Thursday, 13 March 2014
Women entrepreneurship has been recognised as an important source of economic growth. Women entrepreneurs create new jobs for themselves and others and also provide society with different solutions to management, organisation and business problems. However, they still represent a minority of all entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs often face gender-based barriers to starting and growing their businesses, like discriminatory property, matrimonial and inheritance laws and/or cultural practices; lack of access to formal finance mechanisms; limited mobility and access to information and networks, etc.
Women’s entrepreneurship can make a particularly strong contribution to the economic well-being of the family and communities, poverty reduction and women’s empowerment, thus contributing to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus, governments across the world as well as various developmental organizations are actively undertaking promotion of women entrepreneurs through various schemes, incentives and promotional measures.
Women entrepreneurs in the four southern states and Maharashtra account for over 50% of all women-led small-scale industrial units in India.
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.
List of Women Entrepreneurs,
Role of Women Entrepreneur,
Women Entrepreneurs in India,