Women Entrepreneurship Platform and TransUnion CIBIL Partner to Launch SEHER Program to Empower Women Entrepreneurs

· SEHER will increase awareness among women entrepreneurs in India about finances and accessing and managing credit

· India has 63 million micro, small, and medium enterprises of which around 20%1 are women-owned, employing as many as 271 million people

· Estimates suggest that by accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, India could create more than 30 million new women-owned enterprises, potentially creating 150 to 170 million more jobs1

Bengaluru, July 5th, 2024: SEHER, a credit education program launched today by the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) and TransUnion CIBIL, will empower women entrepreneurs in India with financial literacy content and business skills, helping them to access the financial tools they need to drive further growth and create employment in the country’s economy.

The Women Entrepreneurship Program (WEP) is a public-private partnership platform incubated at Niti Aayog and aims to create an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in India. The program is part of WEP’s Financing Women Collaborative (FWC), a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at accelerating access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The SEHER program was launched by Ms. Anna Roy, Mission Director, Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) and Principal Economic Adviser, NITI Aayog in the presence of Mr. Jitendra Asati, Director (Financial Inclusion), Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance; Mr. Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association (IBA); Mr. Neeraj Nigam, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India (RBI); Ms. Mercy Epao, Joint Secretary, Ministry of MSME; and Mr. Rajesh Kumar, MD and CEO at TransUnion CIBIL.

Ms. Anna Roy, Mission Director, WEP, and Principal Economic Adviser, NITI Aayog, explained, “A lack of financial awareness is often cited as one of the key roadblocks for MSME development, which is a high priority segment for our country’s economic growth. To get timely and better access to finance for business growth, entrepreneurs must gain knowledge on all aspects of finance, including their CIBIL Rank and commercial credit report. WEP aims to empower women entrepreneurs by overcoming information asymmetry and providing support across different pillars such as entrepreneurship promotion, access to finance, market linkages, training and skills development, mentoring and networking, and access to business development services.”

Mr. Rajesh Kumar, MD and CEO, TransUnion CIBIL added: “TransUnion CIBIL is proud to partner with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform on this unique initiative aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs across socio-economic categories, age-groups and geographic locations. Business growth is directly dependent on credit access, credit awareness and financial literacy. We aim to propagate financial knowledge and improve the skills of women entrepreneurs so that they can manage their businesses successfully to achieve sustained growth. This program will also help support India’s USD 5 trillion economy goal as more and more women are empowered to start and grow their businesses profitably.”

Supporting and accelerating women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship

According to the Udyam Registration Portal (URP) 2 of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), India has 63 million micro, small, and medium enterprises of which 20.5% are women-owned, employing as many as 27 million people[1]. The Ministry also reported that rural areas have a slightly greater share of women-owned enterprises (22.24%) compared to urban areas (18.42%). Estimates suggest that by accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, India could create more than 30 million new women-owned enterprises, potentially creating 150 to 170 million more jobs – with women-owned businesses’ contribution to employment generated by URP-registered units at 18.73%.

TransUnion CIBIL data insights indicate that demand for business loans4 by women has grown 3.9X in the last five years (FY 2019 – FY 2024). A marked 10% growth in the share of number of women borrowers holding a business loan was seen during this period. Of the 1.5 crore borrowers with a live business loan in March 2024, 38% were women. The portfolio balance for business loans by women borrowers grew at 35% CAGR during the same period (March 2019 to March 2024). Across other products such as agri-business loans, commercial vehicle, and commercial equipment loans, the share of women borrowers has remained constant at 28% (March 2019 to March 2024), as per the TransUnion CIBIL consumer bureau data.

As women-led businesses are growing across geographies, empowering them with quick, easy and cost-effective access to finance is paramount for the sustained growth of their businesses. With a focus on credit education, SEHER will offer women entrepreneurs access to personalized resources and tools, including financial literacy content. WEP and TransUnion CIBIL are committed to working together in promoting financial and credit awareness by educating women entrepreneurs across the country about the importance of building a good credit history and CIBIL score to avail easier and faster access to finance.

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