• Only 20 percent of SMEs in India are led by women, a huge untapped potential for them to contribute to the Indian economy
• India’s first and only state-led incubator, WE Hub has a proven deep and wide body of work among this underserved segment
• Women entrepreneurs across India are set to benefit from Tide’s comprehensive financial admin and advisory services
In a move to power women-led small businesses in India, Telangana’s state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs, WE Hub has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tide, the UK’s leading SME-focused business financial platform. This year-long partnership is set to elevate Tide’s India Chapter of ‘Women in Business’ and enable aspiring women entrepreneurs across India to both start and grow their businesses and overcome administrative challenges.
The Women in Business programme is aimed at digitally transforming businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 regions. With this partnership, women entrepreneurs not just in Telangana, but pan-India will have access to Tide’s comprehensive financial admin and advisory services, facilitating their inclusion in the formal economy – ensuring timely and adequate access to financial services.
Only 20 percent of SMEs in India are led by women, according to the MSME ministry Annual Report 2021. Women MSMEs face a credit gap of $158 billion with 90 per cent relying on informal sources of financing. Lack of access to formal credit along with a high rejection rate by lending institutions is a key factor behind the low growth rate of women SMEs. This causes most women-led businesses to finance themselves as banks, leading to uncertainty among financial institutions about the business model and return on loans.
WE Hub CEO Deepthi Ravula said, “Access to funding and specially working capital has always been a key challenge for many women led start-ups & SMEs. Many studies have shown that financial institutions have low confidence in growth prospects of Women founders and start-ups. Another common challenge that women entrepreneurs face is with respect to access to mentors. Enabling access to credit is a fundamental intervention to overcome this challenge for entrepreneurs to start and scale in their entrepreneurial journey. Through our partnership with Tide, we plan to address this and create growth opportunities for women entrepreneurs.”
Being India’s first and only state-led incubator, WE Hub has deep market penetration and an impeccable body of work among women small business owners– a segment that has always been underserved. WE Hub and Tide aim to create an ecosystem to help women entrepreneurs have greater access to business and technical support, as well as mentoring, with increased opportunities for growth. The core focus areas will include counselling and educating women small business owners on Regulation and Compliance, Accounting and Financial Planning, Filing Tax Returns, Loan Application Support, Marketing and Sales, in addition to facilitating Peer Training and Networking. Additionally, women entrepreneurs in Telangana can also use a free co-working office space on Tide premises, when starting out.
Kumar Shekhar, VP – Member Operations, Tide India, said, “India is witnessing an exponential growth of women-led SMEs setting out on an entrepreneurial journey and contributing significantly to the country’s economy. We, at Tide, are proud to partner with WE Hub, and plan for the collaboration to catalyse the growth of women small business owners. Tide intends to upskill these businesswomen with the required technical and financial know-how and provide a credible platform to fulfil their business goals.”
Earlier this year, Tide committed to incubate 500,000 women-led small businesses in India by the end of 2027. To fuel this goal, Tide also created an internal Women in Business Mentor Panel that features in-house experts in Leadership, Marketing, Capital Investment, Hiring and Payroll, Taxation, and Legal, among others to provide one-on-one advice and host regular masterclasses, webinars, and AMA sessions for women entrepreneurs.