Opportunities for women in the MSME sector

India alone has over 3 million women-headed businesses and this number is expected to grow with the plethora of opportunities and government schemes.


Micro, small and medium enterprises, popularly known as MSMEs are the mainstay of the Indian economy, which employs millions of men and women across the country. However, only 13.76 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in India are women. While the number of male entrepreneurs has crossed over 50 million, the number of women entrepreneurs is just around 8 million.

According to data from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), MSMEs form around 63.4 million units throughout the geographical expanse of India. They contribute about 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP, 24.63% of the GDP from service activities and 33.4% to India’s manufacturing output. To boost the participation of women in this booming sector, the government has come up with several schemes which aid women-led business. Some of them are:

Stree Shakti- Women Entrepreneurs 

Women who have majority ownership of more than 50 per cent in any small business are eligible for this scheme. Interest concession of 0.05 per cent will be applicable on loans above Rs. 2 lakhs. The owners also need to be enrolled in EDP schemes (Entrepreneurship Development Programs). 

Bhartiya Mahila Business Bank Loan

This loan offered by the Bhartiya Mahila Bank provides a loan of up to Rs. 20 Crores for manufacturing units. There is no need for collateral for the loans of upto Rs. 1 Crore. 

Dena Shakti 

A concession of 0.25 per cent on the rate of interest is provided for loans up to Rs. 20 Lakhs for women entrepreneurs in specific sectors such as micro-credit, retail, agriculture etc.

Mahila Udyam Nidhi:

This scheme is offered by SIDBI bank. It provides financial assistance of up to Rs. 10 Lakhs to set up a new venture. Up-gradation of existing projects are also covered under this scheme. They offer competitive interest rates, and the loans can be repaid within a period of 10 years.

Mudra Yojana Scheme- 

This general scheme for small units applies to women who want to start a small enterprise such as a tailoring unit, beauty parlour unit, home tuitions etc. Loans up to Rs. 50 Lakhs are sanctioned under this scheme. Guarantees and collaterals are only required if the loan amount exceeds Rs. 10 Lakhs. 

These schemes, along with improved education outcomes, socioeconomic factors and the availability of support, aid women entrepreneurship. As per a report by Bain & Company, Indian women entrepreneurs are likely to create 150–170 million jobs– over 25 per cent of the new jobs required for the working population by 2030. The report further states that the number of women-owned enterprises has grown from 14 per cent to 20 per cent in the past decade.

According to several reports, India alone has over 3 million women-headed businesses, and this number is expected to grow with the plethora of opportunities and schemes that the government provides.

Let us hope that these pave the way for more women to come forward to own their business and bring out 

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