Sunday, 19 April 2015

Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs

Meena Bindra, Founder of India’s largest readymade ethnic-wear brand Biba, grew up in Delhi but lost her father at a young age. She married a naval officer as a result of which she moved around across India, and got into the garments business only after her children grew up. She started off with a local block printer, initial sales to Mumbai stores, and then her own company-owned outlets. Her sons joined the company for a while as trusted managers, then struck out on their own. 

Manju Bhatia, Founder of loan recovery company Vasuli, was born in a business family in Indore. She started off as a receptionist in a pharma company, then moved into the account recovery business from bank defaulters. Though in a male-dominated industry, she used her patience and diplomacy to learn the tricks of the trade and build a successful pan-India company. 

Rajni Bector, Founder of food empire Cremica, was born in Karachi and then moved to Delhi with her family. After her children went to boarding school, she noticed that there was huge demand for her desserts, which led her to launch food company Cremica in Ludhiana. Despite setbacks such as the violence in Punjab in the 1980s, she persevered and eventually got contracts from the likes of MacDonald’s for bread and ‘vegetarian’ mayonnaise. 

Nirmala Kandalgaonkar, Founder of vermi-composting tool provider Vivam AgroTech, grew up in small-town Maharashtra and decided to launch a rural venture after her children reached school age. She applied her science degree to develop controlled-environment products for soil engineering using earthworms. She had to travel extensively for promotion and training activities, and eventually got government support after a Pragati Maidan exhibition as well as a TiE award. The company now works with large corporate and self-help groups for bio-gas projects. 

Ranjana Naik, Founder of Swan Suites, grew up in a family of engineers, doctors and teachers, but became more interested in PR and telemarketing. Along with the IT boom, she leveraged her contacts to get into the serviced accommodation business, and aims to become the ‘Taj’ of serviced apartments. She connected with fellow entrepreneurs via online forums, and an ISB course taught her the importance of continuous market research; her husband also joined the company. 

Leela Bordia, Founder of pottery art firm Neerja International, grew up in Calcutta in a family which strongly supported social work. She decided to launch a social enterprise to help pottery artisans from her native Rajasthan. Exposure to buyers from France as well as a visit to artisan communities in Mexico revealed the importance of quality and process. She branched out into furniture, mural and accessories, and now promotes her work internationally. Her three sons also work in the enterprise. 

Han Qui Hua founded label accessories firm Guangzhou Guanyi Garments in China. Even as a teenager she would ride her bike to sell cakes in villages, and not stop till she sold the whole stock. She got into the label business along with her husband during the textile boom years, and doesn’t really plan to ‘retire.’ 

Premlata Agarwal from Jamshedpur became a mountaineer and climbed Mt. Everest at the age of 48 – the oldest Indian woman to have achieved this feat. She joined a gym while taking her daughters for tennis classes; she won a prize in a hiking competition and was mentored by mountaineer Bachendri Pal. Despite tough weather conditions, she scaled the peak and now wants to scale mountains in other ranges. 

Paru Jaykrishna, Founder of chemical giant Asahi Songwon, grew up in a Jain family in Ahmedabad. She lost her parents at a young age, and married the Patel son of a textile firm. She later moved into travel and construction, and then switched to chemicals. She expanded her dye business (resisting challenges of bribery and corruption), and struck good deals with Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese companies and investors. 

Patricia Narayan got into a love marriage at the age of 19, but her husband turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. Though she was a college dropout, she tapped her skills as a cook to become a caterer in Chennai. She got contracts from government offices in and around the city. “Once you start liking your work you don’t easily feel tired,” she says. Success came from a deal at National Institute of Port Management (NIPM). Despite a divorce and the sorrow of losing her daughter in a car accident, she expanded to run four brands of catering, and won a FICCI award. 

Sudeshma Banerjee began her career as a teacher in Calcutta but one day discovered that her husband was having an affair with her own friend. She moved out of the marriage and joined an AutoCAD training company, which she eventually took over to form DigiTech HR. She faced challenges in getting a flat as a single woman, and from male managers who did not treat her as an equal. Still, she moved on to get projects from Sri Lanka, Dubai and Australia. 

Jasu Shilpi, one of the few women sculptors in India, grew up in an entrepreneurial family in Ahmedabad, and had an artistic flair right from school. One day, she was inspired by a statue of the Rani of Jhansi in Gwalior. She fell in love with and married a Muslim artist, but her family disowned her. She pursued government tenders for statues, and after a good order she began to receive deals from all over Gujarat. Proud moments were completing statues of Shivaji and then Hanuman, as well as completing a tour of the US. 

Dipali Sikand, Founder of Les Concierges, grew up in Calcutta. She was active in politics, but then moved into HR. Her marriage unfortunately fell apart and she was left with a baby and no financial resources. Still she carried on with HR assignments in cities like Bangalore, and then discovered a need for personalised ‘concierge’ services for busy managers in IT companies. Customers such as Wipro and IBM paid well for these services, and Dipali also branched out to start music and dining venue Kyra in Indiranagar. The next stop for Les Concierges is Cairo. 

Binapani Talukdar, Founder of Assam handicraft trader Pansy Exports, grew up in Assam. She herself began to make decorative handicrafts, then studied garment design. She started an art and craft school also which she shut down later because of pressure from her husband to focus more on their kids. But she carried on with the handicrafts export company, learning the skills of quality standards and international pricing for clients in countries such as South Africa and Brazil. 

