Entrepreneurism is certainly on the rise in our country at the moment. Various government incentives and a conducive start-up environment are only making it easier.  

It is not only men, but women are also joining the start-up and small business bandwagon. To help them through this initiative, various schemes are announced by the Government, banking and other financial institutions. 

In this post of ours, crafted especially for International Women's Day, we bring you a comprehensive list of loans and schemes of which every woman entrepreneur should be aware.  

  1. SBI Stree Shakti Package 

Run by the State Bank of India, the Stree Shakti Package is a unique scheme that aims at supporting entrepreneurship among women by providing certain concessions. Any enterprise that has more than 50% of its share capital owned by women can qualify for the Stree Shakti Package.  

Primary discounts and benefits under this scheme are:  

  • As applicable to individual categories, the margin will be reduced by 5%.
  • If the loan amount surpasses Rs. 2 lakhs, the interest rate will be reduced by 0.5%.
  • In the case of small sector firms, no security is required for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs.
  • A 5% margin reduction is granted as a special concession.
  1. Synd Mahila Shakti from Syndicate Bank 

Syndicate Bank has come up with this scheme to meet a variety of needs of a woman-led enterprise. In addition, the Central Bank of India runs a full-fledged Women Entrepreneur Cell catering to Women Entrepreneurs at all level of economic activity with emphasis on MSME, Agriculture, and Retail in sync with Government priorities. It can take any of the following forms 

  • Cash Credit: To meet working capital requirements for existing or new units.  
  • Term Loan: To set up a unit/business either manufacturing or service enterprise qualifying under Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  
  • To upgrade existing units by the purchase of machinery, equipment, computers, vehicles, etc. 

Eligibility Criteria 

The following categories of women are allowed to apply for this scheme: 

  • Women with technical or educational background, diploma, or a graduate degree having knowledge/experience in the line of activity or business 
  • Individuals/proprietorship concern/partnership concern with women in the lead having at least 50% of financial holding 
  • Private Ltd. companies with a woman as Managing Director/Director or in a key managerial position 

Quantum of Finance

Maximum of Rs. 5 crore 

Rate of Interest 

The rate of interest for loans up to Rs.10 lakhs is at the base rate of 10.25%, while for loans exceeding Rs.10 lakhs, a concession of 0.25% is being provided on the applicable interest rate. 


The borrower has to contribute a 15% margin on the loan, while the processing and documentation charges are fully waived on these loans. No collateral security and no guarantee are insisted for loans up to Rs.10 lakhs. 

  1. Dena Shakti Scheme from Dena Bank 

To increase the outreach of the scheme, the scheme has been extended for a wide range of activities/ sectors. The loan can be availed for various activities/ businesses as outlined below. 

  • Agriculture & allied activities 
  • Small Enterprises (Direct and Indirect Finance)  
  • Micro and small (manufacturing) enterprises including small road and water transport operators, small business professional and self-employed and all other service enterprises  
  • Retail Trade 
  • Micro Credit 
  • Education 
  • Housing 

Quantum of Finance 

  • The maximum ceiling limits follow the regulations put out by the RBI
  • Loans with an upper ceiling of Rs.20 lakhs under retail trade, education, and housing 
  • Rs. 50,000 for microcredit schemes  

Rate of Interest  

A concession/ rebate of 25 basis points in the rate of interest as applicable to existing activities is provided to the women beneficiaries, subject to certain conditions specified by the Bank.  

  1. Cent Kalyani by Central Bank of India 

Cent Kalyani is a special loan scheme run by the Central Bank of India to promote women entrepreneurship.  


  • This scheme is available for all women entrepreneurs above 18 years of age to both new and existing entrepreneurs for Medium and Small Enterprises, as defined by the MSME Act of 2006 
  • There is no ceiling of income for availing this assistance 
  • This scheme can be utilized as an Overdraft, Term Loan, Cash Credit Working Capital Facility or a Non-Fund Based Limit.  

Quantum of Finance allowed   

  • Up to Rs.100 lakhs 

Rate of Interest Charged  

  • For Loans Up to Rs.10 lakhs - MCLR + 0.25% 
  • For Loans above Rs 10 lakhs and up to Rs 100 Lakhs – MCLR + 0.5% 


A margin of 20% is required to be put in by the applicant. 


