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Government Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs in India

With the support of government initiatives, women entrepreneurs can overcome challenges and build successful businesses that contribute to their advancement and the betterment of their communities.

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

Indian women have come a long way since they were financially dependent on men. Today, they take charge of their finances and make their own decisions. Several government initiatives are primarily focused on improving the financial independence of women.

Government schemes unlock their full economic potential and create a genuinely inclusive society by fostering an environment that celebrates, nurtures, and empowers women entrepreneurs. While government schemes and financial advantages have paved the way for progress, the journey for India’s women entrepreneurs is still ongoing. As women entrepreneurs create jobs, build sustainable practices, and drive social change, their impact ripples outwards, shaping a more equitable and thriving India.

Importance of Govt. Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs

Women face unique challenges in the business world, like access to finance, skill gaps, and societal expectations. Time and again, the Indian government has taken significant steps to increase awareness amongst women regarding advantageous government schemes for women. These schemes bridge the gaps by providing the following:

  • Financial Support: Microloans, subsidies, and grants make starting and growing businesses more feasible, removing the hurdle of hefty initial investments.
  • Skilling and Training: Programs equip women with essential business acumen, marketing knowledge, and financial literacy, boosting their confidence and competence.
  • Infrastructure and Support: Initiatives create co-working spaces, business incubators, and mentorship networks, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment for women entrepreneurs.

Beneficial Monetary Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs

The Indian government has launched several government schemes for women entrepreneurs. Some of the popular schemes are:

Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) Business Loan Scheme

This scheme is for women who wish to start their businesses. It provides loans up to ₹20 crores for women-owned manufacturing companies at an interest rate of 10.15%. The scheme also offers collateral-free loans up to one crore for micro and small enterprises.

Annapurna Scheme

Another government-backed monetary initiative for women is the Annapurna Scheme. It aims to financially support women in establishing a food catering business. The program grants loans up to ₹50,000 to allow women to buy utensils, kitchen tools, and other equipment for the company. The interest rate varies per the market standard and the concerned bank. The loan amount is to be paid back in three years.

TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) scheme

TREAD aims to empower women economically by offering them credit, training, development, and counseling support in products, services, trades, etc.

This government initiative provides crucial financial support, covering up to 30% of a project’s value as appraised by the bank. Partnering with experienced NGOs, TREAD ensures access to capital and vital training and counseling. This comprehensive approach equips women with the skills and resources needed to build and sustain successful businesses, ultimately leading to economic independence and improved livelihoods.

Mahila-E-Haat for Women Entrepreneurs

The Ministry of Women and Child Development governs this program. Started in 2016, Mahila-E-Haat is a bilingual marketing platform that uses technology to enable budding women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, NGOs, and others to promote their products and services.

Stree Shakti Yojana

Stree Shakti Yojana provides a personal loan to help women expand their businesses. Women must own 50% of the business to qualify for this loan and are eligible for up to ₹25 lakhs under this program. It makes it simple for women to run a firm, boosting income flow.

Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme

The program is suitable for Indian women who want to develop small businesses and take care of their requirements. The scheme does not demand collateral for loans up to ₹20 lakhs. After receiving a loan under this program to assist in starting a business or firm appropriately, the repayment period is 5 to 7 years.

Mudra Yojana

The Mudra loan program, a governmental effort within India, strives to foster entrepreneurship and extend financial aid to micro and small enterprises. It emphasizes empowering and advancing women entrepreneurs, enhancing women’s entrepreneurial endeavors within the nation. Mudra loans designed for women are accessible with simplified criteria, and loans up to ten lakhs do not necessitate collateral. Furthermore, the program extends preferential interest rates to female entrepreneurs, rendering it an appealing choice for individuals aspiring to initiate or broaden their business ventures.

Economic Empowerment of Women Enterprises and Start-Ups by Women

This initiative, established under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, offers an incubation and acceleration program designed for women micro-entrepreneurs, facilitating the launch of new ventures and the expansion of current ones. Currently, the program runs in Assam, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

Stand-Up India Scheme

The Stand-Up India Scheme represents a governmental initiative to foster entrepreneurship within women and marginalized groups. Its focus is facilitating financial support through bank loans, ensuring the provision of loans to both a Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) borrower and a female borrower to initiate new ventures. In situations involving non-individual enterprises, it mandates that either an SC/ST entrepreneur or a female entrepreneur must hold a minimum ownership and controlling stake of 51%. This program enables female entrepreneurs to access ten lakhs to one crore loans, empowering them to commence or enhance their small-scale enterprises.