Ela Bhatt, Founder of SEWA which now has 1.7 million self-employed women, grew up in Surat and joined the Textile Labour Association (TLA). She married a textile worker’s son, which her family initially opposed. She organised networks for self-employed women in the informal sector, and was inspired by the international dimensions of these labour issues after overseas visits. She turned adversity into opportunity when political controversy over Dalit reservation led SEWA to leave TLA. SEWA regrouped and set up cooperatives and microfinance support. Ela Bhatt went on to win the Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. 

Shona McDonald, Founder of wheelchair company Shonaquip, grew up in South Africa. She unfortunately had a disabled child, which led her to design and develop special wheelchairs as a social enterprise. She had to struggle on the job to learn how to raise funds, run a business, and balance profit with social purpose. 

Nina Lekhi, Founder of bag retail brand Baggit, launched her venture when she was a student at Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. Though she goofed off in her first year, she took design seriously in her second year, and also took up a part-time job in a rug store at the age of 18. ‘Baggit’ was meant to be ‘bags with attitude,’ also inspired by Michael Jackson’s Beat It! She started off with canvas and then synthetic leather; with one shop at Kemp’s Corner and then a nationwide chain featuring innovatively designed bags and accessories. 

Sangeeta Patni grew up in Nagpur, graduated from BITS Pilani, worked with HLL and Eicher, and then launched Extension Software, building on her engineering background and IT skills in ERP software. She blended design with enterprise tools, and cultivated a developer network. She moved to Bangalore, and finally found a way to balance children in the mix. 

Satya Vadlamani, Founder of Murti Krishan Pharma, grew up on the IIT Bombay campus, and started off in international chemicals marketing. Her father-in-law initially opposed the move, but later relented and supported her a great deal. Lack of family time led her to drop her job at Biochem Synergy, and she started her own venture. Painful lessons were learnt about the long regulatory process, corporate control issues from potential investors, and the upheavals of the 2008 recession.

Shikha Sharma, Founder of weight loss classes NutriHealth Systems, grew up in Delhi and studied medicine. She became interested in preventive healthcare and rehabilitation, a huge gap in India. Resisting family pressure to go abroad or get married, she struck out on her own and set up a weight loss clinic. It did not work out, so she tried again with a rental unit in a hospital – and this model succeeded. Eventually she could strike out again, and hired a team of nutritionists and embraced ayurvedic methods. A proud moment was to be one day invited to treat the Prime Minister.

Deepa Soman, Founder of Lumiere Business Solutions, started her career with Hindustan Lever in Mumbai. Her father was in the media, which gave her lots of exposure to reading, analysis and research. She worked in HLL, and then moved to Jamaica with her husband on account of his IT job. She then launched a market research company, which she continued on her return to India – this time powered largely by women working from home. Her husband later joined, bringing best practices from the IT world. 

Otara Gunewardene, Founder of Sri Lanka’s most famous department store chain Odel, grew up in Colombo and ultimately became the first woman entrepreneur in her country to take her company public. She was athletic, went to the US for a biology programme and returned to do some modelling. One day, a friend asked her to help get rid of excess garment stock from her factory – and this set her on the path to selling clothing, designing her own T-shirts and eventually launching Odel with her husband. 

Namrata Sharma, Founder of 3D animation studio Krayon Pictures, grew up in Pune. She was artistic and also became an engineering graduate, and learnt to blend both disciplines. She began with interface design, and then digital media when based in Hong Kong with her husband. She joined Megasoft as a business developer, but quit when she found her kids were missing her too much. Looking to strike out on her own, she came across Alok Kejriwal, CEO of Contests2Win, who helped set her on the path to 3D animation and launching Krayon in 2007, with titles such as Delhi Safari, Kamlu and Auli. 

Neeti Tah, Founder of social enterprise 36 Rang focusing on traditional tribal arts of Chattisgarh, grew up in Delhi. Though she became art director at J.Walter Thompson, she was restless and took a few months off. Travels across her home state of Chattisgarh led her to discover opportunities in promoting local art and handicrafts to urban markets in India and overseas. She roped in papier mache trainers and later even prison labour from a government scheme. The firm now makes saris, embroideries and gunmetal art. 

A. Ameena, Founder of industrial sawdust provider PJP Industries, grew up in Pondicherry. She was married at the age of 17, with her husband at a Gulf job. As her children were growing up, she joined the family chemicals business. Despite scepticism from those who thought a ‘burqa clad woman’ could not succeed in this domain, she entered the world of industrial sawdust, finding local suppliers as well as customers like Godrej for mosquito coil products. 

These are just brief vignettes of the entrepreneur stories; each chapter provides more details and insights. The featured women leaders also offer useful advice, tips and recommendations to aspiring women entrepreneurs, as described below. 

Do something you love and are passionate about and good at; if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like ‘work.’ Emotional drive will sustain your enterprise. Treat learning as lifelong. Learn from successful people also. Keep a diary to chronicle your personal and professional growth. 

