Women Entrepreneurship Platform Convene to Boost Finance Access for Women Entrepreneurs

WEP, incubated in NITI Aayog in 2018 as an aggregator platform, transitioned into a public-private partnership in 2022. WEP aims to strengthen India’s women entrepreneurship ecosystem for making women-led development a reality.

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Mumbai hosted the second convening of Financing Women Collaborative (FWC), an initiative of Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) to deliberate and address issues with relevant stakeholders towards accelerating access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The meeting was organized by WEP in partnership with TransUnion CIBIL (TU CIBIL) and MicroSave Consulting (MSC). The event was held at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, on 5th July 2024. Key dignitaries included senior officials from NITI Aayog, RBI, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of MSME, SIDBI, public-sector banks, private-sector financial institutions, CSOs/NGOs, and women entrepreneurs. It welcomed a diverse audience of government officials and private sector representatives working with women entrepreneurs.

WEP, incubated in NITI Aayog in 2018 as an aggregator platform, transitioned into a public-private partnership in 2022. WEP aims to strengthen India’s women entrepreneurship ecosystem for making women-led development a reality. It provides a forum for all ecosystem stakeholders across government, business, philanthropy, and civil society to collaborate, converge, and align their initiatives towards scalable, sustainable and effective programs, enabling a larger impact for women entrepreneurs. WEP has over 20 public and private sector partners collaborating to strengthen women entrepreneurs in India.

FWC, an initiative of WEP launched in September 2023, aims to enhance access to finance for women entrepreneurs in India. It is chaired by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and co-chaired by TU CIBIL, with MSC as its secretariat. FWC brings together the financial service sector and organizations working with women entrepreneurs to create a supportive financing ecosystem for women.

The FWC approach involves a) fostering collaboration and commitment to strengthening women’s access to finance, b) enhancing the credit readiness of women entrepreneurs through mentorship, capacity building, and resources, and c) amplifying and sharing research evidence and good practices to support women entrepreneurs.

The event featured an impressive line-up of speakers from NITI Aayog, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Ministry of Finance, MSME, SIDBI, State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of India, Gates Foundation, Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM), TU CIBIL, and MSC.

FWC is among the first initiatives exemplifying a true public-private partnership. Efforts to promote financial inclusion involve both demand and supply sides. While numerous initiatives have effectively tackled supply-side issues to a good extent, FWC’s initiatives will go a long way in addressing demand-side constraints.

~ Mr. Neeraj Nigam, Executive Director (ED), Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Relooking the financial inclusion agenda through a gender lens can accelerate India’s banking sector efforts towards women-led economic development. Any inclusive effort focusing on women improves conditions for children, households, and larger communities.

 ~ Mr. Jitendra Asati, Director (Financial Inclusion), Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, Government of India

The event included an engaging session exploring “Perspectives on encouraging banks to finance women beyond SHG groups” and a panel discussion titled “Accelerating women’s access to finance: Unlocking the potential of the women-led economy for achieving Vision 2047.”

As part of the workshop, Ms. Anna Roy, Mission Director, WEP and Principal Economic Adviser, NITI Aayog, launched several initiatives. She announced new collaborations to support women entrepreneurs by strengthening their access to finance. Key highlights included the announcement of a partnership between MAVIM and MSC under FWC to improve access to finance through alternate credit rating mechanisms and work with banks to offer more tailored products for women entrepreneurs in Maharashtra; MoU exchange between WEP and GroW Network founded by AfD, SIDBI, and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation; launch of the “Seher” program by TU CIBIL and launch of the Shine program in partnership with CreditEnable to strengthen the credit readiness of women-led enterprises. Additionally, SEWA Bank’s commitment to reaching out to more women entrepreneurs as a member of FWC was announced.

WEP2024 Women Entrepreneurship Platform