India's woman entrepreneurs are more likely to get loans than men

The number of women seeking business loans has tripled in the past five years
India's woman entrepreneurs are more likely to get loans than men
Photo: Punit Paranjpe (Reuters)
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Women are making a mark in India’s startup ecosystem, with about 15% of all such ventures launched by them. They seem to be increasingly overcoming one of the biggest hurdles to entrepreneurship: access to credit.

In 2022, the number of women borrowers in India grew to 63 million, accounting for 28% of the total, showed a report published by credit information firm TransUnion CIBIL yesterday (March 6). Their share in semi-rural and rural regions rose to 62%. In 2017-2022, the highest growth of woman borrowers was in West Bengal (22%), Rajasthan (21%), and Bihar (21%).

“With about 63 million credit active women borrowers as of December 2022, the growth rate of women borrowers (16%) has been more rapid than men (13%). This data emphasizes the huge potential for lenders to provide credit access to women across India, empowering them while driving financial inclusion,” the report said.

Woman entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking personal and consumer durable loans.

“Insights on the type of credit products availed by women reveal that consumption-led credit products like personal loans and consumer durable loans are gaining popularity among them. As more women borrowers enter the workforce and become financially independent, they are seeking credit opportunities to fulfil their life goals and aspirations,” it said.

This reflects female entrepreneurship, the report stated, adding that the number of women seeking business loans had tripled over the past five years.

Besides, government schemes like Nari Shakti (woman power), which provide soft loans cheaper than market rates, have helped them realize their entrepreneurial aspirations. By 2030, up to 30 million woman-owned enterprises are expected to create nearly 150 million jobs in India.

Women have a higher share in gold loans and microfinance

Up to 42% of India’s gold loans are availed by women, another report by credit bureau CRIF High Mark showed. Women are also borrowing more for education, accounting for 35% of the total disbursal. Almost all—99%—of the more than $16.5 billion of microfinance loans were availed of by women, too, The Print reported.

Importantly, woman borrowers have a better risk profile, the TransUnion CIBIL report has stated. In 2022, up to 57% of them had a higher credit score compared to 51% among men.