Don’t just sit at home and be confined to the four walls, take on a job no matter how small. Don’t let house work consume you, and don’t get stuck in micro-management. Use gadgets and home helpers to simplify things. Getting support and advice from family and in-laws helps, especially in looking after kids; the Indian joint family system has some advantages here. Align family members with your dreams and objectives, bond with them, and show how they can also benefit. 

Some women entrepreneurs recommend starting ventures only after kids are sufficiently grown up; others believe there is no need to wait. Children may also learn from watching their mother at work and may even want to help or contribute where possible; don’t get into situations where you feel you are neglecting them. 

Society puts pressure on women to feel guilty if they succeed, as if success has come by overlooking family. It is certainly possible to strike out on your own, but family support helps greatly. Love from your spouse can sustain you even after their demise. But even if you don’t get this support or get abused instead, don’t just be a victim, don’t be defenceless – overcome obstacles, empower yourself and move on. Never feel useless, hopeless or purposeless. 

Many women entrepreneurs are naturally attracted to women-oriented product lines. Women leaders are good in people skills, multi-tasking, creativity and communication, but business success calls for attention to finance, legal and operations as well. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know to how manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs. 
  • Treat your work and profession very seriously, or you will bring a bad name to women in general. Take pride in what you do, don’t slip on quality. 
  • Build your own sense of instinct and gut feel, which will take you from something ordinary to something else extraordinary. 
  • Work hard and be patient, even those who initially oppose you may support you later. Keep a positive mind, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. 
  • Don’t be deterred by failure. Don’t believe that women are ‘less’ than a man: a woman is a womb plus a man! Value your integrity, and be honest to your customers and employees. 
  • Make ‘clean’ money rather than ‘tainted’ money. Honesty will give you good sleep. 
  • Stay healthy and fit. Be friendly, but being ‘too friendly’ is easily mis-interpreted by unscrupulous men. Give back to society, there is more to life than money. 
  • Work on your relationship with yourself. Keep mental and physical space for yourself to regularly think, plan, mediate and dream. 
  • Learn how to have different kinds of dreams – near term and long term. At the end of the day, keep your sense of humour! ... 

Friday, 17 April 2015

PNB (Punjab National Bank) - SCHEMES FOR WOMEN

To meet gap in equity. The women entrepreneurs will be assisted for setting up of new projects in tiny /small scale sector and rehabilitation of viable sick SSI units. Existing tiny and small scale industrial units and service industries undertaking expansion, modernization technology up gradation & diversification can also be considered.

2. PNB MAHILA Samridhi Yojna
Under This Scheme, four schemes have been launched under the umbrella of one scheme. These are for purchase of required infrastructure for Setting up of
  • Tailoring shop/Boutique, i.e. for purchase of Sewing Machines, etc.
  • ISD/ STD Booths, i.e. for Security Deposits with MTNL/ other Agencies like Reliance/ Tata Indicom. etc., for purchase of Fax Machine, Xeroxing/ Photocopier Machine, etc.
  • Beauty Parlour, i.e. for purchase of Furniture, Chairs, Bench etc.
  • Cyber Cafe, i.e. for purchase of Computers and furniture like computer tables, chairs etc.  and for recurring expenditure as per the need of the activity
3. Scheme For Financing Creches
To provide support services for women empowerment to working women in terms of creches with necessary services by making cheaper and easier credit available for financing Creches. The women will be assisted for purchase of required infrastructure for setting up Creches like basic equipment, utensils, stationers, growth monitoring equipments, fridge, cooler/fan, water filter, etc. and for recurring expenditure for one month.

4. PNB Kalyani Card Scheme
For meeting working capital credit requirement of allied agricultural activities/ misc farm/non- farm activities either singly or in combination with other activities.The literate/illiterate women dwelling in rural / semi-urban areas who have attained the age of majority shall be eligible under the Scheme.  Such Women shall include individuals, farmers, landless labourers, agricultural labourers, tenant farmers, share croppers, lessee farmers, etc. The women desirous of undertaking non-farm sector activities should have aptitude/experience and capability for undertaking the activity chosen for self-employment.
5. PNB Mahila Sashaktikaran Abhiyan
Under this scheme, following concessions will be admissible
  • Interest rate to be relaxed by 0.25% in Non-Priority Sector Advances and 0.50% in Priority Sector advances
  • Margin to be reduced to 10%, wherever the margin requirement is more than 10%
  • Waiver of 50% upfront fee (wherever applicable)
Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Scheme
The scheme envisages extension of credit by the bank and grant by the Govt of India to NGOs for the benefit / on lending to women either through SHGs or individually for setting up of small & micro enterprises in non-farm sector.

