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he has dreams. She has aspirations and ambitions. She is enterprising. A go-getter, set to create a world of her own. What she needs is the right support to fulfil her dreams. State Bank of India, the largest bank under the Reserve Bank of India, has recognised her need.

The Bank, apart from pioneering many socio-economic upliftment projects, champions the cause of women. To encourage and develop entrepreneurship among women, it has launched a Women Entrepreneurship Programme. State Bank of India recognises the need for women’s participation in economic and business activities. The Bank has devised several schemes for illiterate women as well as for professional women.

  • Stree Shakti Package: The Bank has a special scheme called the Stree Shakti Package for encouraging entrepreneurship among women. Under the scheme, finance is available at a concessionary rate of interest and reduced margins. Margins are reduced by 5 per cent and interest is reduced by 0.5 per cent in respect of loans above Rs. 2 lakhs.

  • Entrepreneur Scheme: Another initiative, called the Entrepreneur Scheme, provides assistance to technically qualified, trained and experienced women entrepreneurs to set up new viable industrial projects. This Loan Scheme provides assistance to technocrats, including those unable to meet the normal margin requirement under the Liberalised Scheme, to set up viable industrial projects. All the applicant requires is a degree/diploma in Engineering/Technology or a degree in Business/Industrial Management/CA/Cost Accountancy with adequate experience. A craftsman with adequate experience is also eligible. The amount of loan is limited to the project cost. The Bank gives assistance by way of term loans, working capital and equity funds to meet margin requirements. The Bank is quite flexible in terms of security and insurance, depending upon the merits of the application. It charges a low rate of interest and repayment can be made over a period of five to seven years.

  • Liberalised Scheme: Under the Liberalised Scheme for small-scale industries, entrepreneurs are eligible to get need-based credit for productive purposes. Comprehensive credit facilities for acquisition of fixed assets, working capital, bills facility, etc. are available under the scheme.

  • Small Business Finance: This scheme aims at creating self-employment opportunities in small business ventures. It is beneficial to a larger section of people with lower investment needs. Credit is offered on liberal terms to priority sectors like retail traders, professional/self-employed, business enterprises and transport operators.

  • Scheme for Professionals and Self-Employed: Women who are doctors, chartered accountants, cost accountants, lawyers, solicitors, management consultants, journalists and with other qualifications can avail themselves of finance under this scheme for self-employed professionals.

  • Business Enterprises: State Bank of India also gives loans to women who wish to set up business enterprises like restaurants and Xerox centres and computer centres.

  • Other Schemes: Credit facilities are also available to women entrepreneurs under various Central and State Government-sponsored poverty alleviation and self-employment schemes like Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana and the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY). Under the SGSY scheme, women are encouraged to form Self-Help Groups. Each Self-Help Group is eligible for a maximum subsidy of Rs. 1.25 lakhs.

The procedure is simple. All it needs is an application in the prescribed form to be submitted at the nearest branch of SBI handling the above schemes. In the case of illiterate or semi-literate women, all SBI’s branches have been instructed to render all the assistance necessary for filling the application forms for such applicants. Advisory services are also available at District Industries Centres to provide the necessary guidance for setting up industries and business enterprises.

Loans of up to Rs. 25,000 are sanctioned within 15 days of the submission of the applications with all the required particulars. Loans for higher amounts are sanctioned within eight to nine weeks. No collateral security is necessary for loans up to Rs. 5 lakhs in the case of advances to Small-Scale Sectors.

State Bank of India has seen a change in the economic climate for women entrepreneurs. The Bank has its own special training programme encouraging entrepreneurship. In Mumbai it has recognised the need for women to go in for business activities, especially the software business. In Patna it has helped remove gender inequality by making women economically independent. Says one grateful customer: “SBI is a big bank. I had several demands and it helped me fulfil my demands. It has made me start a business of my own, which is profitable. It is the best bank.”

The Bank is not averse to its social responsibilities. It has supplied computers and provided education to a school for blind women in Tiruchirapali. Here, women also run the charkha, make chalks, etc.

Whatever the dream project, State Bank of India offers the right support to Indian women entrepreneurs.

Courtesy: Rela Ghosh & D.K. Sharma
State Bank of India