Microfinance for female entrepreneurs in India
Creating employment is one of the primary objectives for ensuring economic development. Micro-finance, is not a new concept but is, till date, a powerful tool in the hands of the government to aid economic development. It can help the underprivileged become self-reliant and also face life with more confidence. This study highlights the opportunity based, food processing unit that can be set up by women with the requisite technical assistance from CFTRI at Someshwarapura village, on the outskirts of Mysore City, situated near the foothills of Chamundi Hills. The Bank managers and the residents were interviewed during the pilot study which is a part of the main study to identify the feasibility of the study. The study also shows that training sessions and awareness on microfinance and the effective utilization of various schemes for women, instituted by the government and development boards is not sufficient for ensuring women empowerment.
The study could help self-help groups/ NGO’s to identify appropriate, suitable schemes for the women entrepreneurs of Someshwarapura and assist in empowering these rural women. The study would also influence companies to help women and empower them through their CSR activities under Sec.135 of the amended Companies Act of 1956.
Key words: Women empowerment, women entrepreneurship, micro-finance.
The prime objectives of the Millennium Development goals are poverty eradication and gender equality. Entrepreneurship through micro-financing is therefore a powerful tool to help in achieving this prime objective. Entrepreneurship is the core of economic development which involves a multi-dimensional task requiring creativity. The status of women has undergone a sea change from a mere home maker to a dynamic multi-tasker who is ready to face the challenges of life , just like her male counterpart. Parents are also becoming aware of gender equality and look up to their daughters with the same view as their sons ( though still much has to be done to create gender equality , thought-out the country).#p#分页标题#e#
Women are an integral and also an inalienable part of society constituting nearly half of the total population. An all-round development and harmonious growth of the country can be made possible only when women are given their rightful place and position in society through the concept of gender equality. However, women are the most preponderant underprivileged segment of rural society and have long been bypassed in the process of empowerment. The concerted efforts of the government and various other agencies of bringing such women into the mainstream are definitely gaining momentum with the innovative strategy of Self-Help groups, NGO’s and other financial institutions, focusing on microfinance.
Microfinance relates to providing financial assistance to the underprivileged, unemployed and others from the lower strata of society. The main objective of microfinance is to give the underprivileged, the low-income individuals an opportunity to become independent and empowered through entrepreneurship activities. Micro financing is not a new concept. Small microcredit operations have existed since the mid-1700. Studies have shown that although most modern microfinance institutions operate in developing countries, the rate of payment default for loans is surprisingly low. In fact, more than 90% of loans are repaid.
The World Bank’s World Development Report 2012 suggests that productivity could increase by as much a 30% in some countries if discriminatory barriers against women were removed. Removing these barriers such as discriminatory property and inheritance laws, cultural practices, lack of access to formal financial institutions and time constraints due to family and household responsibilities, will help in creating greater opportunities for sustainable enterprises run by women. This inturn will contribute to women’s economic empowerment and general equality which together could assist in generating sustainable all round economic growth. Going through various literatures available on the subject, the following factors were identified as reasons for women taking up entrepreneurship:
Self identity and social status.
Education and qualification.
Support of family members
Role models to others.
Bright future of friends and relatives.
Need for additional income.
Freedom to take own decision and be independent
New challenges and opportunities for self fulfillment
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: 研究意义：
Presently with the modernization of activities and the invasion of technology into our lives, it is not difficult to highlight and promote cottage industry based on food processing in Someshwarapura as firstly; there is no lack of raw materials (vegetables) for the production purposes. Secondly the very famed and world renowed Central Food Technology Institute -CFTRI which is situated in Mysore, could be approached for required training needs and related technical assistance required for the production, preservation and packaging of the processed foods. Such an initiative would help the residents curtail their costs on transportation of their produce to the nearby markets and also limit the various other risks involved. Food processing can be very lucrative with proper planning and implementation. This pilot project was undertaken to identify the level of awareness among the women at Someshwarapura village about microfinance and entrepreneurship and study the feasibility of promoting food processing units as a cottage industry in that village. The result of the study would help in creating awareness and motivate the women of the village to make use of the various schemes available to them.#p#分页标题#e#
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY: 研究目标：
The study hopes to seek a solution for empowering women residing at Someshwarapura village through entrepreneurship. The study is therefore an attempt to identify ways in which awareness can be created along with confidence, in the minds of the rural women to become successful entrepreneurs. This was done by personally meeting several women who are residents of Someshwarapura village and eliciting their awareness levels and also their opinion on the matter.
The main objective of the study:
To identify level of awareness on Microfinance and women entrepreneurship schemes being promoted by the government at Someshwarapura.
To create awareness about the need for women empowerment.
To identify the most suited scheme for women entrepreneurs at Someshwarapura.
To highlight the activities that can be taken up by NGO’s , SHG’s and Companies as their CSR activity towards women empowerment at Someshwarapura.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:材料与方法：
The present study is exploratory in character. Exploratory research was used to gain familiarity with the research problem. The respondents (basically married women of Someshwarapura village) were briefed about the concept of entrepreneurship before interviewing them to collect their responses on the issue of women empowerment through entrepreneurship. From various literatures available, and through direct interactions with the selected respondents, the relevant concepts were identified for designing the interview schedule. The study has employed primary data collected through direct interview with the selected respondents using the Judgmental Sampling Method and the secondary data was collected from relevant journals, periodicals, research articles and websites on Women Entrepreneurship and Women Empowerment. Table-1 gives a brief outlay of the methodology adopted.
Table- 1. Showing the summary of Research Methodology adopted
Cross-sectional descriptive research design
Judgmental Random Sampling.