National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) has launched a specialised incubation programme for unemployed girls and women

In India, although women constitute the majority of the total population, the entrepreneurial world is still a male-dominated field, Vayalar Ravi, the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), recently said at a public meeting.
Empowering women entrepreneurs is considered essential for achieving the goals of sustainable and inclusive development. The bottlenecks hindering the growth of women entrepreneurs must be eradicated to entitle them to fuller participation in business, he added.
NSIC’s incubation programme is an that will provide hands-on training on working projects. It provides necessary facilities for prospective entrepreneurs and start-ups to enable them to learn about product manufacturing processes, technology development and business development.
According to the MSME ministry, the MSME sector contributes about 45 per cent of India’s total manufactured output and nearly 40 per cent of its exports. There are some 26 million in the country, providing employment to more than 60 million persons. Of a total of 1,564,000 registered enterprises, 215,000 or 13.7 per cent are those of women entrepreneurs.
To encourage women to set up their own ventures, the ministry runs a scheme named (TREAD), which envisages economic empowerment of women through the development of their entrepreneurial skills in non-farm activities.
Under the scheme, the Central government gives a grant of up to 30 per cent of the total project cost to non-government organisations (NGOs) for promoting entrepreneurship among women. The remaining 70 per cent is financed by the lending agency as a loan for undertaking activities envisaged in the project.
Further, to impart skills and training to women entrepreneurs, a grant of up to Rs 1 lakh per programme is given to training institutions and NGOs, subject to certain conditions.
In the case of hard interventions the contribution from the for clusters owned and managed by women entrepreneurs could be up to 90 per cent of the project cost.
One of the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs is the lack of physical infrastructure. To create physical infrastructure for industrial estates where women’s enterprises constitute more than 50 per cent of the total, a Central government grant of 80 per cent of the project cost – subject to a maximum of Rs 8 crore – is available.
Meanwhile, the Khadi and (KVIC) and has announced that under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), the margin money subsidy provided to women entrepreneurs has been increased to 35 per cent in rural areas and 25 per cent in urban areas, compared to 25 per cent and 15 per cent respectively for other general category beneficiaries.
KVIC disbursed Rs 312.68 crore as margin money subsidy in 2011-12, compared to Rs 277.63 crore in 2010-11 — an increase of about 12 per cent. The number of units assisted increased by 17 per cent to 14,210 in 2011-12, from 12,134 units in 2010-11.
The top five states in this regard were West Bengal (1,981 units), Uttar Pradesh (1,389 units), Tamil Nadu (1,142 units), Assam (1,071 units) and Bihar (991 units).

Step Taken By Government to Develop Women Entrepreneurs in India

The growth and development of women entrepreneurs required to be accelerated because entrepreneurial development is not possible without the participation of women.
Therefore, a congenial environment is needed to be created to enable women to participate actively in the entrepreneurial activities. There is a need of Government, non-Government, promotional and regulatory agencies to come forward and play the supportive role in promoting the women entrepreneur in India.
The Government of India has also formulated various training and development cum employment generations programs for the women to start their ventures. These programmes are as follows:
1. Steps taken in Seventh Five-Year Plan:
In the seventh five-year plan, a special chapter on the “Integration of women in development” was introduced by Government with following suggestion:
(i) Specific target group:
It was suggested to treat women as a specific target groups in all major development programs of the country.
(ii) Arranging training facilities:
It is also suggested in the chapter to devise and diversify vocational training facilities for women to suit their changing needs and skills.
(iii) Developing new equipments:
Efforts should be made to increase their efficiency and productivity through appropriate technologies, equipments and practices.
(iv) Marketing assistance:
It was suggested to provide the required assistance for marketing the products produced by women entrepreneurs.
(v) Decision-making process:
It was also suggested to involve the women in decision-making process.
2. Steps taken by Government during Eight Five-Year Plan:
The Government of India devised special programs to increases employment and income-generating activities for women in rural areas. The following plans are lunched during the Eight-Five Year Plan:
(i) Prime Minister Rojgar Yojana and EDPs were introduced to develop entrepreneurial qualities among rural women.
(ii) ‘Women in agriculture’ scheme was introduced to train women farmers having small and marginal holdings in agriculture and allied activities.
(iii) To generate more employment opportunities for women KVIC took special measures in remote areas.
(iv) Women co-operatives schemes were formed to help women in agro-based industries like dairy farming, poultry, animal husbandry, horticulture etc. with full financial support from the Government.
(v) Several other schemes like integrated Rural Development Programs (IRDP), Training of Rural youth for Self employment (TRYSEM) etc. were started to alleviated poverty.30-40% reservation is provided to women under these schemes.
3. Steps taken by Government during Ninth Five-Year Plan:
Economic development and growth is not achieved fully without the development of women entrepreneurs. The Government of India has introduced the following schemes for promoting women entrepreneurship because the future of small scale industries depends upon the women-entrepreneurs:
(a) Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) scheme was lunched by Ministry of Small Industries to develop women entrepreneurs in rural, semi-urban and urban areas by developing entrepreneurial qualities.
(b) Women Comkp0onent Plant, a special strategy adop0ted by Government to provide assistance to women entrepreneurs.
(c) Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and Swaran Jayanti Sekhari Rozgar Yojana were introduced by government to provide reservations for women and encouraging them to start their ventures.
(d) New schemes named Women Development Corporations were introduced by government to help women entrepreneurs in arranging credit and marketing facilities.
(e) State Industrial and Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has introduced following schemes to assist the women entrepreneurs. These schemes are:
(i) Mahila Udyam Nidhi
(ii) Micro Cordite Scheme for Women
(iii) Mahila Vikas Nidhi
(iv) Women Entrepreneurial Development Programmes
(v) Marketing Development Fund for Women
4. Consortium of Women entrepreneurs of India provides a platform to assist the women entrepreneurs to develop new, creative and innovative techniques of production, finance and marketing.
There are different bodies such as NGOs, voluntary organizations, Self-help groups, institutions and individual enterprises from rural and urban areas which collectively help the women entrepreneurs in their activities.
5. Training programmes:
The following training schemes specially for the self employment of women are introduced by government:
(i) Support for Training and Employment Programme of Women (STEP).
(ii) Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA).
(iii) Small Industry Service Institutes (SISIs)
(iv) State Financial Corporations
(v) National Small Industries Corporations
(vi) District Industrial Centres (DICs)
6. Mahila Vikas Nidhi:
SIDBI has developed this fund for the entrepreneurial development of women especially in rural areas. Under Mahila Vikas Nidhi grants loan to women are given to start their venture in the field like spinning, weaving, knitting, embroidery products, block printing, handlooms handicrafts, bamboo products etc.
7. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh:
In 1993, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh was set up to grant micro credit to pore women at reasonable rates of interest with very low transaction costs and simple procedures.

