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Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Through Government Funding Schemes

Compiled by Anandasivaraj, Assistant Manager – SSN iFound

India’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship among women is evident through various government schemes providing financial support to micro and small enterprises. These schemes aim to empower women entrepreneurs by offering financial assistance and other benefits. Let’s explore some prominent schemes tailored for women entrepreneurs:

1. Mudra Yojana

The Mudra loan scheme is a government initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs. It provides financial support to micro and small enterprises, offering loans up to ₹10 lakhs with easy terms and conditions. Notably, no collateral is required for loans within this limit, and women entrepreneurs benefit from lower interest rates.

2. Stand-Up India Scheme

Designed to promote entrepreneurship among women and marginalized communities, the Stand-Up India Scheme provides bank loans for establishing greenfield businesses. The scheme ensures that at least one scheduled caste (SC) or scheduled tribe borrower and one woman per bank branch receive loans. This initiative empowers women to take a lead role in new business ventures.

3. Mahila Coir Yojana

The Mahila Coir Yojana (MCY) focuses on empowering women by providing spinning equipment at reduced prices after proper skill development training. Women entrepreneurs can benefit from a subsidy of up to 75% of the cost of equipment and machinery for coir processing. This scheme is specifically available to rural women artisans who have completed training in coir yarn spinning.

4. CGTMSE – Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises

The Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) is a collaborative initiative by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the Ministry of MSME. It offers collateral-free financing to micro and small enterprises, with a guarantee cover of 85% for enterprises operated or owned by women.

5. Udyam Shakti Portal

Launched by the Ministry of MSME, the Udyam Shakti Portal promotes social entrepreneurship by providing comprehensive assistance. This includes support with business planning, incubation facilities, training programs, mentorship, and market research. Projects with a maximum cost of ₹25 lakhs are eligible, fostering entrepreneurship beyond traditional boundaries for women.

6. Economic Empowerment of Women Enterprises and Start-up by Women

Operational in states like Assam, Rajasthan, and Telangana, this Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurs scheme provides an incubation and acceleration program for female micro-entrepreneurs. It focuses on launching new businesses and scaling up existing ones, showcasing a commitment to women’s economic empowerment.

7. TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development)

TREAD aims to economically empower women by providing financial assistance, training, development, and counseling expansion activities linked to trades, goods, and services. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) receive assistance in the form of a grant from the Government of India (GoI) to promote entrepreneurship among women.

8. Annapurna Scheme

The Annapurna Yojana supports women entrepreneurs in the food catering business by offering loans up to Rs. 50,000. Beyond financial support, the scheme provides flexibility by deferring EMIs for the first month. Borrowers can repay the amount over 36 monthly installments with an interest rate determined by market conditions.

9. Stree Shakti Yojana

This unique government scheme for women supports entrepreneurship by providing certain concessions. Eligible for women with the majority of ownership in the business, the Stree Shakti scheme offers an interest concession of 0.05% on loans exceeding Rs. 2 lakh, promoting financial inclusivity.

10. Dena Shakti Scheme

The Dena Shakti Scheme provides loans up to Rs. 20 lakh for women entrepreneurs engaged in agriculture, manufacturing, micro-credit, retail stores, or small enterprises. Offering a concession of 0.25 percent on the interest rate, it also provides microcredit options for women entrepreneurs seeking smaller loan amounts.

11. Bhartiya Mahila Bank Business Loan

Implemented by The Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB), this public sector banking company offers various loan schemes for women entrepreneurs. Plans like Shringaar, Parvarish, and Annapurna cater to different entrepreneurial needs, including working capital requirements, business expansion, or manufacturing enterprises.

12. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme

Offered by Punjab National Bank and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), the Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme supports women entrepreneurs in setting up new small-scale ventures. The scheme extends loans up to Rs. 10 lakh to be repaid in 10 years, contributing to the sustainable growth of women-led enterprises.

13. Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme

Launched by Oriental Bank of Commerce, this scheme allows women with 51 percent share capital individually or jointly in a proprietary concern to avail loans. Collateral is required for loans ranging between Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 25 lakhs, with a concession of up to 2 percent on the interest rate.

14. Cent Kalyani Scheme

The Cent Kalyani Yojana is a government scheme for women, accessible to both existing and new entrepreneurs and self-employed women. It supports micro/small enterprises like farming, agriculture, cottage industries, and retail trade. Notably, no collateral or guarantors are required, making it an accessible option for women entrepreneurs.

15. Vazhndhu Kattuvom Project (TNRTP-Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project)

15 a. Nano Enterprises Financing Fund (NEFF)

Exclusively designed to support new and existing enterprises, the Nano Enterprises Financing Fund (NEFF) operates within the Panchayat Level Federations (PLFs) and Village Poverty Reduction Committee (VPRC). It aims to create a level playing field for entrepreneurs in SHG households, pooling resources for productive enterprise financing.

15 b. Matching Grant Program (MGP)

The Matching Grant Program (MGP) serves as a financial instrument to address the demand and supply gap in lending to rural enterprises. By incentivizing entrepreneurs who repay loans with a matching grant, the program encourages entrepreneurship and economic development in rural areas.

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