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This article is written by Shraddha Maheshwari, a student of Diploma in Entrepreneurship, Administration and Business Laws from LawSikho. She has discussed government incentive schemes for women entrepreneurs.


Development of a country is marked by not only the infrastructure and standard of living but also the rights and privileges available to its citizens. Women rights and empowerment have been in discussion on a global level for almost a decade. Though we are faced with a question: how can equality and empowerment realistically be achieved by a country or rather a democracy? The mere provision of equal rights does not guarantee women empowerment. Women empowerment can be defined as the capacity of women to pursue what they desire and in the manner they desire.

There is no doubt that the participation of women in employment and professional services has increased manifold. Women have ventured into the sector of business and entrepreneurship though they are still in small numbers. The domain of entrepreneurship or business remain dominated by men in our society

One of the ways to open doors of the world of business and entrepreneurship is to provide women with the requisite means to establish or start a business. Establishment of business requires capital, assets, human resources and a desire to make a profit unless it is for a charitable cause.

The most popular businesses amongst women entrepreneur include fast moving consumer goods such as kitchen spices and food products, beauty and cosmetic products, handloom and textile, sanitary products like pads and menstrual cups. Most of the women dominated businesses in India are run by Self Help Groups formed by women of a village or community of whom a successful example is Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, popularly known as Lijjat.

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Entrepreneurship can be productive and advantageous means of earning livelihood but it surely is a challenging one. Women entrepreneurs are often faced with problems at the time of establishment and later at the running stages. Some of which can be summarized as follows:

  • Financing

The problem of financing is generally faced by women because in a patriarchal society like India women hardly hold property and most of them are still home-makers. Additionally, banks and financial institutions consider women less- credit worthy debtors due to lack of collateral security in their name. Thus, women are bound to depend on paltry amounts of money given by their relatives or husbands.

  • Patriarchal and Traditional Opinions

The mindset of people in Indian society often discourages women to start their own initiatives without the help of men. Therefore, most of the women lack the desire to establish or to start their own business.

  • Illiteracy and lack of education

In India, illiteracy poses a major problem towards societal change. Moreover, poor levels of education amongst women help them no better.

  • Prioritization

Since women are expected to take care of the family along with their business. This leads to the lesser commitment to work and reduced dedication towards business and career.

Government through the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Organization (MSME-DO), State small industries development corporations (SIDCO), nationalized banks and non- governmental organizations has launched a variety of Entrepreneurship Development Programs for women entrepreneurs. Government schemes for women can be categorized into the following classes:

  • Bank Loans on Soft Terms
  • Skill Development/ Income Generating Schemes
  • Schemes By Nationalized Banks

Following are some of the bank loan schemes available for women entrepreneur for a capital generation:

  • Annapurna Scheme

For women desiring to establish food catering services, State Bank of Mysore offers bank loans up to Rs. 50,000. The loan has to be repaid by way of EMI for thirty six (36) months and the EMI for the first month is waived.

Further details can be obtained at the relevant bank branch but one can refer to

  • Stree Shakti Package Scheme

It is a scheme offered by State Bank of India to women entrepreneurs who have fifty per cent (50%) ownership in the business. The interest rates are as low as 0.5% for loans exceeding Rs. Two(2) Lakhs. Also, no security is needed for loans up to Rs. Five(5) Lacs for tiny sector units.

The abovementioned information can be accessed at

  • Akshay Mahila Arthik Sahay Yojana

Bank of Baroda offers this scheme to women entrepreneurs involved in agriculture, retail and cottage industry. No collateral security is required for raising a loan under this scheme.

Information in regards to this scheme can be obtained at the branch of the bank.

  • Stand-up India Scheme

After the launch of the Start-up India Action Plan in 2016, this scheme was launched to support entrepreneurship amongst women and SC/ST communities for setting up a business in manufacturing or trading or services sector. It expedites the process of granting loans by the banks ranging from Rs. Ten (10) Lakhs to Rs. One (1) Crore to the eligible borrower. The borrower must also be 51% stakeholder in the private business or organization.

Information pertaining to this scheme can be accessed at

  • Udyogini Scheme

Punjab and Sind Bank offers this scheme to women between the ages of 1845 years. Low-interest rate loans are provided up to Rs. One (1) Lakh provided the family income of the women is Rs. Forty-Five (45) thousand or less.