Subsidies in India for Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs are not sufficiently represented among the business community in India. Most women opt for household management after wedding and breadwinning responsibilities are left to the men. In recent days, there has been a shift in this attitude due to urbanization and women empowerment. To boost women owned businesses in India and promote women entrepreneurship, the Government has announced various subsidies in India for Women Entrepreneurs. In this article, we look at some of the popular subsidies in India for women entrepreneurs.

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. Government provides subsidy of up to 30% of the total project cost as appraised by lending institutions which would finance the remaining 70% as loan Assistance to applicant women. Women eligible under this scheme are who have no 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 a NGO for a number of individual or group(s) women.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank

Bharatiya Mahila Bank is a one of a kind Bank in India formed with a vision of economic empowerment for women. Bharatiya Mahila Bank commenced operations in 2013 and currently has 45 branches across India. Bharatiya Mahila 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:
BMB Shringaar – Loan For Beauty Parlour /Saloon/Spa: Collateral free loan of upto 1 crore is provided under theCGTMSE Scheme for setting up of a beauty parlour or saloon or spa. The loan is provided for a term of upto 7 years with an interest rate of 12.25% (Base Rate + 2.00%).
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% (Base Rate + 1.50%).
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% (Base Rate + 2.00%).

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 motorized 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 motorized ratts/ motorized traditional ratts for spinning coir yarn to women artisans. As per the scheme, the Coir Board will provide 75% of the cost of the motorized ratt as one time subsidy provided the other 25% is raised by the beneficiary through voluntary organizations/ 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% is provided as a subsidy and the balance 75% would be funded as a Term Loan (65%) and Promoter Contribution (10%). The term loan would have a repayment period of 6 to 8 years including moratorium of 1 to 2 years.

Initiatives for Women Entrepreneurs by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Women entrepreneurs have achieved remarkable success. The Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Organisation (MSME-DO), the various State Small Industries Development Corporations (SSIDCs), the nationalised banks and even NGOs are conducting various programmes including Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs). To cater to the needs of potential women entrepreneurs, who may not have adequate educational background and skills, MSME-DO has introduced process/product oriented EDPs in areas like TV repairing, printed circuit boards, leather goods, screen printing etc. A special prize to "Outstanding Women Entrepreneur" of the year is being given to recognise achievements made by and to provide incentives to women entrepreneurs. The Office of DC (MSME) has also opened a Women Cell to provide coordination and assistance to women entrepreneurs facing specific problems.

There are also several other schemes of the government like the Income Generating Scheme, implemented by the Department of Women and Child Development, which provides assistance for setting up training-cum-income generating activities for needy women to make them economically independent. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has been implementing two special schemes for women namely Mahila Udyam Nidhi which is an exclusive scheme for providing equity to women entrepreneurs and the Mahila Vikas Nidhi which offers developmental assistance for pursuit of income generating activities to women. The SIDBI has also taken initiative to set up an informal channel for credit needs on soft terms giving special emphasis to women. Over and above this, SIDBI also provides training for credit utilisation as also credit delivery skills for the executives of voluntary organisations working for women. Grant for setting up a production unit is also available under Socio-Economic Programme of Central Social Welfare Board.

Policies and Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs in India

In India, the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises development organisations, various State Small Industries Development Corporations, the Nationalised banks and even NGOs are conducting various programmes including Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) to cater to the needs of potential women entrepreneurs, who may not have adequate educational background and skills. The Office of DC (MSME) has also opened a Women Cell to provide coordination and assistance to women entrepreneurs facing specific problems.

There are also several other schemes of the government at central and state level, which provide assistance for setting up training-cum-income generating activities for needy women to make them economically independent. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has also been implementing special schemes for women entrepreneurs.

In addition to the special schemes for women entrepreneurs, various government schemes for MSMEs also provide certain special incentives and concessions for women entrepreneurs. For instance, under Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), preference is given to women beneficiaries. The government has also made several relaxations for women to facilitate the participation of women beneficiaries in this scheme. Similarly, under the MSE Cluster Development Programme by Ministry of MSME, the contribution from the Ministry of MSME varies between 30-80% of the total project in case of hard intervention, but in the case of clusters owned and managed by women entrepreneurs, contribution of the M/o MSME could be upto 90% of the project cost. Similarly, under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises, the guarantee cover is generally available upto 75% of the loans extended; however the extent of guarantee cover is 80% for MSEs operated and/ or owned by women. 