Working Women’s Hostel for Economical Accommodation

The government has also helped women by launching Working Women Hostels to provide a safe and convenient living space for working women and their families. Women get accommodation, along with daycare facilities for their children.

These hostels are set up across urban, semi-urban, and rural areas. However, these hostels are only available for women whose monthly income does not exceed ₹50,000 per month in urban areas and ₹35,000 per month in other areas.

This scheme is implemented through various organizations, including the government and NGOs, which establish and maintain hostels for working women.

Sukanya Samridhi Yojana

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a government-sponsored scheme launched to benefit the girl child and ensure a brighter future for her. Parents or legal guardians of a girl child under ten can invest in SSY. The scheme has a fixed tenure of 21 years and offers an average rate of return between 8% and 9%. Deposits can be made once every month or on an annual basis for 15 years from the date of the SSY account opening.

The minimum permissible tax-saving investment is ₹1000, while the maximum is ₹1.5 lakhs. The account will be managed after 18 years of age. According to the Income Tax Act, investments in SSY up to ₹1.5 lakhs are eligible for tax savings under Section 80C.

Partly, withdrawal is sometimes allowed for the girl child’s higher education. This scheme for women is available with all PSU banks, India Post Office, and some reliable private sector banks.

Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE)

The initiative launched by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the Ministry of MSME aims to offer collateral-free financing solutions to micro and small enterprises. This program encompasses both new and existing enterprises. The Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) was established to implement this scheme. Under this scheme, eligible borrowers can access credit facilities of up to ₹200 lakh without collateral security or third-party guarantee, contingent upon the project’s viability. The guarantee coverage varies, with Micro and Small Enterprises owned or operated by women receiving an 85% guarantee cover, while other borrowers are eligible for up to 75% coverage.

STEP (Support to Training and Employment Program for Women)

STEP is designed to enhance the employability of women by providing them with skills in demand in the market. It aims to empower women economically by facilitating access to employment opportunities or enabling self-employment.

It is implemented through various training institutions, NGOs, and agencies; STEP offers vocational training programs for skill development. The scheme covers multiple sectors, including agriculture, industry, services, and information technology, to cater to diverse skill requirements.


Recognizing women’s unique challenges, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the Swadhar Greh Scheme. This initiative offers women a safe haven and comprehensive support system, enabling them to rebuild their lives with dignity and self-reliance. State agencies, NGOs, and other organizations work together to manage and operate these shelters, ensuring comprehensive support for each woman.

Swadhar Greh facilities in every district offer temporary accommodation with food, clothing, and essential amenities. Women above 18 who face various hardships, including desertion, domestic violence, natural disasters, or trafficking, are eligible for availing benefits under this scheme.

Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme

This scheme offers reliable daycare, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. While moms tackle their jobs, their children can thrive in safe, nurturing environments.

NGOs and other dedicated organizations run these creches, focusing on each child’s holistic development through nutritious meals, regular health checks, engaging early childhood education, and a fun, stimulating atmosphere.

Mahila Coir Yojana

The Coir Vikas Yojana promotes the growth of both domestic and international markets, skill and training enhancement, women’s empowerment, the creation and development of jobs and entrepreneurship, improved raw material utilization, trade-related services, and welfare initiatives for coir workers.

In particular, the Mahila Coir Yojana seeks to empower women by giving them access to spinning equipment at discounted prices in exchange for suitable skill development.

Other Ways to Help Women in their Entrepreneurial Journey

Financial empowerment is vital for women’s independence and growth. Recognizing this, Indian banks and insurers offer specialized products and benefits for women’s unique needs and aspirations.

Savings Made Easy and Rewarding

  • Women’s Savings Accounts: These accounts go beyond primary savings, offering competitive interest rates and unique features like health insurance discounts, cashback rewards, and gifts for using debit/credit cards for everyday expenses.
  • Junior Accounts: Working women can easily save for their children’s education through dedicated junior accounts linked to their own.
  • Flexible Minimum Balance: No minimum balance worries! Accounts with Recurring Deposits (RDs) or Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) allow flexibility.

Life and Health Insurance

  • Lower Premiums: Women often enjoy lower premiums for life and health insurance than men due to their statistically higher life expectancy. It translates to more affordable coverage and increased financial security.
  • Unique Plans: Insurers offer dedicated plans for women, covering specific health concerns and providing additional benefits.

