KATHMANDU, March 9: Women have outpaced men in 18 districts in terms of self-employment.
An analysis of borrowers of Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self Employment Fund from Fiscal Year 2011/12 till the first four months of the current fiscal year shows that the number of women running their own enterprises is higher than men in 18 districts.
Jhapa ranks first in terms of the number of women self-employed. Altogether, 575 women from Jhapa have borrowed from Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self Employment Fund to start their enterprises compared to 499 men. Morang is in the second position with 480 self-employed women having borrowed from the fund. Among the 18 districts, Morang also has the biggest gap between women and men self-employed who have borrowed from the fund, with 260 men taking out loans from the fund.
Youth interested to run their own enterprise can borrow up to Rs 200,000 from the fund through local cooperatives. Young entrepreneurs paying installments and interest regularly can also receive 60 percent interest reimbursed as part of interest subsidy. The loan matures in 42 months.
Officials of the fund attributed the rise in the number of women entrepreneurs to the policy of prioritizing cooperatives run by women. Lok Bahadur Khaka, the spokesperson for the fund, said concentration of women-fun cooperatives is high in districts where number of women entrepreneurs has increased significantly.
Animal husbandry, embroidery and small shops are the popular enterprises among women entrepreneurs, according to the fund.
But the number of women entrepreneurs is lower than men when the overall data is counted.
According to the fund, 13,329 men have borrowed from the fund to start their own enterprises compared to 10,189 women. The gap between number of men and women is higher in districts like Kavre, Nuwakot, Kailali, Parsa and Kanchanpur. Loan disbursement from the fund is yet to begin in Mustang and Manang.
The fund provides loans at 5 percent interest to cooperatives. These cooperatives can float loans to interest youths, charging interest rate of up to 10 percent.
Youth can also form a group can apply for loans of up to Rs 5 million. The fund, so far, has invested Rs 3.82 billion to help youths become self-employed. Information posted on the fund's website says 3,440 youths in 73 districts have benefited from the scheme so far.