Funding and support for women entrepreneurs: List of resources


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door – Milton Berle”

This humorous take on the popular idea of opportunity knocking at your door, could be a key to boosting women’s participation in employment and entrepreneurship. However not all women from all walks of life can build doors to create opportunities; most of us wait for that good chance, especially when we want to sustain and scale our startup with financial support from a reliable source. Whether it is for entrepreneurship or self-employment, complete knowledge about an opportunity really helps. How do we ensure that women entrepreneurs get right information at the right time from the right source? It’s not just the information but also a complete picture of what the funding or a support opportunity is all about. We have complied a list of organizations that can help women entrepreneurs to explore financial support, mentoring, market linkages and other aspects of running a startup both in urban and rural areas in various industry sectors.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018, we bring to you a list of organizations that support women entrepreneurs through micro finance, startup acceleration, business loans, CSR initiatives and others.

Funding and support for women entrepreneurs

Dena Shakti

Dena Shakti Scheme finances women entrepreneurs by including following activities / sectors under 1.Agriculture & allied activities 2.Small Enterprises (Direct and Indirect Finance) 3. Micro and small (manufacturing) enterprises 4. Micro and small (service) enterprises which include small road and water transport operators, small business professional and self-employed and all other service enterprises 5. Retail Trade 6. Micro Credit 7. Education 8. Housing

Schemes from Punjab National Bank

Assists women entrepreneurs 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

CENT Kalyani

New as well as Existing Women entrepreneurs for her Micro / Small enterprise ( as defined under MSME Act- 2006) .i.e engaged in manufacturing and service activity for eg. Handloom weaving Handicraft, Food-Processing, Garment making etc. etc. Professionals & Self employed women – Doctors, Chartered Accountants, and Engineers or trained in Art or Craft etc. Health /Beauty clinics/Dieticians/Fashion Designing Beauty Parlors .Small Business-Small lunch/canteen, mobile restaurant, circulating library/ tailoring /Day Creches for children ,Tailoring, Typing / STD/ Zerox booth etc.Transport Operators- Three wheeler /Four wheeler . (Retail Trade/ Education and training Institute/ Self Help Group not eligible)

Stree Shakti Package

The Stree Shakti Package is a unique scheme run by the SBI, aimed at supporting entrepreneurship among women by providing certain concessions. An enterprise should have more than 50% of its share capital owned by women to qualify for the scheme.

Oriented Mahila Vikas Yojana

Women Entrepreneurs enterprise consisting of all units managed by one or more in proprietary concerns or in which she/they individually or jointly have a share capital of not less than 51% as partners/ shareholders/ directors of a private ltd. company/members of a co-operative society.


Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd. [MUDRA] is an NBFC supporting development of micro enterprise sector in the country. MUDRA provides refinance support to Banks / MFIs for lending to micro units having loan requirement upto 10 lakh. MUDRA provides refinance to micro business under the Scheme of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana.

Udyogini Financial Linkages

Udyogini links entrepreneurs with social investor firms. Entrepreneurs will be evaluated and qualified independently, though the funds are routed through and guaranteed by Udyogini; Provides formal financial linkages; Micro-insurance; Subsidies for critical inputs available from government schemes and other programs

Maan Deshi Foundation – Women’s Bank

Provide financing to women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses; Create new and customised credit products and services specifically for rural women; Promote digital banking; Represent rural women’s concerns at the national and international level for Banking and Financial Inclusion; Provide insurance schemes and products; Provide doorstep banking services

ICICI Bank: Empowering women through economic independence

ICICI Bank launched the Self Help Group – Bank Linkage Programme exclusively for underprivileged women in rural India. The programme provides unsecured loans to these women-led groups and helps them in starting or expanding their own businesses. Through this programme, the Bank aims at promoting entrepreneurship among rural women and in helping them to earn sustainable livelihoods.

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

The purpose is to provide refinance facilities and short term lending to industries. It is an institution for the promotion, and development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector and for co-ordination of the functions of the institutions engaged in similar activities.

Stand Up India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Stand up India’ scheme on 5 April 2016 as part of the government’s efforts to support entrepreneurship among women and SC & ST communities.The scheme offers bank loans of between ₹10 lakh (US$15,000) and ₹1 crore (US$150,000) for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and women setting up new enterprises outside of the farm sector.

National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC)

National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) is a private limited company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 on March 28, 2014, established by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, as a wholly owned company of the Government of India, to act as a common trustee company for multiple credit guarantee funds.

Ernst and Young supporting women entrepreneurs

With help from the EY Foundation in India, programs supporting women entrepreneurs are proving highly successful at raising living standards.It’s why supporting women entrepreneurs is at the heart of a holistic approach to village development in India, supported by annual investment of INR85m from the EY Foundation.

Empower: Accelerator for women in tech

Currently 5 accelerators : Zone Startups India (flagship program), Mumbai; empoWer (India’s 1st tech accelerator for Women entrepreneurs); Axis Bank AccelerWomen have been among the most disadvantaged and oppressed section of our country with regard to access to and control over resources. Problems faced by them continue to be grave particularly for illiterate & semi literate women of rural and urban areas In order to alleviate their problems, ator & ThoughtFactory Co-Innovation Lab, Bangalore; Gateway 91, Mumbai; Barclays Rise Acclerator Program; Palava Accelerator

Agri Udaan : Food & Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0

AGRI UDAAN is a Food & Agribusiness Accelarator organised by NAARM, a-IDEA and IIM-A, CIIE in partnership with Caspian Impact Investment and supported by DST. The program focuses on catalyzing scale-up stage Food & Agribusiness startups through rigorous mentoring, industry networking and Investor pitching.

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Scheme for Women

Govt. of India launched a scheme entitled ” Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development” (TREAD) during the 9th plan period which has slightly been modified and is now put in operation. The scheme envisages economic empowerment of such women through trade related training, information and counseling extension activities related to trades, products, services etc.

Science For Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED)

Science For Equity Empowerment and Development has the broad objectives of providing opportunities to motivated scientists and field level workers to take up action oriented and location specific projects aiming towards socio-economic upliftment of poor and disadvantaged sections of the society through appropriate science and technology interventions especially in the rural areas. Under this program efforts have been made to associate concerned National Labs or other specialist S&T institutions with each major program so as to build-in expert input, utilize national S&T infrastructure and link it up with grassroots S&T interventions/initiatives.

Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)

The Ministry has been administering ‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme’ since 1986-87 as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’. The STEP Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country. The grant under the Scheme is given to an institution/ organisation including NGOs directly and not the States/ UTs. The assistance under STEP Scheme will be available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship, including but not limited to the Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enable services along with soft skills and skills for the work place such as spoken English, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality.

(Note: the above information is picked up from respective websites. For details please visit the website for accurate and updated information – The content was earlier published on LinkedIn ) 


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  2. Nowadays womens are doing more work as compared with mens. Womens have also rights to do work and start their business. Many of the time womens have strong business ideas then mens so there are no difference between them.

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