Some of the special schemes for women entrepreneurs implemented by the government bodies and allied institutions are provided below.

Women Entrepreneur Associations

The efforts of government and its different agencies are supplemented by NGOs and associations that are playing an equally important role in facilitating women empowerment. List of various women associations in India is provided in the table below.

Details of Women Entrepreneur Associations in India
Association Name
Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE)
Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs(CWEI)
Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh
Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE)
Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
Women Entrepreneurs Promotion Association (WEPA)
The Marketing Organisation of Women Enterprises (MOOWES)
Bihar Mahila Udyog SanghBihar Mahila Udyog Sangh
Mahakaushal Association of Woman Entrepreneurs (MAWE)
SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurship Council
Women Entrepreneurs Association of Tamil Nadu (WEAT)
TiE Stree Shakti (TSS)
Women Empowerment Corporation


Success Stories of Women Entrepreneurs in India

  • Story of Dream Weavers which started with Rs 500 and now makes Rs 25 lakhs, click here to read the story.
  • Story of Patricia Narayan, Winner of Ficci Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, click here to read the story.
  • Story of Sarala Bastian who set up a successful mushroom business with just Rs 15000, click here to read the story.
  • Success story of Kiran Majumdar Shaw, the Biocon Queen, click here to read the story.
  • Success story of Saloni Malhotra, founder of DesiCrew, click here to read the story
  • Story of Revathi Krishna, the founder of Coffee, Books and More, click here to read the story
  • Story of Lata Manohar’s boutique - Vishuddi, click here to read the story
  • Story of Radha Rajakrishnan, a successful entrepreneur in apparel business, click here to read the story.

Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

  • Start a business that works for you and your personal life
  • Research the product/ service
  • Assess the market
  • Start business with adequate funds
  • Do networking
  • Consult with professionals

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Are YOU doing all you CAN ?

It's been 67 years of Independence and our great nation is still a developing country NOT a developed one. India, our country has a great history, culture and heritage (e.g. first civilization, introduced decimal system, yoga & spiritual enrichment, Ayurved, moral & ethical values,....etc...). India is the country which initiated the civilization process and lead the world, but as of now other countries have taken the lead. What is keeping such a great nation behind? Who should be blamed?... our earlier generations, today's politicians, government policies, bla..bla..bla... WHO?

In my personal point of view - Its 'WE' !!! We are the one who are not letting our nation to progress as we have learnt to blame and to give excuses. We have become selfish and greedy, we want to live a luxurious life style, want to be rich and wealthy, this seems to be the only focus of everyone whether he/she is aged or young, Who CARES!!! is the attitude each one carries, untill unless something drastic happens to us, we really do not care. Corruption evolves from greed and selfishness, so 'WE' are responsible for the ever increasing corruption in our country. I really mean when I say 'WE' are CORRUPT!!

Do not wait for something drastic to happen to get into action, Its high time that 'WE' realize and BEHAVE responsibly towards ourselves, our families and our society. Lets regain the lost glory!!

•Are you REALLY satisfied with the quality of life and present conditions in the place you live ?
•Imagine a picture of future India and your children without you. Do you see them living in a secure and non-corrupted environment?
•In recent decades, 500,000 female births have gone missing each year due to (illegal) sex selection and abortion.
•Do you know 42% of poor population in world, lives in India ?
•What have you contributed or tried to contribute to our nation and its progress?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

List of Government schemes available for Economic Empowerment of Women in India


In its capacity as the nodal Ministry, the Ministry of Women and Child Development seeks to promote economic empowerment of women through policies and programmes cutting across sectors, mainstreaming gender concerns, creating awareness about their rights and facilitating institutional and legislative support for enabling them to develop to their full potential.  The important programmes in different areas are
Skill upgradation:
Support to Training & Employment Programme for Women (STEP)

A Central Sector Scheme launched in 1986-87, seeks to upgrade skill of poor and assetless women and provide employment on sustainable basis by mobilizing them in viable cooperative groups, strengthening marketing linkages, support services and access to credit.   The scheme also provides for enabling support services in the form of health check-ups, legal and health literacy, elementary education, gender sensitization and mobile crèches. The ultimate endeavour of each project is to develop the group to thrive on a self-sustaining basis in the market place with minimal governmental support and intervention even after the project period is over.  Since inception, around 250 projects have been provided financial assistance under the scheme.
The ten traditional sectors identified for project funding under STEP comprise of agriculture, animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries, handlooms, handicrafts, khadi and village industries, sericulture, waste land development and social forestry. The scope and coverage of the scheme is being broadened with introduction of locally appropriate sectors being identified and incorporated into the scheme.
A centrally-sponsored scheme was approved by the Government on 16.8.2010. The scheme is being implemented in 200 districts across the country on a pilot basis. In the remaining districts, Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) continues to be operational as before.  However, SABLA has completely replaced Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (NPAG) as all districts of NPAG are now part of the SABLA. The scheme, interalia, aims at vocational training for girls above 16 years of age for their economic empowerment.
Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – ‘Sabla’

Sabla is being implemented through the State Governments/UTs with 100 per cent financial assistance from the Central Government for all inputs other than nutrition provision for which 50 % Central assistance to States is provided. Anganwadi Centre is the focal point for the delivery of the services.

