Women Entrepreneurs in India: A Great Untapped Potential

Women Entrepreneurs

Women form the bedrock of Indian society since ancient times. Ours is a country that always revered women and placed them on the highest rank in society with equal rights. India granted women the right to vote without any debate or deliberation in 1947, the year it became independent from the British Empire. It took over 144 years for the US, the global superpower, to give voting rights to women. The indigenous Australian women did not have the right to vote until 1962. The women in Switzerland, which is considered as one of the most developed nations in the world, exercised their vote only in 1971.

The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women. There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved: Swami Vivekananda.  

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved: BR Ambedkar.                 

Women Employment in India    

However, as far as women’s employment and entrepreneurship is considered, the statistical figures have something different to say about the status of women in India. According to the ‘Powering the Economy with Her’ report by Bain & Company and Google, India has 13.5 to 15.7 million enterprises that are owned by women entrepreneurs, which is a mere 20% of all enterprises in the country. Most of these women-owned enterprises are single-person enterprises and provide employment opportunities to 22 to 27 million people, which is relatively less.

According to the World Bank reports, 75% of working-age women (between 15 and 64 age) do not have paid work in their hands. Out of 432 million working-age women in the country, only 89 million women are in paid formal work.

As per the report, Indian women remained largely neglected in the country’s growth story. If the findings of the report are to be taken into account, India is still considered an underdeveloped nation in terms of women employment, entrepreneurship and empowerment.

Covid-19 Impact & Response from Govt.  

The Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted businesses worldwide has also affected businesses in India, particularly those owned by women entrepreneurs. The women entrepreneurs in India have undergone many hurdles during the pandemic in managing their businesses, resulting in the reduction of revenues, and in some instances leading to the complete closure of the business.

Helping entrepreneurs in the country overcome the impact of the pandemic and restart their business operations, the Government of India announced many initiatives under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ scheme. The government has taken a special interest in women entrepreneurship and has put in place several schemes that empower budding women entrepreneurs in the country.  The Government of India, under the Startup India program, set up the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), a platform dedicated to women that provides a comprehensive ecosystem for new and existing women entrepreneurs across the country with services like incubation, training, marketing, mentorship, etc.

Women entrepreneurs in India have the potential to provide employment opportunities to around 150 to 170 million people across the country by 2030. Bearing this in mind, let us throw some light on the various government schemes in India for women entrepreneurs on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Here is the list of schemes that we believe will help women in the country in realizing their entrepreneurial dreams and aspirations.

1. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme

The government of India launched the Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme. Under the scheme, the government provides loans to women through the SIDBI (Small Industrial Development Bank of India). The schemes enable women with MSMEs to avail loans of 5-10 lakhs at lower interest rates from banks for various activities including, new business setup, expansion, diversification, technology upgradation, etc.

2. TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) Scheme

This scheme aims for the economic empowerment of women by providing credit, training, development programs. Under the scheme, the government grants up to 30% of the total project cost as per estimates of the lending institutions. The lending institutions would finance the remaining 70% of the cost to women as loans. Women undertaking activities such as toy making, readymade garments, candle making, agarbatti making, paper cup and plate making, coir mat making, handicrafts, etc., are provided financial assistance through this scheme. The scheme is particularly aimed at women who do not have access to credit from banks.

3. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana    

The scheme provides financial assistance to aspiring women entrepreneurs in the country who want to start a small business. Under the scheme, women involved in non-farming activities can avail loans of up to Rs. 10 lakhs to start their business or expand their business expansion. The loans are provided under three categories, namely, Shishu, Kishore and Tarun through NBFCs, public and private sector banks, regional rural banks and small finance banks.

4. Bhartiya Mahila Business Bank Loan

Bharatiya Mahila Bank, which is currently under SBI, provides loans under this scheme. These loans are provided under three categories, BMB Shringaar (for beauty parlour, saloon and spa), BMB Annapurna (for food catering), BMB SME Easy (for small and medium enterprises) and BMB Parvarish (for daycare centres). Loans under this scheme are provided under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Funds Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises), a trust established by the Government of India under the Ministry of MSME and the SIDBI.

5. Cent Kalyani Scheme

The Central Bank of India provides loans under this scheme to women entrepreneurs to start a new business or expand/modernize their existing business. Under the scheme, financial assistance of up to Rs. 1 crore is provided to women engaged in various manufacturing and service activities, including handlooms, food processing, garments, handicraft, etc.

6. Stree Shakti Package for Women Entrepreneurs

Under this scheme which is promoted by SIDBI, loan amount of up to Rs. 50 lakhs is sanctioned to woman with more than 50% ownership in the business. The interest rate under the scheme is around 11.2% and if the amount exceeds Rs. 2 lakhs a concession of 0.05% is given on the interest. The loan repayment period for the scheme is 36 months, including a one-month moratorium period.

7. Dena Shakti Scheme

Loans under this scheme are provided by Dena Bank. Under this scheme, women involved in various such as manufacturing, finance, retail trade, agriculture and allied activities get loans up to INR 20 lakhs. The repayment tenure for the scheme is up to 7 years. The interest rate depends on the guidelines of the Dena Bank and directives of the Reserve Bank of India.

Also Read: Best Manufacturing Business Ideas in 2021

SolutionBuggy’s Endeavour for Women Entrepreneurship  

At SolutionBuggy, we believe in the untapped potential of women entrepreneurs in India. In line with the vision of the government for women empowerment, we have been taking several initiatives to facilitate women entrepreneurs in the country. As one of the largest manufacturing consulting firms in India dedicated to MSMEs, we are always at the forefront in helping women entrepreneurs start their new business ventures and address the challenges. More than 35% of entrepreneurs in the SolutionBuggy platform are women across various business verticals including food processing, textile, toy making, wood, etc.

If you are a women entrepreneur planning to start a new business or an existing entrepreneur facing challenges with your business and would like to expand/grow business, then kindly register with SolutionBuggy. We connect you with the best manufacturing consultants in India who can help you address your challenges. We also undertake the complete execution of the project, right from product identification and market research to funding, plant set up and marketing and sales.

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