5 Ways the Stand Up India Scheme Could Benefit Aspiring Women and SC/ST Entrepreneurs

The Stand Up India scheme, launched on April 5, ensures that women and SC/ST entrepreneurs have a fair chance at setting up their own businesses. The scheme facilitates loans from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore for these sectors of the population.

In January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Start-Up India scheme, which gave new entrepreneurs a chance at making it big. Under the scheme, entrepreneurs could get loans from banks to kick start their businesses. Now, a new scheme, launching on April 5, will shift the focus to SC/ST and women entrepreneurs, to promote inclusivity.

The Stand Up India scheme provides loans to entrepreneurs of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, as well as women. The loans range from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore. According to the government, these are sectors of the population that are often underprivileged or under-served. Both these sectors are upcoming, and fast. The scheme helps them out by facilitating loans for non-farm sector entrepreneurship.

Loans for Women Entrepreneurs

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Women entrepreneurs in India find it difficult to get funding for their startups. Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) published a global ranking that looked at how female entrepreneurs fare in the world. India was placed in the last five among the 30 countries that were analysed. It stated that about 73% women entrepreneurs failed to get funding from Venture Capitalists (VC). A study based in Karnataka found that about 90% women had only their own funding to rely on, while 68% found it tougher to get bank loans. All that is set to change once the Stand Up India scheme comes into action.

Refinancing Options

The scheme helps not just those who are in the initial stages of their entrepreneurial plans, but also those who have already set up their company but still fall under the startup category. Under the scheme, the government has opened refinancing options through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), at an initial amount of Rs 10,000 crore. Along with that, a corpus (principal amount) of Rs 5000 crore would be created, to ensure credit guarantee through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company. Along with the composite loan, they will also be provided with a debit card.

Support and Knowledge

A research done by YourStory in 2014 indicates that about 54% women have no idea what a startup should work like or how to work on problem solving. About 58% women need to be educated about entrepreneurial resources and techniques. However, provisions under the scheme also includes support for both women and SC/ST borrowers, all the way from pre-loan stage to operating stage. Besides familiarising them with bank guidelines and terminology, they will also know about registering online and how to use e-markets, and entrepreneurial practices. To bring together all the information related to the scheme, the government will be setting up a website for Stand Up India.

Substantial Reach for Maximum Benefit

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

While self-employed women working in the low-skill sector (such as manual labour or street vending) has increased to almost 1 crore between 2000 and 2010, the number of women in higher income entrepreneurship still remains low. To increase this number, the intention of the scheme is to get at least two entrepreneurial projects started in every bank branch in the country. The Stand Up India scheme is expected to benefit about 250,000 potential borrowers, according to its official statement.

Connect Centres Near Home

The number of SC/ST entrepreneurs is growing. For instance, according to The Hindu, there’s been an impressive rise in SC/ST entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh. The number of organisations set up by them went from 319 in 2004 to 2275 in 2012. To cater to the growing demand, Stand Up Connect Centres would be established at the offices of SIDBI and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). With country-wide presence of more than 15 regional offices and 84 branches accommodating more than 600 clusters, the reach of SIDBI is massive. The SIDBI would join hands with the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), among other institutions, to facilitate the loans.

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