Government Schemes & Incentives for Women Entrepreneurs in Kerala & Karnataka


There has been a sharp rise in the number of women taking up entrepreneurial roles in the state of Kerala. Significantly, this growth in small sector is due to the government’s contribution around the 80’s. Various training and financing programs were initiated by the government of Kerala, leading the way for business opportunities opening up for women in Kerala, and it m ade sure that capital was provided too.

Here are some government schemes and initiatives for women entrepreneurs in the
state of Kerala.

> Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC)

Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) is the premier agency of the Government of Kerala that works for industrial and investment promotion in Kerala. Formed in 1961, KSIDC’s primary objective was to promote, facilitate and finance large and medium scale industries and catalyze the development of physical and social infrastructure required for industrial growth in the state.

KSIDC, with the objective of encouraging entrepreneurship among the women in the state, is offering the infrastructure facilities and financial assistance to women entrepreneurs, under the umbrella scheme Women Entrepreneurship-Mission (WE-Mission) and thereby handholding them through their entrepreneurial journey.

KSIDC has set up a Women Apparel Park under the name WE Space at INKEL Tower II, Angamaly. The facility is offered at subsidized rent rate to export-oriented units in the garment manufacture and allied industries, promoted by women entrepreneurs. Ventures promoted by women entrepreneurs are also offered financial assistance of upto Rs 25 lakhs (or 80% of the initial project cost, whichever is lower) under the WE Mission scheme for scaling up the business activities

> Kerala Start-up Mission

The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is the nodal agency of the government of Kerala – for promoting entrepreneurship in the state. It is also the implementing body for the Kerala Technology Startup Policy that supports the state’s startup ecosystem through various schemes and support programs. KSUM was founded in 2006, with the goal to promote technology-based entrepreneurship activities and to create the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support high-end technology-based start-up businesses.

KSUM acts as a launchpad for budding entrepreneurs, who wish to launch into the world of technology-based careers and help develop several innovative products and solutions. Over the past decade, KSUM has been able to build a vibrant startup ecosystem allowing technology entrepreneurs to pursue their goals and dreams by providing them complete support in the startup life cycle.

> Kerala State Women Development Corporation Limited(KSWDCL)

It was launched in 1988 with the basic objective of creating more economic and social opportunities especially for women in the state. The main focus of the corporation is empowerment of women. This corporation works with a vision of empowering women of the state through providing various employment opportunities. The corporation has already disbursed 256 cr among 28,918 beneficiaries. It has been conducting many job-oriented training and development activities for women and girls who belong to BPL families.

> Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities LTD

It is a Government of Kerala undertaking which comes under the Companies Act, 1956 on the 8th of November 2012. The only objective of the corporation is – to promote comprehensive development and welfare of the economically backward sections among the forward communities. In order to fulfil this objective the Kerala Government provides assistance to their members for improving their educational status, living conditions, all round development and livelihood of economically backward sections. People from marginalised sections are encouraged to pursue professional courses, Graduate and Post Graduate courses and Technical courses by providing educational loans and scholarships.

> Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy

The State Government has approved a Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Policy as per G.O.(M.S) 27/2015/SJD dated 16-04-2015. This policy aims to lay a basis for the harmonious co-existence of both sexes. It aims to do so within a framework of mutual respect, for the equal access of women and men to economic, social and political opportunities, resources, and benefits; and for a society where both women and men can participate in and benefit as equal partners in the development process of their communities, the State and the Country.


It is seen that women play a significant role in the growth story of Karnataka, which happens to be a leading industrialised state in the country. In fact, the increasing level of women entrepreneurship has led to a change in the demographic characteristics of business and economic growth of the country. Today, women-owned business enterprises are playing a prominent role in society inspiring others and generating more employment opportunities in the country. Many women entrepreneurs in Karnataka have started their businesses with new concepts, even against the pandemic that hit the world.

Here are some government schemes and initiatives for women entrepreneurs in the state of Karnataka.

> Mahila Samakhya Project (MSP)

The Karnataka Mahila Samakhya (KMS) has generated the Mahila Samakhya Programme (MSP), which was initiated by the union ministry of human resource development in the year 1987-89, aiming to translate the goals of the new educational policy of 1986, which was to play a positive and interventionist role in bringing equality among women. The MSP was launched as a pilot project in 10 districts of Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in 1989 with the assistance of Dutch government. The project was later extended to states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam. This society is now working with 60,000 women, mostly underprivileged, in about 1,900 villages in 12 of Karnataka’s 27 districts.

> Karnataka State Women Development Corporation (KSWDC)

This corporation is working for egalitarian status and empowerment of women. Considering the major number of women i.e. 40% of the entire women population in the country below poverty line, Government of Karnataka established Karnataka State Woman’s Development Corporation in the year 1987. Various schemes introduced by this corporation are – Administrative scheme, Woman training programme, State Resource Centre, Marketing Aid Scheme, Udyogini Scheme, Stree Shakti Scheme.

> Stree Shakti

It was launched and implemented throughout the State during the year 2000. The number of SGH’s has reached 1, 40,000 which includes the total number of women up to 20.731 lakhs and the overall state savings of all the members is Rs. 835.25 crore till the year 2010. A total of 1,24,008 groups have taken 208 bank loans to the extent of Rs.1125.59 crores and internal loan of Rs. 1906.00 crores for taking up various income generating activities. A total of Rs.56.00 lakhs has been paid as incentive to Anganawadi workers for monitoring Stree Shakti groups. The main objective is to empower women economically and socially by organizing them in self help groups.

> The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE)

Totally devoted to entrepreneurship development, this is the association of women entrepreneurs. AWAKE has touched the lives of thousands of women in Karnataka and has provided innumerable firstgeneration women entrepreneurs the inspiration and technical support to start their own work from small-scale Paapad-making to high-tech biotechnology. AWAKE – Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka is a not-for-profit, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Established in 1983 & based inBangalore, India, working towards ‘Empowerment of women through entrepreneurshipdevelopment to improve their economic condition’.

At the primary stage, Awake started with business counseling to prospective women entrepreneur but gradually, Awake also proceeded with different programs like Entrepreneur Development Training, Awareness Programs and Workshop. This created an impact on the women to become official members of Awake.

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