Muqbil Ahmar

Muqbil Ahmar writes on culture and poetry. He is a writer and theater activist, who wants to bring about harmony and amicability in the present day society. Music, poetry and good food are his passions.

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Empowering India’s Women Entrepreneurs Through Crowd-Funded Microfinance

A year back, 20 random social microinvestors came together and pooled in Rs 15,000 to support these women and thus created social impact.

Meet Rama, Yasmin and Jayshree—three women entrepreneurs from rural India. All of them were ambitious but were unable to make it by themselves due to financial problems. Rama and Yasmin wanted to start a sewing and weaving workshop to help her family with some extra income as well as aid other women of her village near Pusad, Maharashtra, but she needed 20,000 to make her dream come true.

But as they say where there is a will, there is a way. A year back, 20 random social microinvestors came together and pooled in Rs 15,000 to support these women and thus created social impact.

Thus, started their enterprise. The women have had flourishing business and they have already repaid two-thirds of their obligations to these social investors. These are just three of over 50,000 women from rural India who are now able to run businesses after availing microloans through an NGO Rang De, based in Bangalore.

“Funding a woman to run her business will not only make her financially independent, it will also ensure the entire family leads a dignified life,” says Aditya Raj Kapoor, former Bollywood filmmaker and actor, who went on a bike ride on for the noble cause.

The NGO is working to fight poverty by providing microloans to backward communities and bridge the gap between rural and urban India. The nonprofit organization has already has raised 55,000 loans totaling INR 54 crore and funded by over 12,000 individual social investors through crowd funding.

“I’m proud to serve India. I hope this will be a ride to remember. For me, biking is more than just a passion and being on the road for a cause makes the journey sweeter,” says avid biker Aditya, son of Bollywood actors Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali.

Aditya Raj Kapoor did the 1200 km, 6-day ride (started March 30) from Mumbai to Pusad in Yavatmal district in the drought-hit Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

“We are thrilled to have Aditya join the #FightPoverty ride as its ambassador. He is keen to bring in investors who will help us raise Rs 4,00,000. The money raised can potentially fund about 85 women entrepreneurs,” says Smita Ram, Co-Founder and Managing Trustee, Rang De.

Along the way, Aditya also met members of Samagra Gram Vikas Sanstha (Sagras), a social development organisation founded in August 1998 with the support of the Ratan Tata Trust. Since February 2009, Sagras has helped raise capital for over 8,000 women in the Vidarbha region.

“Women who take these loans are trained for a month in financial literacy and business planning so they can utilize the funds appropriately for their businesses,” says Sagras Founder Madhukar Bhangey. “Even after disbursing the money, we keep in touch with these women to ensure the money has been put to proper use.”

Such holistic focus on women development through rural partners has enabled a stellar 93% repayment rate over the years on collateral-free loans. Let's all wish all these women are able to realize their dreams to making it big in life.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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social investor women entrepreneurs microfinance

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