In the past twenty years, there has been significant increase in the number of women entrepreneurs. It is primarily due to the support rendered by various special schemes of the banking sector providing encouraging financial support to new and aspiring women entrepreneurs venturing business prospects.
Ms. Thangam, Zonal Chief Manager, Central Bank of India explains us about various business opportunities for which there is immediate scope for getting financial support from banks through special schemes for women.
“There is a huge business prospect for value-added products in the industry. Products derived from palm, coconut and areca trees have immense potential to have value addition throughout the year. It is enough to have a brief stint of training so as to comfortably make value-added products as a business.
Similarly, there is a growing scope in design-based enterprises such as computer software designing, dress designing, facility management, building architecture and jewelry designing, which are often the lucrative business choices of the urban women entrepreneurs. One can earn considerably well working from home, providing design support to the clients.
Though women have been able to fare well with their businesses they face marketing related problem during the course of their business. It would be helpful if any government agencies are able to provide them capacity building in the areas of starting a business, ways of conducting business and its operations and marketing. Besides, there has always been a huge demand among the urbanites for the products generated from rural areas. Therefore, by way of bridging both the ends through conducting exhibitions and special sales programs by the government agencies, there will be huge growth in these sectors.
Those women who found it difficult to source investment cost in the past are able to easily approach the banks to have business loans. There are many financial schemes exclusively for women to gain financial support from banks either as an individual or in groups. But those details of schemes have not reached the aspiring women yet. This is the biggest gap that deters entrepreneurs not approaching the banks.
Banks have been coming out with many financial support schemes in order to welcome and encourage women entrepreneurs. She mentioned that the bank she represents, for example, provides ‘Cent Kalyani’ (refer to the boxed content) plan for women.
“Gone are those times when women intended to have their own business only in establishing beauty parlors or food-related outlets. Currently, they show immense interest in designing, production and service related new businesses. There are many opportunities awaiting them to grow successfully if they are able to establish it in a unique way”. Thus Ms Sandhya Ravimohan, Chief Manager, Punjab National Bank, Anna Nagar, Chennai, explained about various schemes of her bank for women entrepreneurs.
“Those who intend to venture a new business can approach the District Industries Centre to gather more information about their intended business and its business prospects. Based on the information they can approach the neighboring banks or search through internets to know about the various financial schemes of the banks. There are also government agencies such as MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) supporting many business plans.
It is very important to create awareness among the budding women entrepreneurs to know about the various financial support schemes of various banks including ours. I am sure in another twenty years women will be able to pose insurmountable business challenges to men”. She was very confident about it.
Time has gone when women were confined within the four walls. They are unstoppable as women entrepreneurs are the present reality.
Bank schemes to women entrepreneurs
There are many supportive schemes like special loan plans and low-interest plans exclusively for women entrepreneurs. Given below are some of the important schemes that benefit women entrepreneurs.
Cent Kalyani Scheme
Bank: Central Bank of India
Enterprises: Handicrafts, food products, agriculture and partnering work, retail trade and government supported schemes including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Maximum loan: 1 crore
Reduction in rate of interest: 0.25% up to Rs 10 lakhs and 0.50% from Rs 10 lakhs to 1 crore (interest rate will vary according to the type of enterprise and individuals)
Rate: 8.95% up to Rs 10 lakhs and 9.40% from Rs 10 lakhs to 1 crore
Shri Shakthi Scheme
Bank: State Bank
Enterprises: Micro, Small, Medium and new enterprises
Maximum loan: 25 lakhs
Reduction in rate of interest: 0.5% lesser for women than men
Low interest: 8.1%
Dena Sakthi Scheme
Bank: Dena BankEnterprises: Agriculture, production, sales and service, retail shops of Micro and Small enterprises
Maximum loan: Based on the type of enterprise and the individuals
Reduction in rate of interest: 0.25% lesser for women than men
BNP Vanitha Scheme
Bank: Punjab National Bank
Enterprises: Income generating enterprises like trading, service, business development, renewal, spare parts procurement
Maximum loan: Rs 25,000
Rate of interest: 8.35% (Basic rate of interest)
Bank loan that uplifted us
Chithra Sankar, Motchakulam, Villupuram.
“Weaving is our family business. Fifteen years ago in order to grow the business we are familiar with, we started a textile shop. The new business that we started with 2 lakhs went well and after six years we wished to expand it and so got 6 lakhs of loan from Central Bank of India. We recruited new staff and conducted the business well. Besides, based on the customer’s expectations we started selling new varieties of silk sarees and gained more customers. So, again I approached the same bank to further expand the business. I was told about the ‘Cent Kalyani Scheme’ meant for women entrepreneurs by the bank manager. I got Rs 10 lakhs of loan under the scheme and I keep repaying it regularly. My husband, Mr. Sankar who studied up to 10th standard and I, having studied up to 8th standard, are conducting the business. It is the support from the bank that made us, the two who could not even complete schooling, able to provide jobs to many people.
(This article written in Tamil by Anandaraj and Silambarasan for Nanayam Vikatan magazine in July 2017 has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)