  • Life Skill Education and accessing public services,
  • Vocational training for girls aged 16 and above under National Skill Development Program (NSDP)
  • The successful implementation of SABLA requires convergence with development activities/schemes of other Departments such as Health, Education, Youth Affairs, Labour, PRIs etc.
  • Nearly 100 lakh adolescent girls per annum are expected to be benefitted under the scheme. Against the allocation of Rs. 350 crore for the year 2010-11, a sum of Rs. 330 crore(approx.) has been released to States/UTs. The year 2011-12 will be the first complete year of implementation of the scheme after which the physical and financial achievements made vis-à-vis the target would be assessed. A sum of Rs. 750 crore has been allocated for Sabla for 2011-12.
Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
In order to address the socio-economic needs of the women and children of selected eight most backward districts in the North Eastern region in the economic arena, Central Social Welfare Board has formulated the Integrated Scheme for Women Empowerment (ISWE). The scheme is being implemented on pilot basis since 2008 and has the objective of meeting the felt needs of the area by mobilizing community action, converging available services and resources of the area, income generation through feasible and sustainable activities for women and to provide services for health awareness, career counseling vocational training, preventing child trafficking and other social evils.
Economic Improvement:
National Mission for Empowerment of Women
The extent of empowerment of women from a holistic and macro-point of view is largely determined by 3 factors viz. economic, social and political identity. These factors are deeply intertwined and linked with many cross cutting linkages. It implies that if efforts in any one dimension remains absent or week, the outcome and momentum generated by the other components cannot be sustained. It is only when all these three factors are addressed simultaneously and made compatible with each other can women be truly empowered. Therefore, for the holistic empowerment of women, an inter-sectoral approach has to be adopted. The vision for socio-economic empowerment of women is to empower women economically and socially to end exploitation and discrimination enabling them to develop their full potential to be active participants in nation building, sharing the benefits of economic growth and prosperity. To achieve this vision, the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) was launched on 8th March. The objectives of the Mission are to:
  1. Ensure economic empowerment of women,
  2. Ensure that violence against women is eliminated progressively,
  3. Ensure empowerment of women with emphasis on health and education,
  4. Oversee gender mainstreaming of programmes, policies, institutional arrangements and processes of participating Mininstries, institutions and organizations, and
  5. Undertake awareness generation as well as advocacy activities to fuel the demand for benefits under various schemes and programmes and create, if required, structures at district,tehsil and village level with the involvement of Panchayats foe their fulfillment.
Economic Empowerment of Women is to be achieved through convergence of the schemes and programmes having focus on formation and promotion of SHGs so as to enable women to have access to micro credit and micro finance. Programmes like National Rural Livelihood Mission (erstwhile SGSY) of MoRD, Smayamsidha of MWCD and similar programmes of other Ministries and organizations would need to be converged to help the identified SHGs in a coordinated fashion. The Mission would see that access to credit by women SHGs under schemes of NABARD, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, Financial institutions like NSCFDC/ NBCFDC/ NSKFDC of MoSJ&E and nationalized banks, is coordinated well and delivery of credit is timely.
In order to promote self employment opportunities and create livelihood options for women, it would ensure that training and skill upgradation under schemes/ programmes of MoS&ME, MoL&E , MoRD, MWCD etc. are available to the women beneficiaries of SHGs and that there is no duplication of errors. Sustainability of income generation activities by women would be looked at and they would be ensured provision of adequate forward, backward and horizontal linkages. The relevant programmes of NABARD, RMK and participating Ministries as well as organizations with components of processing, storage, distribution and market networks would be put in a convergent mode to strengthen the livelihood of women.
The existing monitoring systems in place at the state and district levels would be utilized by the National Mission for tracking the effectiveness of convergence efforts in the area of economic empowerment. While at the district level, the District Collector as per the existing arrangement of the DRDA would be responsible for monitoring convergence efforts at the district level, the Chief Secretary of the State Government with technical inputs from the State Resource Centre to be set up for women (SRCW) will be made responsible at the state level. At the national level national level, the National Mission Authority (NMA) will be responsible for overall monitoring of actionable agenda requiring convergence and for which it will take the inputs from both the Mission Directorate and the National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW).
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh - (National Credit Fund for Women)
The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (National Credit Fund for Women) was set up in 1993 with a corpus of Rs. 31 crore, against the backdrop of socio-economic constraints faced by poor women to access micro – credit from the formal financial system in the country, especially those in the rural and in unorganized sectors. The principal corpus has increased to Rs.100.00 Crore by 2009-10.
The main objective behind the setting up of the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) under the Department of Women and Child Development (now Ministry) was to provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly procedure to bring about their socio-economic development. The RMK is now being restructured as a NBFC with a corpus of Rs.500.00 crore.
Till 31.3.2011, 6, 87,512 women beneficiaries have been sanctioned Rs.307.52 crore and disbursed Rs.251.82 crore. However, with the proposed induction of funds and conversion to NBFC, the projected yearly number of beneficiaries and loans are at the end of five year period in FY 2015-16 is likely to be 2,19,500 and Rs.492.02 crore respectively. Thus, there would be a quantum jump in the business volume of the organization through this restructuring.
