10 Schemes Every Woman Entrepreneur Should Know

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India's entrepreneurship is brimming with fresh ideas and imaginative commercial solutions to a variety of issues. Women entrepreneurs are now found throughout India's startup ecosystem. Capital is a critical component in launching a business, and several banks offer specialised loans for women entrepreneurs with slightly different and more flexible terms and conditions in terms of collateral security, interest rates, and so on.

While women confront hurdles at home and in society when it comes to being entrepreneurs, there has never been a better time in India to do so. The government has announced efforts aimed at making it easier for women to start their own businesses. Here are the top 10 startup schemes that you can use to start and expand your business as a female entrepreneur:

1. Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)

The Indian government, through NITI Aayog, has launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, which brings together women entrepreneurs and sponsors eager to help them in one place.  If you are a budding female entrepreneur, you are welcome to join this group of women who share similar interests and form a community and network.

In WEP, they do the following: An incubation and acceleration programme is available for businesses in their early stages. Entrepreneurship and leadership abilities are taught through skill development and mentorship programmes. There is marketing assistance available. Encouragement to ensure that laws and regulations are followed, and financial assistance and funding is provided.

2. Bharatiya Mahila Bank Business Loan 

Bharatiya Mahila Bank was established for those women who, despite a lack of resources, have huge dreams. It offers women entrepreneurs up to INR 20 crores in financing to start a manufacturing enterprise. It also provides special business loans at a low interest rate and grants collateral-free loans of up to 1 crore under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) cover.

Women entrepreneurs are also eligible for a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction. It combines working capital and a term loan. The repayment period is flexible and must be completed within seven years. 

Among the various plans available through the scheme are:

Shringaar: The BMB Shringaar loan is for self-employed women or homemakers who want to open a parlour, buy equipment, or cover day-to-day business expenses. You are not required to provide any collateral security for the loan.

Parvarish: The BMB Parvarish loan is for self-employed women or homemakers who want to open day-care centres. Under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGSTSM) scheme, the maximum loan amount is one crore with no collateral security.

Annapurna: Food entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 60 who want to start or expand a small business can apply for this loan. Its features are similar to those of the State Bank of Mysore's Annapurna scheme, with the exception that no collateral security is required.

Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) implemented the scheme, which was later merged with State Bank of India in 2017. To apply for the loan, go to your nearest bank branch or phone 011- 47472100 to speak with a bank representative.

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

TREAD is a loan programme for women who do not have easy access to bank credit. The programme covers business tasks, as well as providing training and counselling sessions. It also contributes to a government grant of up to 30% of the entire project cost, as determined by financing institutions. The remaining 70% would be financed by these institutions. 

The award is restricted to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh per project. The loan and grant funds are channelled through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which are also in charge of providing training. The government would cover the cost of training (up to Rs 1 lakh) if NGOs contribute at least 25% of their funding to the government.

4. Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana

This is one of the top social and financial programmes for female entrepreneurs. The goal of this programme is to create skill-based, self-employment opportunities for women entrepreneurs and smart brains at work who want to be financially independent. 

This system, which applies to both urban and rural areas, was created after various changes to the cost, eligibility, and subsidy restrictions. The loan subsidy amount is up to 15% of the project cost, with a per-borrower limit of Rs. 12,500. The programme is applicable to all types of businesses in the industries, trade, and service sectors. 

The maximum age is 35, and the maximum loan amount for a business is Rs. 2 lakh, while the maximum loan amount for service and industry is Rs. 5 lakh.

5. Stree Shakti Package 

It is available to women who possess a majority stake (more than 50%) in a small firm. These women must also be enrolled in their respective state agency's Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP).

No security is required for loans under the plan, and interest rates start at 11.2 percent. The maximum payback duration is 36 months, including a one-month moratorium period. On loans above Rs 2 lakh, a 0.05 percent interest reduction is available under the scheme.

6. Dena Shakti Scheme

This programme is also for women entrepreneurs, but only in the industries of agriculture, retail, manufacturing, small businesses, and microcredit organisations are eligible. The maximum ceiling limitations for women beneficiaries are set by the RBI and are based on the sector in which they are expanding or proposing to launch a business.

This strategy can be used if you are preparing to start any of the above. While the maximum loan amount is Rs. 20 lakhs, the loan amount you can apply for is determined by the sector in which you apply. The rate of interest is 0.25 percent lower than the base rate.

You must apply for this loan at your nearest Dena Bank branch. They will give you an application form to fill out and submit together with the relevant documentation in order to get a loan.

7. Udyogini Scheme

The Udyogini Scheme is designed for women who come from families with an annual income of less than Rs. 1.5 lakhs. This programme offers low-interest loans to ambitious female entrepreneurs in rural and underdeveloped areas. It provides women entrepreneurs with interest-free loans of up to Rs 3 lakh to help them start or expand their small businesses. The government offers a subsidy of up to 30% on loans made under this programme. Women in particular categories, such as the disabled, widowed, and poor, are exempt from the income ceiling.

The goal of this programme is to assist women from economically disadvantaged families in becoming self-sufficient. Loan subsidies also make it easier for women to progress in their entrepreneurial endeavours.

While the Karnataka State Women Development Corporation initiated the Udyogini Scheme, it has since been adopted by several banks in various forms. To apply for this plan, go to the website of the bank that offers it or go to the nearest branch of the bank that does.

8. Annapurna Scheme 

The Annapurna Scheme is for female entrepreneurs who have launched or plan to start a food service business. They can get a loan of up to Rs 50,000 to buy kitchen basics, utensils, gas connections, raw materials, water filters, and other things under this scheme.

To secure the loan, a guarantor is required. The loan can be repaid in 36 instalments after it has been secured (the repayment period is three years). Furthermore, interest rates are set according to market rates in this plan.

9. Cent Kalyani Scheme

The scheme is aimed for both new firms and those looking to expand; the main difference is that the scheme is geared toward women entrepreneurs. The system excludes the retail trade, education and training, and self-help groups. On their website, the qualified categories are listed in detail along with the rules. 

This loan has no collateral requirements and no processing costs. Loans of up to Rs. 100 lakhs are available under the scheme, with no collateral or processing fees required. Except for self-help groups, retail commerce, and educational and training institutions, this programme is open to all other types of businesses. These initiatives for women entrepreneurs allow specified groups of business women to take out loans and expand their businesses.

Contact the Women Entrepreneur Cell at 022 66387777 for additional information and directions on how to apply for this scheme. You can also go to a Central Bank branch near you.

10. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme 

Punjab National Bank has introduced the Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme, which is aimed at assisting small businesses (SSI). This programme tries to close the equity gap. It encourages MSMEs and small-business ventures in a variety of industries to expand and succeed. This also stimulates the rebuilding of SSI units that have been ruled inoperable but are still salvageable. The debtor is allowed ten years to repay the loan, with a maximum loan amount of Rs. ten lakhs. This includes a five-year moratorium period.

By offering hassle-free loans, the purpose is to promote modernisation and technological growth in these small-scale enterprises. This scheme's application form can be found here. You can fill it out and drop it off at your local Punjab National Bank branch. Many other banks, such as SBI, offer similar programmes.

Conclusion

These are just a handful of the most popular programmes available to help prospective female entrepreneurs take the first step toward financial independence. Remember, these programmes exist solely to level the playing field for women in the workplace. There has long been no doubt that women are just as capable of achieving commercial success as men, but societal barriers have always existed, and these programmes attempt to help overcome those barriers and build a stronger society with a truly free-market economy.

 







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