Women and youth entrepreneurs in rural India are accessing credit and financial literacy training through an initiative by India's Corporation Bank, in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat - thecommonwealth.org - and the NTR Foundation.

At present, 40 per cent of India's 1.2 billion population do not have a bank account.

They face challenges such as exploitation from moneylenders, travelling considerable distances to get to banks and difficulty arranging finance due to lack of knowledge about approaching the banks and preparing the necessary documents.

Through this project, which is focused on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), the NTR Foundation identifies promising entrepreneurs in rural communities, recommends them to the bank to receive loans and provides ongoing support for the women. India's Corporation Bank finances the project and underwrites the loans, while the Commonwealth Secretariat is the advisory partner offering finance and credit training for the entrepreneurs, strategic guidance and expertise to the bank in the area of microfinance.

This programme is providing a replicable model for the economic and social inclusion of women and youth in enterprise development that can be rolled out across other parts of India and the rest of the Commonwealth.

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