Despite the rising numbers of incubators and funding resources in India, women entrepreneurs are still getting the short end of the stick. Why? Because there is still a severe lack of awareness about such incentives and outreach programmes.
So, for women business owners, the best way to find useful resources is to join a suitable network ecosystem, designed especially for women entrepreneurs (whether government-run or independent).
Here is a roundup on some of the best network ecosystems women entrepreneurs can access in India.
Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)
A joint initiative by Niti Aayog and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), WEP brings women-focused entrepreneurial initiatives, schemes, and programmes under a single platform.
This enabling platform for women is founded on three pillars: Iccha Shakti, Gyaan Shakti, and Karma Shakti; each representing different kinds of financial and moral support the scheme provides to women entrepreneurs.
Under the WEP scheme, you can avail of services like –
- Free credit ratings
- Assistance for making business loan applications
- Funding support
- Corporate partnerships
- Mentorship programmes
Moreover, any woman entrepreneur who has ideated/started/established a startup is eligible to register and leverage the benefits under the WEP scheme
The smallB.in initiative by SIDBI
SIDBI’s initiative smallB.in addresses different entrepreneurial needs by simplifying and providing essential information under a single platform. Women entrepreneurs can readily find a host of resources on business ideas, step-by-step guides on business planning, startup case uses, business checklists, special tips for SMEs, among others.
On the smallB.in platform, women entrepreneurs can access useful information, links, resources, and insights on the following –
- Primary steps involved in setting up a business in India
- Identifying and capitalising business using various finance sources
- Learning key business processes (Accounting, Taxation, Budgeting, etc.)
- How to access a collateral-free credit facility from a finance company
- Methods to draft a suitable business plan
- How to approach venture capitalists for funding
- Guidance on best practices to grow a business effectively
- Access relevant information on Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, Designs, etc
Women Entrepreneurs India (WEI)
Boasting a robust ecosystem of 30,000+ networks, WEI strives to educate, train, and motivate women in business across the country. For creating a comprehensive peer support network, women entrepreneurs are also encouraged to share resources, experiences, and best practices.
Moreover, the system extends support by hosting various training sessions and workshops, conducted by industry experts, to help women entrepreneurs grow professionally. WEI also raises awareness on the best business loan for women, digital marketing techniques, ways to overcome market pressures, to name a few.
Any budding or existing women entrepreneur can join WEI to receive support across the following:
- Improving online presence
- Finding suitable funding avenues
- Brand marketing
- Business counsel
Besides, the WEI membership is available to female entrepreneurs free of cost.
To sum up
Using the resources listed above, among many others, business women can learn, develop, and scale operations sustainably. They can readily receive funding support, explore market linkages, access information about business loan eligibility for government-run credit schemes, and whatnot.