Women entrepreneurs have significantly contributed and influenced the social, economic and business demographics of India. Today, India has about 13.5-15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing 20% of all enterprises providing direct employment to an estimated 22 to 27 million people.
According to McKinsey Global, India can potentially add US$700 billion to the global GDP by increasing the participation of women in the labour force.
Various schemes and development initiatives have been introduced to support women entrepreneurs and promote participation.
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)
The NITI Aayog has launched the WEP for providing an ecosystem to budding and existing women entrepreneurs across the country. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has partnered with the NITI Aayog to assist in this initiative. As an enabling platform, WEP is built on three pillars – iccha shakti, gyaan shakti a karma shakti.
Where to apply: wep.gov.in Udyogini Scheme
The Women Development Corporation has implemented the Udyogini Scheme under theGovernment of India, to promote and motivate women's entrepreneurship by providing financial support to women. This scheme majorly supports and helps illiterate women living in rural and backward areas.
Where to apply:
Listed commercial banks, cooperative banks and all regional rural banks under the Udyogini scheme.
Mudra Loan for women
Mudra Loan for women was launched by the government to offer financial support for enthusiastic women entrepreneurs. This scheme does not require any collateral to grant loans. Loans up to Rs 10 lakh are provided to women entrepreneurs, without any collateral, with low interest and a flexible repayment tenure.
Where to apply: Listed banksunder theMudraLoan scheme. Website for details: https://www.mudra.org.in/
Mahila Udyam Nidhi Yojana
The Mahila Udyam Nidhi scheme is offered by the Punjab National Bankand SIDBI. The scheme supports women entrepreneurs to set up new small-scale ventures by extending loans up to Rs 10 lakh to be repaid in 10 years.
Where to apply: Punjab National Bank and other listed institutions.
Cent Kalyani Scheme
This scheme envisages the empowerment of women to start new projects or expand / modernise existing units. This scheme provides assistance up to Rs 100 lakh in the form of capital expenditure (plant / machinery) and also meeting day-to-day expenditure (working capital).
Where to apply: Central Bank of India
Stree Shakti Yojana
The Stree Shakti package supports entrepreneurship among women by providing concessions. This scheme is eligible for women who have a majority of ownership in the business. These women entrepreneurs need to be enrolled under the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) organised by their respective state agencies. This Stree Shakti scheme allows women to avail of an interest concession.
Where to apply: State Bank of India and other listed institutions.
Under the Annapurna scheme, the Government of India offers women entrepreneurs in the food catering businesses loans up to Rs 50,000. The borrowed amount could be used for working capital requirements such as buying utensils, mixer-cumgrinder, hot case,tiffin boxes, working table, etc. Once sanctioned, the amount has to be repaid in 36 monthly installments.
Where to apply: StateBank of India and other listed institutions
(The writer is a Vile Parle-based social activist)