Not required as the advance is covered under CGTMSE 

  1. Punjab National Bank Schemes for Women 

The Punjab National Bank runs a host of schemes for the benefit of Women Entrepreneurs. They range from helping women in the agricultural sector to small scale enterprises to bigger manufacturing units. They are: 

  • PNB Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme 

This scheme aims at meeting the equity gap. The women entrepreneurs will be assisted in setting up new projects in the tiny/ small scale sector and rehabilitation of viable sick SSI units. Existing tiny and small-scale industrial units and service industries looking for expansion, modernization, technology upgradation, and diversification can also apply for assistance under this scheme, which will be considered on a case to case basis. 

  • Scheme For Financing Crèches 

To provide support services for women empowerment to working women in terms of crèches with necessary services by making cheaper and easier credit available for financing crèches. The women will be assisted in purchasing required infrastructure like basic equipment, utensils, stationers, growth monitoring equipment, fridge, cooler/fan, water filter, etc. for setting up crèches and for recurring expenditure for one month. 

  • PNB Kalyani Card Scheme 

This scheme looks at providing working capital credit for allied agricultural activities and other farm/non- farm activities either singly or in combination with other activities. The scheme does not hold eligibility criteria except that of age. Any woman over the age of 18 can apply for the scheme.  

Such women shall include individuals, farmers, landless labourers, agricultural labourers, tenant farmers, sharecroppers, lessee farmers, etc. The women desirous of undertaking non-farm sector activities should have aptitude/experience and capability for undertaking the activity chosen for self-employment. 

  • PNB Mahila Sashaktikaran Abhiyan 

Under this scheme, the following concessions will be admissible: 

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Scheme: The scheme envisages extension of credit by the bank and grant by the Govt. of India to NGOs. It is for the benefit of women either through SHGs or individuals for setting up of small & micro enterprises in non-farm sector. 

Support Training and Employment Programme for Women by Govt. of India: This Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development at the Centre and since 1986-87 as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’.  

The STEP Scheme aims to provide skills and competencies that give employability to women or enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country including rural women. The grant-in-aid under the Scheme is given to institutions/ organizations including NGOs.  

The assistance under the STEP scheme will be available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship. It includes a wide range of sectors including Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enabled services, Gems & Jewelry, Travel & Tourism, and Hospitality.   

Other Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs 

In addition, women can also apply for loans under the Prime Minister's Mudra Yojana or other Short Term Loans. They could also apply for Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs or Start-Ups that would enable women entrepreneurs to apply for Credit without providing collaterals. 

To add, various State Governments have also come up with schemes to benefit women entrepreneurs, which can be explored. We would like to end by advising you that while you spread your entrepreneurial wings and soar greater heights, you should always strive to remain credit healthy. 


  1. What are the popular credit schemes for women entrepreneurs?

The most popular credit schemes for women entrepreneurs are: 

  • SBI Stree Shakti Package
  • Synd Mahila Shakti from Syndicate Bank
  • Dena Shakti Scheme from Dena Bank
  • Punjab National Bank Schemes for Women
  1. What kind of credit facility is available under these schemes?

Women entrepreneurs can get cash credit or term loans to take care of their working capital needs or to acquire assets and equipment for their enterprise.

  1. Which activities are covered under the Dena Shakti Scheme from Dena Bank?

Dena Shakti Scheme from Dena Bank covers the following activities: 

  • Agriculture & allied activities 
  • Small Enterprises (Direct and Indirect Finance)  
  • Micro and small (manufacturing) enterprises including small road and water transport operators, small business professional and self-employed and all other service enterprises  
  • Retail Trade 
  • Micro Credit 
  • Education 
  • Housing
  1. Which are the top banks offering loans specially tailored for women business owners?

Women can get special loans in the following banks: 

  1. Central Bank of India
  2. SBI
  3. Bhartiya Mahila Bank
  4. PNB
  5. Bank of Baroda
  1. Can a housewife apply for a loan under the MUDRA Scheme?

Yes, any woman willing to set up her own enterprise can get a loan of up to Rs.10 lakhs under the MUDRA Scheme.