 25 lakhs for small-scale industries.
  • The repayment period is seven years.
  • A concession of two percent on the rate of interest is offered.

Stree Shakti Package for Women Entrepreneurs: Offering Concessions to Empower Women Entrepreneurs

The Stree Shakti Package is a unique SBI-run scheme to support entrepreneurship among women by providing certain concessions. This scheme is eligible for women who have majority ownership (over 50 percent) in a small business. Another requirement is that these entrepreneurs have to be enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) organized by their respective state agency.

  • Loans of up to ₹ 50 lakh are sanctioned.
  • This scheme allows women to avail an interest concession of 0.5 percent on loans exceeding ₹ 2 lakh.
  • No security is required for loans up to ₹ 5 lakh in case of tiny sector units.

TREAD (Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) Scheme: Economic Empowerment for Women through Credit, Training and More

This scheme aims to empower women by providing credit to projects, conducting specific training and counselling, and eliciting information on related needs.

  • The scheme provides for a government grant of up to 30 percent of the total project cost as appraised by lending institutions.
  • These institutions would finance the other 70 percent.

Looking at the future prospects for Development of women entrepreneurs the emergence as well as development of women entrepreneurs is quite visible in India and their over-all contribution to Indian economy is also very significant. To this vision, these schemes will add a boost, as it’s meant for women and leveraging it, many women entrepreneurs have achieved remarkable success.