More information is available on

  • Cent Kalyani Scheme

Under this scheme loans up to Rs. 100(hundred) Lakhs are offered. No collateral security of guarantor is required for the disbursement of the loan. The scheme is offered by Central Bank of India.

At interest rates as low as 0.50% .with some additional concession available on certain conditions.

Further information can be obtained from

  • Mudra Yojana Scheme for Women

This scheme provides loans to women desirous of opening a small enterprise like a crèche, tailoring unit, beauty salon or coaching centre or a similar enterprise. The scheme does not require any collateral security or guarantors. The loans can be availed in the following three manners:

  1. Shishu- Loans up to Rs. Fifty (50) thousand are offered.
  2. Kishore- Loans of the amount between Rs. Fifty (50) thousand to Rs. Five (5) Lakhs are granted
  3. Tarun- Loan of Rs. Ten (10) Lakhs can be availed.

Upon the grant of loan, a Mudra card, similar to a credit card, is issued to the debtor with the limit of Ten (10) per cent of the loan amount.

Further information is available at

  • Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana

Oriental Bank of Commerce offers loans up to Rs. Twenty- Five (25) Lakhs to women who have 51% ownership in the proprietary concern. The interest rate of 2% is applicable on such loans. Collateral security is not required for loans up to Rs. Ten (10) Lakhs.

The relevant information can be obtained from the concerned branch of the bank.

  • Mahila Udhyam Nidhi Scheme

Punjab National Bank provides loans to women involved in setting up small scale industries on soft terms. Such loans can be repaid in ten (10) years. The maximum amount of loan that can be granted is Rs. Ten (10) Lakhs.

Apart from this, several schemes for women are offered by Punjab National Bank which can be accessed at

  • Establishment of Business Units

Some of the schemes available for setting up and establishment of business and production units are mentioned below:

  • Steps Scheme

With the intention of providing skill development training for self-employment, the Department of Women and Child Development launched Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women Scheme (STEP). Under this scheme, the Government provides funding to non- governmental organizations for providing skill development training to women. The maximum funding provided is 90% and the rest of the amount has to be contributed by the implementing agency.

Details regarding this scheme can be found at

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

Though this scheme was not launched specifically for women, it does aim at providing skill training courses to women like beautician’s course, tailoring, handicrafts and jewellery making. It provided training, certification and even placements to the women who successfully complete the course. However, a theory exam needs to be cleared in order to obtain the certificate which poses a problem for illiterate women.

The information about this scheme and the process of registration can be accessed at

  • Skill India Scheme

Apprenticeship Training By National Skill Development Corporation under the Skill India Scheme is also provided to women. It is a pilot program in collaboration with UNDP and Society of Development Alternatives which aims to provide training to women in fifteen (15) months.

The link to Skill India Portal is

Women entrepreneurs have been increasing and have marked their presence in the business world. Women entrepreneurs like Vinita Luthara (VLCC), Shahnaz Hussain, Falguni Nayar (Nykaa) and Richa Kar (Zivame) are some of the known successful entrepreneurs in India.  But these are not limited to the educated and urban women who went on to pursue their desires. Few success stories of women entrepreneurs also include:

  • Lijjat

It is India’s leading women’s co-operative aimed at women empowerment by providing employment. Lijjat was initially involved in selling papads. But it has expanded to selling other food-related fast moving consumer goods in India and globally.

  • Thinlas Chorol

A woman entrepreneur born and brought up in extreme climate and habitation of Ladakh worked as a tourist guide till 2009. In 2009, she founded her own travel company Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company. She has been involved in encouraging Ladakhi women to participate in mountaineering and expeditions.

However, the nation needs to empower women who come from underprivileged background with no education or resources for the establishment of business. Additionally, women also are considered low risk bearing individuals due to lack of capacity to handles business and the associated risks. One of the solutions to this problem can be that the government can provide means and resources for establishment of business and production units so that the business failures due to lack of resources can be minimized. Along with providing loan, these women should also be given the necessary training and skills to handle a business. Enough, skill development and training schemes already exist in India. But the drop-out rate of women from these courses is considerably higher than men. The reason for this can be poor levels of education. With the wave of startups and ease to do business in India, it is expected that more effective schemes will be launched to support women entrepreneurs.

It would be more useful if you could point out the websites/offices to be contacted for further information to avail these facilities. 

Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skill. 



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