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    Start-up Business Loans for Women in India

    Women-owned business start-ups have picked up popularity in the country in the last couple of decades. Although majorly related to service sector, growth and emergence of women-owned businesses is making a great contribution towards the country’s economic development. Apart from bringing on economic independence, these women-led businesses also created job opportunities for many. Women entrepreneurs, however have to struggle a lot to get business funding.

    Female entrepreneurs need to have adequate information about funding schemes and sources of the schemes to avail a business loan. Lack of financial support and knowledge of funding schemes is the main obstacle in starting up a business. Indian nationalised banks have started many attractive lending schemes for female entrepreneurs. The lending schemes have been initiated in an attempt to promote entrepreneurship among women. Women seem to less likely to default. They are also known to be more careful with their business with relatively lower chances of failure. Many funding schemes meant exclusively for women offer collateral security with interest rates ranging from 0.25% to 1%. Some banks such as Canara Bank and State Bank of India have exclusive cells for women entrepreneurs. These cells provide consulting, counselling, training as well as offer avenues for marketing or showcasing their products.

    There are various banks offering loans exclusively meant for women entrepreneurs. However it is important to a well-informed decision by understanding all calculations and clauses of lending schemes being offered by different banks. Some of the online business loans for women in the country are:

    Annapurna Scheme

    This scheme is meant for women entrepreneurs who are involved in partnership firms and individual businesses. Annapurna scheme offers financial support to women business owners who want to start a food catering business. According to this scheme, a composite term loan can be availed for up to a maximum of Rs.50,000. The maximum loan tenure for this loan is 36 months with a one month moratorium period. Annapurna Scheme can be obtained for generating working capital for buying kitchen equipment, utensils, water filters and other equipment needed for catering business. The interest rates towards this loan is available at prevailing market rates. A guarantor is needed when taking this loan and the woman entrepreneur is required to submit assets to the bank as collateral in order to secure the loan.

    Stree Shakthi Package

    The Stree Shakthi Package for women is for women who want to start small businesses and have 50% ownership in the firm. Only women who have pursued the EDP (Entrepreneurship Development Programmes) conducted by state level agencies are allowed to apply for this loan. The Stree Shakthi Package for Women Entrepreneurs offers all kinds of assistance required for starting a business. For loans higher than Rs.2 lakh, a concession on interest rate of up to 0.50% can be obtained.

    Dena Shakti Scheme

    The Dena Shakti Scheme offered by Dena Bank is for women who want business loans to be utilised in the agriculture, manufacturing sector as well as allied activities. This scheme promotes female entrepreneurship enabling women to avail financial services from the bank. Under this scheme, a concession of 0.25% is applied on the interest rate. The Dena Shakti Loan can also be utilised by owners operating micro-credit stores, retail stores or even small enterprises.

    Cent Kalyani Scheme

    Female entrepreneurs can avail the Cent Kalyani Scheme from Central Bank of India, where financial aid is provided for setting up a new business. This scheme is meant for experienced as well as new business owners, self-employed and professionals. This business loan for women can also be applied for, by owners of small scale industries, retail traders, cottage industries or women engaged in agricultural and allied businesses.

    Udyogini Scheme

    A Punjab and Sind Bank initiative, the Udyogini Scheme’s objective is to promote female entrepreneurship. This scheme can be availed at easy terms and affordable interest rates online. Using this loan, women owners can start business enterprises, agricultural set-ups as well as small scale industries. Self-employed female entrepreneurs and retail traders can also apply for the Udyogini Scheme.

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    Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme

    The Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme or MUN is provided under Small Industries Development Bank of India. Under this scheme, women entrepreneurs can get maximum financial support of up to Rs.10 lakh for the purpose of establishing new industrial venture in the small scale sector.

    Aside from the encouraging fact that these lending schemes greatly encourage and support women, many are still unable to take advantage of these exclusive loans. This is due to lack of knowledge of the existence of these schemes and its features. Becoming a part of a woman’s network can prove helpful in availing these women-centric loans. Microfinance institutions, NGOs, government schemes and self-help groups can help women in interacting with fellow female entrepreneurs, enabling them to learn from their experience.

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