Further, the fact that RMK extends loan upto maximum of 18 per cent interest per annum to SHGs/beneficiaries as against loans disbursed to beneficiaries through Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) under the NABARD’s SHG – Bank  Linkage Programme at the interest rate ranging between 30 and 40 per cent per annum and even higher and 60 to 70 percent rate charged by traditional moneylenders, would mean that the impact by way of higher incomes and welfare of the beneficiaries at  such an expanded scale of finance and at affordable rate, would be much more pronounced.
An RMK sponsored ‘Impact Study ‘ of 2008 shows 84% beneficiaries from rural areas and 16% from urban areas had undertaken activities like Animal husbandry (41%), Petty Shops (19%) and Agriculture (17%).  Their monthly income has increased between Rs.2000/- and Rs.4000/-.  54% reported increase in household expenditure, 96% reported improvement in food consumption pattern, and 87% reported increase in household assets.  Access to medical facility increased for majority of beneficiaries (88%).  There was increase in social status of 87% of beneficiaries.  98% women beneficiaries reported increase in their self-confidence and security with increased income through RMK.  Majority (95%) of the beneficiaries reported improvement in their standard of living and participation in micro finance led to decrease in domestic violence.
Gender Budgeting and Economic Empowerment of Women-
Budgets, which influence the overall level of national income and employment and reflect the priorities of the government regarding public investment, also promote gender equality within the national development framework.  The Government of India is committed to promoting gender equality and has adopted Gender Budgeting (GB) as a tool to address the inequalities faced by women. The purpose is to ensure the translation of Government’s policy commitments on gender equity into budgetary allocations.
To institutionalize the process of Gender Budgeting, the Government had initiated the formation of Gender Budget Cells (GBCs) within all Central Ministries/ Departments in 2005. These Cells are required to take up evaluation of existing Government programmes and schemes from a gender perspective and identify new areas of intervention for addressing the existing gender gaps. The flow of funds under certain women specific schemes/programmes are also being monitored through a Gender Budget Statement (Statement 20) as a part of the Union Budget Document since 2005.
MWCD, as the nodal agency, is pursuing with other Ministries / Departments to build their capacity so as to integrate gender concerns across sectors / schemes / programmes/ and ensure proper allocation and/or reprioritization of resources.  The number of Ministries reflecting their allocations in the Gender Budget Statement have gone up from nine in 2005-06 to 29 in 2011-12, with a magnitude of Gender Budget (BE) increasing from Rs.14379.00 crore(2.79%) in 2005-06 to Rs.78251.00 crore (6.22%) in 2011-12.
Support services:
Hostel for Working Women-
a. The Scheme of Working Women Hostel lenvisages provision of safe and affordable hostel accommodation to working women, single working women, women working at places away from their home-towns and for women being trained for employment.
The scheme has been revised with following salient features:
  • Financial assistance for construction of hostel building to be given only on public land.
  • Financial assistance available for rent of the hostels which are run in rented premises also.
  • Provision for maintenance grant of hostel building (maximum Rs.5 lakh) and one-time non-recurring grant for furnishings (@ Rs.7500 per beneficiary).
  • State Government agencies, Urban Municipal Bodies, Cantonment Boards, Civil Society Organizations, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Self Help Groups, Recognized Colleges/Universities, and Corporate or associations like CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI have been included under the revised scheme.
  • The State Governments have been advised to disseminate and send project proposals as per the revised guidelines the Scheme. Since its inception in 1972-73, 890 hostels have been sanctioned under the scheme all over the country benefiting about 66,000 working women.
b. Working Women Hostel at Jasola, New Delhi: In view of increasing incidents of assault on women from the North-eastern States, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had undertaken construction of a working women hostel in the year 2008-09 exclusively for the working women of North East region working in and around Delhi. The construction of the hostel building at Jasola, New Delhi, has been completed in this current year. The six storied hostel building is having 167 living rooms with a capacity to accommodate 500 working women. This hostel also has provision of a day care centre for the children of working mothers.
Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme-
With a view to encourage women to join/ continue with gainful employment, Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for children of working mothers (RGNCS) was introduced in 2006. The scheme seeks to provide day care facilities to children in the age group 0-6 years from families with a monthly income of less than Rs. 12,000/-. In addition to being a safe space for the children, the crèche provide services like supplementary nutrition, pre school education, emergency health care etc.
The scheme provides for grant of Rs.3532/- per month for a crèche, limited to 90% of the schematic pattern or actual expenditure whichever is less, and the remaining expenditure is borne by the implementing agencies. Honorarium to crèche workers is fully funded under the scheme. Funds are separately provided to the implementing agencies for one time training of crèche workers.
The Central Sector scheme is implemented through Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) and two national level mother NGOs i.e. Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) andBharatiya  Adimjati  Sevak  Sangh (BAJSS).
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) – Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) scheme is a Conditional Cash Transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women to contribute to better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers.  It is being implemented initially on pilot basis in 52 selected districts using the platform of ICDS. IGMSY is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme introduced in the FY 2010-11, under which the grant-in-aid is released to States/UTs.  The Scheme envisages providing cash directly to P&L women during pregnancy and lactation in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions. It would address short term income support objectives with long term objective of behaviour and attitudinal change.  The scheme attempts to partly compensate for wage loss to pregnant & lactating women both prior to and after delivery of the child.
To participate in the above schemes visit – and
List of Government schemes available for Economic Empowerment of Women in India logo