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India Needs a Massive Women Investment Fund More Than the US Given the growing number of women foraying into entrepreneurial ventures, India stands to benefit.

By Aashika Jain

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If reports in a US-based news and information company AXIOS Media are to be believed, Ivanka Trump, the daughter of US President is starting a new investment fund aimed at companies founded by women entrepreneurs around the globe.

It is reported that the World Bank has been approached for managing the fund and it will provide working and growth capital to small and medium sized enterprises.

The news comes as a pleasant one for the women entrepreneurship community, which worldwide needs a boost owing to more women aiming to start their entrepreneurial ventures and climbing the corporate ladder. Given the growing number of women foraying into entrepreneurial ventures, India stands to benefit.

However, there are a variety of reasons why women entrepreneurs in India find it difficult to get funding.

The gender bias that exists in the Indian society is a big challenge for women entrepreneurs. Prejudices such as fear of instability, low risk-bearing ability, prospective quick exits owing to maternity leaves and family priorities in a male-dominated society have been battled by female entrepreneurs for more than a decade in India.

In light of the proposed global entrepreneurship fund, Entrepreneur lists 4 initiatives by the government and private players that are helping women up their entrepreneurship game in India.

Entrepreneurship Development Programmes

Women entrepreneurs in the four southern states and Maharashtra account for over 50% of all women-led small-scale industrial units in India according to SIDBI, which has been implementing special schemes for women entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) to cater to the needs of potential women entrepreneurs, who may not have adequate educational background and skills are being steered by the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development organisations, various State Small Industries Development Corporations

The Office of DC (MSME) has also opened a women cell to provide coordination and assistance to women entrepreneurs facing specific problems, according to the SIDBI website.

SIDBI Mahila Udyam Nidhi

Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme under Small Industries Development Bank of India provides financial assistance up to INR 10 lakh to female entrepreneurs for setting up the new industrial venture in small scale sector.

Several other schemes of the government at the central and state level provide assistance for setting up training-cum-income generating activities for needy women to make them economically independent.

Government Bank Schemes

Various banks in India have their individual schemes to contribute to women entrepreneurship.

India's biggest bank State Bank of India offers loans to women at concessional rate of interest and to the tune of up to Rs 10 lakh any collateral security. A maximum loan amount of Rs 50 lakh can be availed under the Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana.

Punjab and Sind Bank provides loans to women entrepreneurs at low-interest rates for small scale as well as agricultural-based ventures. The bank has 5 key schemes including Mahila Samridhi Yojana, Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme, Scheme for financing crèches and Mahila Sashaktikaran Abhiyan.

Cent Kalyani by the Central Bank of India is a scheme that women get financial aid to start afresh assistance for starting a new venture. Dena Bank offers loans to women entrepreneurs at a concession of 0.25%. Akshaya Mahila Athik Sahay Yojna (AMASY) is a loan scheme by Bank of Baroda to help women focused on retail trade and SMEs.

Private Funds

The Saha Fund is a venture fund that promotes woman participation in entrepreneurship. It is backed by investors including former Infosys veteran TV Mohandas Pai, Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and former Accenture India chairman Avinash Vashistha.

SheEO, a Toronto-based female entrepreneur support organisation, backed by entrepreneur Vicki Saunders has announced its commitment to India in creating a powerful new ecosystem for growing women-led ventures that have a positive impact in the world.

Aashika Jain

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India

Journalist in the making since 2006! My fastest fingers have worked for India's business news channel CNBC-TV18, global news wire Thomson Reuters, the digital arm of India’s biggest newspaper The Economic Times and Entrepreneur India as the Digital Head. 
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