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Loans and other finance options for women entrepreneurs Many women entrepreneurs begin their businesses using

their own seed money and after a successful run they need to get financial help, in order to make their ventures grow and prosper.
There are many helping hands available in the form of NGOs and Self-Help Groups, Microfinance Institutions, Public Sector Banks, Government Finance Schemes, and Venture Capitalists, depending on the type of financial help required by the Entrepreneur. Many a time, women entrepreneurs are not aware of many of the avenues of finance available to them. I have endeavored here to compile some information to assist women entrepreneurs.

Some Microfinance options available to under-privileged women:

India being one of the countries with the largest number of microfinance institutions, every state has at least one or two institutions for empowering women with microfinance. Grama Vidiyal is a microfinance institution, operating in the Tamil Nadu area of South India. Since 1993, Grama Vidiyal, in partnership with Activists for Social Alternatives, has provided small loans to women without access to formal credit, and who typically have daily incomes of less than INR 80 per day. Grama Vidiyal currently has more than 263,000 women members. It is ranked the #4 Microfinance institution in the world and the leading microfinance institution in India in the "2007 MIX global 100 : Ranking of Microfinance Institutions - Composite Ranking". The Business Loan offered by Grama Vidiyal is an individual loan and does not require the guarantee of other group members. But it does require more extensive details in the application, such as the business concept, cashflows, and profitability of the business activity etc. A two year or one year loan will be offered depending upon the clients repayment capacity. Business Loans range in size from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 70,000. Spandana ( ), Saadhana (, Asmitha Microfin ( ) and Sharadas Women

Association for the Weaker Section ( ), Grameen Koota ( ), Bandhan ( ) are some of the other NGOs and microfinance institutions lending microfinance to women from poor and backward areas of the country.

Loans offered by Public Sector Banks to Women:

Vijaya Bank : Name of the loan : V Mangala This is a term loan for working women. It helps to purchase consumer items jewellery two wheelers and cars. The amount of the loan is 3 lakhs (maximum) or amount equal to 15 months of the gross salary. The attraction is that the interest rate is one percent less than the usual lending rate. The incentives offered are free credit card facility (no charge for subscription) & an accident death insurance which covers the loan amount. Details are available on (http:// ) Dena Bank: This bank has special schemes to finance women entrepreneurs. Some incentives offered are 5% concession in the interest rate, no processing fee, easy payment options and no penalty for repayment. The loan amount is up to 5 lakhs for women entrepreneurs who are professionals. The loan is also extended to artists, small and medium cottage industries run by women Details are available on ( State Bank of India: Name of the loan: Stree Shakti Package This is a special offer of loans to women entrepreneurs. It gives concessions in promoters margin and rate of interest .The aim of the scheme is to inspire women to start new ventures. No security is needed for loans up to 5 lakhs for industrial units. Details are available on (http:// Bank of India: Name of the loan: Priyadarshini This is a facility offered to women to set up small, village and cottage industries. The loan covers the payment for machinery. There is a one percent cut in the interest rate for loans above 2 lakhs. Details are available on (http:// Canara Bank: Name of the loan: Can Mahila This is a loan to meet the financial needs of women, who may be house wives, working women or selfemployed women. It can be used to buy house hold articles, gold, jewellery computers etc. Women between the ages of 18 to 55 can avail this loan. For the salaried and self employed as well as for women with a family income of 1.5 lakhs, the loan limit is 50, 000 INR. Details are available on (http:// Union Bank of India: Name of the loan: VIKLANG MAHILA VIKAS YOJANA This is a special scheme for handicapped women for starting their own ventures. Physically handicapped women are identified and after providing vocational training according to their aptitude, financial assistance of 25,000 is offered to start the new venture. Details are available on (http:// ) UCO Bank: Name of the loan: Nari Shakti

This scheme is to provide financial assistance to salaried women .Concession is offered on interest and the repayment is in 5years in equated installments. Details are available on (http:// Central Bank of India: Name of the loan: Cent Kalyani This scheme is specially introduced to offer financial assistance to Women Entrepreneurs for economic pursuits in Industry, Agricultural and Allied Activities, Business or Profession. The Bank with a network of branches spread throughout the country welcomes women entrepreneurs to avail financial assistance for pursuing vocations of their choice. Small Business : For entrepreneurs who intend to provide services such as a small lunch-home/ canteen, mobile restaurant, circulating library etc. Professional and Self- Employed : Entrepreneurs who are specially qualified/skilled and experienced like Doctors, Chartered Accountants, Engineers or trained in Art or Craft etc. Retail Trade : For entrepreneurs who intend to engage in retail trading of various commodities. Village and Cottage/Tiny Industries : For entrepreneurs who are engaged in manufacturing, processing, preservation and services such as Handloom, Weaving Handicraft, Food-Processing, Garment making etc. in villages and small towns with a population not exceeding 50,000/- utilizing locally available resources/skills. Small Scale Industries : To start a unit engaged in manufacture, processing or preservation of goods. Agriculture & Allied Activities : For women entrepreneurs who are engaged in agricultural and allied activities, such as raising of crops, floriculture, fisheries, bee-keeping, nursery, sericulture etc. and also trading in agricultural products. Government Sponsored Programmes : Apart from the above schemes, women entrepreneurs are also financed under the various Government Sponsored Programmes where Capital subsidies are available. Other terms and conditions for the above facilities under Cent Kalyani i.e. quantum of loan, margin, interest, security, repayment, documentation etc. are as applicable under their respective schemes. Details are available on ( Oriental Bank of Commerce: Name of the loan: Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana In this special scheme for the benefit of woman entrepreneurs, the loan amount offered is between 2 and 10 lakhs, with a 2 percent concession in interest. Loans above 10 lakhs are also offered at 1 percent concession. Enterprises consisting of all units managed by women and where they have a share of 51 percent are eligible for this loan. In case of term loans, the repayment period is up to seven years with a maximum grace period of 12 months depending on the nature of the activity. Details are available on (http:// ICICI Bank: Name of the loan: Women's account This is a scheme formulated by the new generation bank for women. Under the scheme any woman, with any relative having an account in the bank can open an account without any documentation. Details are available on (

The best thing to do would be to walk into your own bank where you feel comfortable and people recognize you, and find out what loans they can offer you for entrepreneurship. Then do a thorough comparative study of the schemes offered by other banks and institutions before you make a decision on which loan to avail of.

The schemes offered by the Indian government can be studied on the following website: is another interesting organization and a perusal of their website will give the budding woman entrepreneur a lot of inspiration and new ideas. Many such international organizations exist, which assist women entrepreneurs from all walks of life. A simple Google search will throw up many such organizations which offer free help and ideas to women entrepreneurs on the internet.