Assisting Women Entrepreneurs One Subsidy at a Time

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Although over 48 per cent of the country’s 1.3 billion population is female, women entrepreneurs are too far and few in India. Most women tend to prioritise household management over career pursuits post their wedding, as the responsibility of breadwinning is left for the man of the house. Recently however, we have witnessed a change in this attitude, as increasing number of women are venturing into the business landscape and proving their mettle in the challenging world of entrepreneurship. Additionally, the Government has announced various subsidies to harness the potential of budding women leaders pan India. This article sheds light on some of the beneficial subsidies for women entrepreneurs available in the country.

TREAD Subsidy Scheme for Women

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Scheme for Women is a subsidy in India provided by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Government provides subsidy of up to 30 per cent of the total project cost as appraised by lending institutions which would finance the remaining 70 per cent as loan assistance to applicant women. Women eligible under this scheme are those that do not have easy access to credit from banks, due to their cumbersome procedures and the inability of poor & usually illiterate/semi-literate women to provide adequate security demanded by banks in the form of collaterals. Further, the request for subsidy under this scheme must be made by an NGO for a number of individual or group(s) of women.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank

Bharatiya Mahila Bank is a one-of-a-kind financial institution in India formed with the vision of economic empowerment for women. Bharatiya Mahila Bank commenced operations in 2013 and currently has 45 branches across India. The bank focuses on women entrepreneurship with special attention to economically neglected, deprived, discriminated, underbanked, unbanked, rural and urban women to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth. Some of the popular loans provided by Bharatiya Mahila Bank for Women Entrepreneurs are:

  1. BMB Shringaar – Loan for Beauty Parlour /Salon/Spa: Collateral free loan of upto 1 Crore is provided under the CGTMSE Scheme for setting up of a beauty parlour or salon or spa. The loan is provided for a term of upto 7 years with an interest rate of 12.25 per cent (Base Rate + 2.00 per cent).
  2. BMB Annapurna – Loan for Food Business: Collateral free loan of upto 1 crore is provided under the CGTMSE Scheme for setting up of a food business. The loan is provided for a term of upto 3 years with an interest rate of 11.75 per cent (Base Rate + 1.50 per cent).
  3. BMB Parvarish – Loan For Day Care Centre: Collateral free loan of upto 1 crore is provided under the CGTMSE Scheme for setting up of child day care center. The loan is provided for a term of upto 5 years with an interest rate of 12.25 per cent (Base Rate + 2.00 per cent).

Mahila Coir Yojana

The Mahila Coir Yojana Subsidy Scheme was promoted to provide self-employment to rural women artisans in regions producing coir fibre. Conversion of coir fibre into yarn on motorised ratts in rural households provides scope for large scale employment, improvement in productivity and quality, better working conditions and higher income. The scheme envisages distribution of motorised ratts/ motorised traditional ratts for spinning coir yarn to women artisans. As per the scheme, the Coir Board will provide 75 per cent of the cost of the motorized ratt as one time subsidy provided the other 25 per cent is raised by the beneficiary through voluntary organisations/ financial institutions/ own sources. Not more than one artisan per household would be eligible to receive assistance under the scheme.

Mahila Udayam Nidhi

Mahila Udayam Nidhi is a subsidy scheme for women entrepreneurs from Puducherry Government. Women entrepreneurs setting up a new SSI unit in the service sector in Puducherry State can avail this scheme. As per the scheme, for a project cost of Rs.10 lakhs, seed capital of 25 per cent is provided as a subsidy and the balance 75 per cent would be funded as a Term Loan (65 per cent) and Promoter Contribution (10 per cent). The term loan would have a repayment period of 6 to 8 years including a moratorium period of one to two years.

While there are many women who are constantly challenging social stereotypes and achieving their dreams relentlessly, many face challenges on the financial front. Awareness of such subsidies and loan schemes can not only help these leaders look beyond the horizons of financial dependency, but also grab the reins of their future in their own hands.

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