Loan Advantages

  • Discounted Rates: Women can access home and car loans at lower interest rates than men. This saving can significantly impact total loan costs and overall financial well-being.
  • Joint Loans: In joint home loans, women as first applicants sometimes qualify for further discounts.
  • Zero Processing Fees: Some banks waive loan processing fees for women borrowers, adding to the financial advantage.

Real Estate Perks

  • Lower Stamp Duty: In some Indian states, women enjoy reduced stamp and transfer duties on property transactions, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Property Tax Benefits: Certain municipalities offer property tax exemptions for women-owned properties.

By leveraging these financial advantages, women in India can secure their future, build financial independence, and invest in their children’s education and well-being. They can also plan for unexpected medical expenses with enhanced health insurance coverage.

Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs

Embarking on the entrepreneurship journey presents challenges with added complexities for women entrepreneurs. Despite their diligent efforts and honed skills, female business owners frequently encounter heightened difficulties in achieving substantial success and gaining prominent acknowledgment within the business sphere.

Gender Bias and Stereotyping

One of the most persistent challenges for women entrepreneurs is gender bias and stereotypes. Society often clings to traditional gender roles, leading to a perception that women may be less competent or suitable for leadership roles. Traditional perceptions around leadership roles can create an implicit bias against women entrepreneurs in securing funding, building partnerships, and gaining recognition. It necessitates persistent effort and the ability to showcase expertise effectively.

Access to Funding and Resources

Securing funding remains a considerable obstacle for women entrepreneurs. Studies reveal a disparity in funding received by women-led businesses. Addressing this disparity requires increasing awareness and fostering inclusive investment practices. Venture capitalists and investors may subconsciously favor male entrepreneurs, resulting in limited access to capital for women-led startups. More financial support is needed to ensure growth and allow opportunities for innovation.

Work-Life Balance

Balancing the demands of entrepreneurship with personal and family responsibilities is a complex challenge that women often face. The expectation to juggle multiple roles can lead to burnout and affect business success and personal well-being. Striking a healthy work-life balance is crucial for long-term sustainability and success.

Networking and Mentorship Opportunities

Networking and mentorship are crucial for any entrepreneur’s growth. However, women may struggle to access established networks and mentorship opportunities, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries. Limited access to mentorship can hinder skill development, industry knowledge, and business expansion.

Lack of Representation

The need for visible female role models and representation in leadership positions can be discouraging for aspiring women entrepreneurs. Seeing successful women in leadership positions provides invaluable inspiration and motivation for aspiring entrepreneurs. Increasing female representation in business leadership is crucial for inspiring future generations.

Societal Expectations and Cultural Norms

Cultural norms and societal expectations can significantly influence women entrepreneurs’ challenges. In some cultures, women are expected to prioritize family over career pursuits, making it difficult to commit to entrepreneurial endeavors fully. Overcoming these norms requires both personal determination and a shift in societal attitudes.

Market Bias and Product/Service Perception

Women entrepreneurs may encounter challenges related to marketing and product/service perception. Certain products or services may be perceived as less suited for women entrepreneurs, while others aimed at traditionally male-dominated industries may face initial skepticism. Effective marketing strategies focusing on the value proposition and addressing biases can counter these challenges.

Final Thoughts

Despite the persistent roadblocks, Indian women entrepreneurs are rewriting the narrative of the business world. Supported by government initiatives, financial advantages, and the growing community of female leaders, they are charting a course for a future where gender is not a determinant of success. While challenges remain, the combined efforts of aspiring female entrepreneurs, ongoing policy support, and social change promise to unlock an era of unmatched economic empowerment and prosperity for women in India.

Key Takeaways

  • Government schemes can play a significant role in the upliftment of women entrepreneurs.
  • These schemes can help women overcome challenges like funding opportunities, lack of representation, and market bias.
  • Schemes like TREAD, Annapurna scheme, and Mudra Yojana are certain programs by the government to help women entrepreneurs.
  • Apart from these schemes, the government offers opportunities like loan benefits, real estate perks, and insurance with affordable premiums for women.



What are the schemes for women’s empowerment in India?

Many schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Working Women Hostel, and Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Yojana address education, entrepreneurship, healthcare, safety, and skill development.


What is covered under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme?

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao focuses on girl child survival, education, and preventing gender discrimination, with initiatives like conditional cash transfers for families with daughters and promoting awareness against sex-selective abortion.


What services are offered under the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche scheme?

Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme provides financial assistance and infrastructure support for establishing creches near workplaces and rural areas, enabling working mothers to access safe childcare for their children.

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