In recent years, the business scape of India has witnessed a drastic change. Innovation, Startup
and Entrepreneurship having become the buzzwords among the youth, a great shift can be
observed in the way they think too. This mindset coupled with a Government that is driven by a
vision to create more ‘Job Creators’ has made the phenomenon to only gain momentum. In this
movement, the contribution of women has been unprecedented too.
As it is, women have taken a prominent place in the startup ecosystem in various domains,
ranging from Cosmetics to e-Vehicles, Groceries to Air Taxis and so on. However, this does not
belay the fact that being a Woman Entrepreneur brings its own set of challenges. Keeping this
in mind, the Government of India has initiated special schemes and facilities to further boost the
participation of women in the startup revolution in addition to the ones already existing.
Here are a few facilities that can be availed by aspiring women entrepreneurs.
1. Bharatiya Mahila Bank Business Loan
The Bharatiya Mahila Bank is the first of its kind in the Indian Banking Industry, which was
formed with a vision of providing economic empowerment to women. The bank functions as a
support system for women entrepreneurs looking to start new businesses in the fields of the
retail sector, loan against property, MICRO loans, and SME loans.
The maximum loan amount granted by the bank is Rs.20 crores for businesses working in the
manufacturing industry. The bank also provides women entrepreneurs with a concession to the
extent of 0.25% on the interest rate and interest rates usually range from 10.15% and higher.
2. Stand Up India scheme
This scheme provides loans to women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from SC/ST
communities. It not only helps women in creating a start-up but also supports those start-ups
that are new and have been recently set up.
With the help of this scheme, women can avail loans that can range from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 1
crore. It must be noted here that loans are provided for setting up Greenfield enterprises that
are functioning in either the manufacturing, services or trading sectors.
3. Annapurna Scheme
Offered by the State Bank of Mysore, this scheme addresses the women entrepreneurs aspiring
to venture into the food and catering industry. Covering the sell packed meals, snacks, etc. The
amount granted as a loan under this scheme can be used to address the working capital needs.
Under this loan, a guarantor is required along with the assets of the business being pledged as
collateral security. Further, the maximum amount of money that is granted is Rs. 50,000 which
has to re-paid in monthly installments for 36 months, however, after the loan is sanctioned, the
lender doesn’t have to pay the EMI for the first month.
4. Stree Shakti Package For Women Entrepreneurs
This is a unique scheme run by the State Bank of India (SBI), which aims to support
entrepreneurship among women by providing them with certain concessions. Under this, there
is no security requirement for loans up to Rs 5 lakh in case of tiny sector units and the interest
rate too is lowered by 0.5% if the loan exceeds Rs 2 lakh. In order to qualify for the scheme,
however, an enterprise should have more than 50 percent of its share capital owned by women.
5. Dena Shakti Scheme
Provided by Dena bank, this scheme is applicable to those women entrepreneurs in the fields of
agriculture, manufacturing, micro-credit, retail stores, or small enterprises; who are in need of
financial assistance. The interest rate is also decreased by 0.25% along with the maximum loan
amount being Rs. 20 lakhs for retail trade; education and housing whereas Rs. 50,000 under
6. Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme
Provided by Oriental Bank of Commerce, the scheme entails meeting the credit needs of
Women Entrepreneurs. In order to be eligible for the scheme, a woman has to hold a 51 percent
share capital individually or jointly in a proprietary concern. The scheme which provides a
concession on the interest rate of up to 2 % doesn’t require collateral security for loans of 10
lakhs up to 25 lakhs. The period of repayment for the loans provided under the scheme is 7
7. Udyogini Scheme
Offered by Punjab and Sind Bank, this scheme addresses women entrepreneurs involved in
Agriculture, retail and small business enterprises. Loans are provided under this for business at
flexible terms and concessional interest rates. The maximum amount of loan under this scheme
for women between the age bracket of 18-45 years is Rs.1 lakh but the family income is also
taken into consideration and is set at Rs.45,000 per annum for SC/ST women.
The scheme has really made a difference in preventing women entrepreneurs from private
borrowing at higher rates of interest.
8. Cent Kalyani Scheme
Offered by the Central Bank of India, this scheme goes with the aim of supporting women in
starting a new venture or expanding or modifying an existing enterprise. This loan can be
availed by women who are involved in village and cottage industries, micro, small and medium
enterprises, self-employed women, agriculture and allied activities, retail trade, and government-
This scheme requires no collateral security or guarantor and charges no processing fees. And
the maximum amount that can be granted under the scheme is Rs. 100 lakhs.
9. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme
This scheme is launched by Punjab National Bank and aims at supporting the women
entrepreneurs involved in the small-scale industries by granting them soft loans that can be
repaid over a period of 10 years. Under this scheme, there are different plans for beauty
parlours, day care centres, purchase of auto rickshaws, two-wheelers, cars, etc. The maximum
amount granted under this scheme is Rs.10 lakhs and the interest is based on market rates.
10. Mudra Yojana Scheme For Women
Launched by the Government of India, the scheme aims to improve the status of women by
providing them loans and encouraging them to start new ventures and thereby empowering
them by providing a financial security of individual income. Under the scheme, if the loan is
approved, the women entrepreneur will be provided with a Mudra card which will function the
same way as a credit card however the funds available are limited to 10 percent of the loan
amount granted to you.
The loan, which doesn’t require any collateral security, can be availed as per 3 schemes:
a) Shishu– Under this, the amount is limited to Rs.50,000 and can be availed by those
businesses that are in their initial stages.
b) Kishor – The loan amount under this scheme ranges between Rs.50,000 and Rs.5 lakhs and
can be availed by those who have a well-established startup.
c) Tarun – The loan amount under this scheme is Rs.10 lakhs and can be availed by those
businesses that are well established but require more funds for expansion purposes.
11. Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) scheme
This scheme is offered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for
promoting women entrepreneurs. It empowers women by imparting trade-related training,
information and counselling activities. Under this scheme, the government also grants up to
30% of the loan/credit appraised by banks, to a maximum of Rs. 30 lakhs.
12. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
Established in 1993, this national-level organisation has been set up under the Ministry of
Women and Child Development. RMK provides micro-credit to women in the informal sector,
this credit is provided in a hassle-free manner and is offered without collateral. The organization
provides loans to Intermediary Organizations (IMO) which then lends to women Self Help
Under its various schemes, there is no need for collateral if the loan amount is less than Rs. 1
crore. If the amount is more than this figure, then the borrowing organisation must provide 10%
of the sanction amount in the form of fixed deposit as security. The maximum loan for an
individual women beneficiary is Rs. 50,000, this is given for income generating activities.
These schemes and other facilities work in the direction of empowering women, as the future
lies only in perfect comradery of the genders. The nation has come far in terms of empowering
the Women, there is a long way still to go. Considering the progress and the pace at which it
happens one can truly gaze towards a promising future.