60,000 of India?s Rural Women Entrepreneurs Get a Boost

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A partnership between International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Utkarsh Microfinance, a start-up based in Uttar Pradesh, India has helped 60, 000 women in rural parts of northern India have access to finance and increased credit. IFC’s $550 000 investment has helped Utkarsh expand access to financial services for women entrepreneurs in rural parts of India.

With IFC’s help, Utkarsh is instituting practices that avoid over-indebtedness, encourage better credit appraisal policies, and promote transparent pricing. Furthermore, IFC’s advisory services have helped establish a credit and risk-management system and strength monitoring.

Phool Pati Devi is one of nearly 60,000 women in rural parts of northern India who now have access to finance and increased credit, which means “progress” in the local language. Phool Pati took her first loan from Utkarsh, for a little over $200 that allowed her to open a small grocery store in her home leaving the cart aside. Her business has been brisk, allowing her to send her children to a better school and put $50 in the family savings account each month. Her next future investment would be a refrigerated unit for cold drinks.

These small loans make it possible for women borrowers to start or expand their businesses. And there’s room to grow: Utkarsh aims to reach 500,000 women over the next five years.

Source: Microfinance Focus (link opens in a new window)