7 Indian Government Initiatives to Help Women Entrepreneurs Smash the Glass Ceiling By Nivetha K - March 5, 2021 Last Updated at: Mar 05, 2021 +3 1100 Are you a woman who is or wants to become an entrepreneur? Do you know a woman who wants to make it big in the entrepreneurial world? If so, this article is for you. Please read on and share so the journey of some women entrepreneurs you know could be made easier. While women have to face challenges in their homes and in society to become entrepreneurs, there has also never been a better time for it in India. The government has come out with initiatives to make it easier for women to set up their own enterprises. In this article, we will go over the top government initiatives that can be leveraged to set up and grow your business as a female entrepreneur. 1. Bharathiya Mahila Bank Business Loan Bharathiya Mahila Bank was started for those women who dream big despite the lack of resources. It provides loans up to INR 20 crores for women entrepreneurs who want to set up a manufacturing business. Collateral is not required if the loan you are seeking is less than 1 crore. While the Bharatiya Mahila Bank merged with the State Bank of India, the loan scheme that started in 2017 still stands. To apply for the loan, visit the nearest bank branch or call the bank representative at 011- 47472100. 2. Mudra Yojana Scheme For women who want to start or expand a small business of their own, Mudra Yojana is a scheme that can be helpful. This is not a scheme specifically for women, however, it can be highly beneficial. You can seek a loan for anywhere between INR 50000 to INR 10 lakh. It is perfect for businesses like beauty salons, opening a small shop or running a home-based business. You don’t need any collateral or guarantor for this loan. The scheme is divided into three categories: Shishu: loans up to 50,000/- Kishor: loans above 50,000/- and up to 5 lakh Tarun: loans above 5 lakh and up to 10 lakh Many businesses have benefited from this scheme as it is easy to avail. You can find the application form for it at this link. You can approach any leading bank to apply for a loan under this scheme. Get Legal assistance 3. Dena Shakti Scheme Dena Shakti Scheme is a scheme that provides loans for women entrepreneurs in certain sectors: Agricultural businesses Retail stores Manufacturing sector Micro-credit organisations Housing Education If you are planning to start any of the above, you can make use of this scheme. While the maximum loan limit is Rs. 20 lakhs, the loan you can apply for will depend on which sector you are applying under. The interest rate is 0.25% below that of the base rate. To apply for this loan you need to visit your nearest Dena Bank Branch. They will provide you with the application form which you can fill and submit along with the required documents to avail of the loan. 4. Udyogini Scheme Want to start a business but have nothing, to begin with? Worry not. The Udyogini Scheme is specifically for those women who come from a family that has an income of below Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. There are no such restrictions for widowed, destitute, or disabled women. You can avail a loan of up to Rs. 3 lakhs at a low-interest rate. This will help women start small businesses and become self-reliant. The idea behind this scheme is to help women from economically struggling backgrounds to become self-sufficient. Loan subsidies also provide to make it easier for women to go forward in their entrepreneurship journey. While the Udyogini Scheme was started by the Karnataka State Women Development Corporation, many banks have adopted this scheme with different variations. To apply for this scheme, you can either visit the website or the nearest branch of the bank that offers it. Some of the banks that offer this scheme are Bajaj Finserv, Punjab and Sind Bank, and Saraswat Bank. 5. Cent Kalyani Scheme Want to start or expand your SME? Cent Kaylani is a scheme by the Central Bank of India for women like you. Under the scheme loans up to Rs. 100 lakhs that is sanctioned without asking for any collateral or processing fees. Except for self-help groups, retail trade, and educational and training institutions, every other type of business is eligible under this scheme. For more details and instructions on how to apply for this scheme, you can contact the Women Entrepreneur Cell on 022 66387777. You can also visit the nearest Central Bank Branch. To know more visit this website. 6. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme was launched by Punjab National Bank and is geared towards supporting Small Scale Industries (SSI). The goal is to promote modernisation and technological advancement in these small scale industries by providing hassle-free loans. The limit for the loan is Rs. 10 lakhs and the borrower gets 10 years to repay the loan. That includes a moratorium period of up to 5 years. Here is the application form for this scheme. You can fill this and submit it to the nearest Punjab National Bank branch. Many other banks like SBI also provide similar schemes. 7. Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) The government of India through NITI Aayog has started an initiative called the Women Entrepreneurship platform that brings together the women entrepreneurs and sponsors willing to support them in one place. If you are a budding women entrepreneur you can join this community. Here is what they do in WEP: Incubation and acceleration program for businesses in their initial stages. Skill training and mentorship programs to teach entrepreneurship and leadership. Assistance in marketing. Support for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. Funding and financial assistance. A community and network of like-minded women. These are just a few of the top schemes currently in place to assist aspiring women entrepreneurs in taking that first step towards being financially empowered. Remember, these schemes are in place only to level the playing field for women in business. While women-owned businesses show revenues of between 8-10% more than male-owned businesses of the same age in the same industries, only 5% of women-owned businesses get funding from venture capitalists as opposed to a whopping 77% of male-owned businesses, and it is this gap the government is trying to close with these schemes. There has for long been no doubt that women are every bit as capable of business success as anyone else, but the societal hurdles have always been considerable, and these schemes aim to assist with overcoming those hurdles and creating a stronger nation with a true free-market economy. So on this International Women’s Day, 2021, we at Vakilsearch wish women everywhere every strength and freedom. The progress of a nation primarily occurs with the empowerment of women, and we wish women a Happy Women’s Day and godspeed on their rise through the ranks of business success. When they succeed, so too does society.