10 September 2023

Microfinance options for rural entrepreneurs in India

Microfinance is a powerful tool that empowers rural entrepreneurs in India to start and grow their businesses. Let us explore the numerous microfinance options tailored for their needs.

These choices try to break down financial barriers, paving the way for economic growth and improving livelihoods in India’s rural communities.

What is microfinance?

Microfinance is the disbursement of small loans and financial services to individuals, particularly in rural areas, who lack access to traditional banking services.

These loans, which are smaller in size, help entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, allowing them to invest in equipment, inventory, and other items.

The goal is to create a domino effect, where the success of these small businesses eradicates poverty, increases employment, and brings economic stability to rural India.

Self-help groups

Self-help groups or SHGs are community-based organisations where rural entrepreneurs join hands to save and borrow money.

SHGs provide a platform for its members to support each other and gain access to microloans at reasonable interest rates.

These groups pave the way for financial discipline and mutual trust, making them a sought-after microfinance option for rural entrepreneurs.

NBFCs in microfinance

Non-banking financial companies or NBFCs are financial institutions, which offer microfinance to rural entrepreneurs.

They provide loans for various purposes, such as agriculture, livestock, and small businesses.

NBFCs are more flexible than traditional banks and often are perhaps the better option for individuals with limited financial resources.

RRBs and microfinance

Regional rural banks or RRBs are government-owned entities that cater specifically to rural areas.

They offer a litany of financial products, including microloans, to help rural entrepreneurs fulfil their business dreams.

RRBs play a major role in promoting financial inclusion in India’s remote areas.

MFIs and micro loans

Microfinance institutions or MFIs are specialised bodies that provide microloans to rural entrepreneurs.

They are aware of the unique challenges faced by rural individuals and tailor their services accordingly.

MFIs often have a strong presence in rural areas, making them accessible to the needy.

PMMY and MSME loans

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is an India government initiative, which aims to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by offering collateral-free loans.

It is done through three categories — Shishu, Kishore, and Tarun (according to age group, with the first being for the youngest and so on).

Rural entrepreneurs can also reap benefits from this scheme to secure funds for their businesses with minimal bureaucratic hurdles.

NABARD and small loans

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development or NABARD plays a crucial role in India’s rural growth.

It provides financial assistance and credit to various institutions that include banks and cooperatives. 

They, in turn, provide microfinance services to rural entrepreneurs. NABARD’s initiatives are pivotal in boosting agricultural and rural growth.

Joint liability group and loans

Joint liability group or JLG is another microfinance option. Here, a group of rural entrepreneurs comes together and applies for a loan.

These groups share the responsibility for repaying the loan and this gives rise to a sense of collective responsibility and ensures higher repayment rates.


From SHGs to government schemes like PMMY and support from institutions like NABARD, these financial tools are empowering rural individuals to transform their dreams into real businesses.

Hence, microfinance options for rural entrepreneurs in India are diverse and aid in unlocking economic prosperity.

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