Married women, who were actively taking part in the farming activities and who were residing in Someshwarapura village , and with farming as their basic occupation.
Requested 30, Responded 25.
Through personal interviews.#p#分页标题#e#
The collected data was analyzed with a tabular analysis and through graphical discription. A survey was administered through direct interviews to 30 married women residents of Someshwarapura village which is a small village near the foot of the famous Chamundi Hills, on the outskirts of Mysore city, by directly interviewing them and collecting the required information. This provided the database for this study. Out of the 30 women who were approached only 25 of them responded positively to the study while the rest would not give their opinion. The respondents to the questionnaire are considered as representatives of the population. A survey research methodology is being used in this study to gather data to seek answers to the objectives pertaining to the opinion of the residents living in this village towards women empowerment through entrepreneurship.
Sampling in the study involves selecting respondents who are basically residents of Someshwarapura and are women who are actively taking part in the farming activities, using judgmental sampling method. Residents from this village are basically farmers and grow paddy and vegetables. The produce from their fields / farms are then transported to the city for sale. The simple percentage method was used for analyzing the outcome of the responses received from the respondent’s and represented through graphs.
As with any research study, this study too has limitations. The limitation stems from the fact that the survey was conducted in a short period and takes into account only one village (Someshwarapura). Out of the total women contacted during the study only a few were showing interest in the concept of entrepreneurship. The respondents were also inquisitive about the responses given by other respondents and based their feedback after discussions with their counterparts rather than giving their own opinion. Therefore responses could be biased.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 结果与讨论
The total sample size selected for the study was 25 married women who are residents of Someshwarapura. This village was selected for two major reasons. Firstly, the village is situated just 16 kms from the main city, Mysore and the major occupation of the residents is growing paddy and vegetables. Secondly, the occupation of the villagers looks suitable for instituting a Food processing Unit with the active technical participation of the world renowned CFTRI , which is situated in Mysore City. The graphical representations show the results of the responses received through direct interviews and the feasibility of opportunities for establishing a food processing unit in the village.
CHART-I Showing the distribution of respondents based on the type of cultivation
(Source: survey data)
Only those women who took active part in the farming activities and who were married were considered for the study. Therefore, all the 25 women who were interviewed were farmers, growing both paddy and vegetables and took active part in the farming activities. The respondents knew to read and write in kannada. 11 of the respondents had passed their SSLC , 10 of the respondents had passed PUC and 4 of the respondents had discontinued their graduate studies .
CHART-II Showing the Education level of respondents
(Source: survey data)
However, it was found during the study that they were not fully aware of the subsidies and the privileges being provided to women entrepreneurs by various financial institutions as well as the schemes being promoted by the government. Secondly when they were asked about entrepreneurship and their opinion on the subject, 70% of the respondents felt that only well educated women could become successful entrepreneurs.
The Bank manager of State Bank of Mysore, which is the only bank in the vicinity, was interviewed for the purpose in addition to meeting and discussion with a few self help groups in the village. The responses received from the bank manager shows that so far a feasibility study on the issue of food processing was not taken up till date and extended his full support . In the month of May a second set of discussion along with a programme to create awareness has been proposed by the authors.
CHART-III Showing Awareness level about entrepreneurship
(Source: survey data)
Women who were aware of Entrepreneurship, knew about the programme through their husband/ television channels/ Relatives but had no opportunity to have any direct interaction with women entrepreneurs. It was felt that the respondents felt a lot of insecurity amongst themselves (mainly because they were from a village), therefore building up their confidence was very much necessary before any awareness or training on entrepreneurship could be conducted at the village. However, it was positive to note that all the respondents were very keen and eager to know more about entrepreneurship and the opportunities available for women.
CHART-IV Showing opinion about support from their family towards entrepreneurship
(Source: survey data)
An indepth study on the various schemes shows that the Sthreeshakthi scheme is the most popular amongst the rural women followed by the Swashaya scheme. These schemes have become more popular due to the subsidies provided by the Government. These schemes have the option of repayment based on the convenience of the women entrepreneur and with whatever amount she can spare. The Swarnamaya scheme, Annapurna scheme, Udyogine scheme and the Grammena Kutera scheme were the other popular schemes available for women entrepreneurs. It is proposed that these schemes could be further analysed and evaluated for accurate suggestion of choice of scheme for this particular village.
The result of the study shows that there was awareness amongst the respondents regarding the concept of micro-finance but there has not been any initiative by any concerned authorities regarding providing information on specific schemes for empowering women through entrepreneurship.
CHART-V Showing awareness level of various schemes for women
Majority of the residents are farmers and by providing them with the requisite training and small term financial assistance, would definitely assist them in becoming independent and empowered.
Societal attitudes and social beliefs are the major hinderances for women to take up entrepreneurship. But when proper counseling is provided not only to the women but also the men in the family, positive changes can be observed. The invasion of internet and mainly cable television has to a great extent helped in broadening the outlook of the rural population. All the respondents were very keen on providing higher education for their children, and expressed their desire of seeing their children land into an ‘official’ job positions in future. Educating them on the benefits and the privileges of becoming an entrepreneur would definitely change their attitude of just seeking jobs to providing jobs.
The Corporate houses in and around Mysore could contribute through their CSR programme by way of assisting in marketing of these products, and also supporting the women entrepreneurs through training methods using advanced technology. Besides this, we as enlightened citizens have to make collective effort to ensure that these women are empowered through education. NGO’s and Self-Help groups can create awareness by organising lectures and videos of the benefits and opportunities for women entrepreneurs. If everybody puts an effort in this endeavour, it will definitely create a difference in the lives of the women who are less fortunate and help in sustainable development.