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From hardship to entrepreneurship – stories of how microfinace leads women empowerment in India

Amitava Chakrabarty
microfinance, microfinance companies, micro loans, women empowerment, women entrepreneurship, collateral-free loan, low-cost loan

Living with her husband and two children at Changsari in Guwahati, Assam, 38-year-old Ranu Kalita was battling for survival with meagre income of her husband. With lack of proper income, asset and financial literacy, they were not in position to approach a bank or formal institution to get loan for their weaving business to enhance earnings, till Satin Creditcare Network Limited (SCNL), a microfinance company, sanctioned Rs 30,000 a year back to enhance her income through weaving of cloths. By investing her loan amount, she got a chance to work towards a better life.

The collateral-free and low-cost nature of the micro loan now allows her to work independently and purchase yarn in bulk at affordable rates and even work towards improving her marketing channels or increase of sell quantity in her own place. Considering her growing business, her husband also give time to support her in this business. She is now financially secure and plans to further strengthen her business. There are many untold stories disguised by the rhythm of the weaving which can be heard in every village of Assam as Ranu Kalita. She is a proud entrepreneur now and is an inspiration to several women around her.

Beaming with success stories of weavers like Ranu, Satin Creditcare Network Limited said, We believe that with SCNL, we can abolish poverty by giving weavers a chance to stand on their feet.

Not only, Ranu, but SCNL financially empowered Manju Kumari of Husaina Bujurg, Bhagwanpur to set up her garment business and Parveen from Khokar colony, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan to start vegetable vending to sustain and then flourish.

I am happy with the services rendered by the company. Our lifestyle has improved and we are respected and loved by all. Today we dream of a larger business and a better life for our children, said a grateful Manju Kumari.

What makes microfinance companies stand out that they not only provide collateral-free and low-cost micro loans, but also help the borrowers by providing business training, investing in women s general education and literacy, providing guidance in balancing family and work responsibilities and by helping the budding women entrepreneurs in gathering experience in decision making, etc to enable them to grow their business, while banks and other formal institutions remain busy in sanctioning and recovering loans.

Apart from collateral free loans at doorstep, Satin Creditcare also imparts financial literacy to these women. This ensures that they know how to save, invest, and grow their money. Such education also makes these women competitive entrepreneurs. This literacy is imparted through localised workshops, and conversations during the weekly meetings with Satin’s clients and the field workforce, said Dev Verma, Chief Operating Officer, Satin Creditcare Network Limited.

Microfinance companies also promote women s ownership, control and participatory governance in their micro finance programmes, which not only help the women borrowers instill confidence to expand their businesses, but helps the companies curtail NPAs by ensuring that the loans given are utilised productively to generate income and are recoverable.