Small businesses are the backbone of economies worldwide, driving innovation, creating jobs, and fuelling growth. However, one of the most significant challenges faced by small business owners is securing adequate financing to start, sustain, and expand their operations. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the diverse landscape of small business financing, providing insights into various options, their advantages, considerations, and best practices. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur looking to launch your venture or a seasoned business owner seeking growth capital, this guide aims to empower you with the knowledge needed to explore the complex world of small sector business financing efficiently.

Funding Your Dreams: Financing Options for Indian Small Businesses




  • Banks
  • NBFCs
  • P2P lending
  • SIDBI Schemes


  • Udyam scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)
  • Stand-Up India
  • Startup India
  •  Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme
  • Angel Investors 
  • VC Funding
  • Crowd Funding
  • Bootstrapping
  • Friends and Family

Lets get into brief about the Various options mentioned above


BANKS: Banks are financial institutions that accept deposits from the public and use that money to offer loans, typically at a higher interest rate. They also provide other financial services like checking and savings accounts, money transfers, and investment products.


  • Public and private sector banks are a mainstay for business loans.
  • They offer MSME loans specifically designed for smaller players.
  • These can be term loans for that initial push, working capital loans to keep things flowing, or mudra loans - a government scheme offering subsidized rates.
  •  Generally, qualifying for bank loans involves a good credit history and a solid business plan.



Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are like financial supermarkets, offering similar loan products as banks.

The approval process might be quicker here, making them attractive to startups. However, interest rates might be higher than banks

Easier Access: NBFCs often have less stringent eligibility criteria compared to banks. This can be helpful for younger businesses or those with limited credit history.

Wider Range of Products: NBFCs offer a variety of loan products tailored to specific business needs. This includes working capital loans, term loans, and loans secured by property.

Faster Approvals: The application process for NBFC loans can be quicker compared to banks, which can be crucial for businesses needing funds promptly.

Flexibility: NBFCs might be more flexible with loan structures and repayment schedules to better suit your business cash flow.

Things to Consider:

Interest Rates: NBFC loan interest rates can be higher than those offered by banks. Carefully compare rates before making a decision.

Regulation: Not all NBFCs are created equal. Ensure they are registered with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure safe and reliable services.

Due Diligence: Research different NBFCs and compare loan terms, fees, and overall reputation before committing.



P2P lending is gaining traction in India as a financing option for small businesses.

Here's a breakdown of how it can benefit your venture and some key points to consider:

Faster Funding: Compared to traditional banks, P2P platforms can streamline the loan approval process, potentially getting funds in your hands quicker.

Flexible Requirements: P2P lenders might be more flexible with credit scores or collateral demands compared to banks. This can be helpful for young businesses without a long credit history.

Tailored Options: P2P platforms might offer loan structures with shorter terms or cater to specific needs like inventory purchases or marketing campaigns.



The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) offers a variety of schemes to support the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India.


Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) offers various loan schemes with features like:

  • Subsidized interest rates.
  • Relaxed repayment terms.
  • Focus on specific sectors or business activities (e.g., renewable energy, technology innovation).



ONDC is an open network for e-commerce in India, allowing buyers to discover sellers from any platform and promoting a level playing field for small businesses.

  • Revolutionizing E-commerce in India: The ONDC Network (focuses on the transformative aspect)
  • Breaking Down Barriers: ONDC Levels the Playing Field for E-commerce (highlights the creation of a fair environment)
  • Open Doors for Businesses: Unveiling the ONDC Network (emphasizes the opportunity for sellers)
  • Empowering Sellers, Transforming E-commerce: The ONDC Initiative (combines seller empowerment with e-commerce transformation)
  • India's Open Network for E-commerce: A Game-Changer for Businesses (positions ONDC as a significant development)




The Udyam scheme, formerly known as the Udyog Aadhaar registration, is a government initiative launched in 2020 to register Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India. It essentially replaced the prior registration process and offers a simplified online system for enrolling your business.

Benefits of Udyam Registration:

While registration isn't mandatory, there are several advantages to enrolling your MSME under the Udyam scheme:

  • Eligibility for Government Schemes: Udyam registration acts as a gateway to avail benefits offered by various government programs specifically designed to support MSMEs. These programs can include subsidized loans, tax exemptions, and participation in government tenders.
  • Priority Sector Lending: Registered MSMEs often receive preferential treatment from banks when applying for loans. This can translate to easier loan approvals and potentially lower interest rates.
  • Enhanced Credibility: A Udyam certificate serves as official recognition from the government, potentially boosting your business credibility and fostering trust with potential customers and partners.
  • Access to Online Marketplace: The Udyam registration portal integrates with an online marketplace platform, allowing you to showcase your products and services to a wider audience.


The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is a flagship scheme launched by the Government of India to provide affordable loans to non-corporate, non-farm micro and small enterprises (MSMEs).


  • Designed for non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.
  • Offers loans up to ₹10 lakhs categorized as:
    • Shishu (up to ₹50,000) - ideal for starting small ventures.
    • Kishore (₹50,001 to ₹5 lakh) - suitable for expanding existing businesses.
    • Tarun (₹5 lakh to ₹10 lakh) - caters to established businesses needing larger capital.



The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) is a program designed to make it easier for specific borrower segments, typically considered higher risk by traditional lenders, to access credit.

Procedure to Avail a CGS Loan:

While the CGS doesn't directly provide loans, it facilitates the process through partner lenders. Here's a general procedure:

Identify Eligibility:

Research the CGS scheme best suited for your needs (CGTMSE, CGSS, etc.)

Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria (e.g., business type, loan amount). You can find these details on the websites of the respective CGS programs or the nodal agency (SIDBI for CGTMSE).

Locate Participating Lenders:

Look for banks or FIs that partner with the specific CGS program you're interested in.

The websites of CGS programs or nodal agencies might have a list of participating lenders.

You can also contact your preferred bank or FI to inquire about their participation in CGS programs.

Apply for the Loan:

The chosen lender will handle the loan application process.

  • They will guide you through the paperwork, including:
  • Loan application form
  • Business plan
  • Financial statements
  • KYC documents
  • Any additional documents specific to the CGS program (e.g., CGSS registration certificate)

Loan Approval & Guarantee:

The lender will assess your loan application based on their criteria and CGS program guidelines.

If approved, the lender will submit your application for CGS guarantee coverage.

Upon approval from the CGS agency, the loan will be disbursed.




The Indian startup ecosystem has boomed in recent years, and angel investors and VC funding have played a crucial role in this growth. Here's a breakdown of how these funding options work in the Indian context:


  • Importance: Angel investors have been a critical source of seed and early-stage capital for Indian startups. They often fill the gap between bootstrapping and securing VC funding.
  • Who they are: Prominent Indian angel investors include industry veterans, successful entrepreneurs, and high net-worth individuals. Many invest through angel networks that provide deal flow, mentorship, and support. (Examples: Indian Angel Network, Mumbai Angels)
  • Investment style: Indian angels might be more flexible in their investment approach compared to their global counterparts. They may place a higher emphasis on the entrepreneur's passion and the potential of the idea alongside the business model.


  • Growth: VC funding in India has witnessed significant growth in recent years. Several Indian VC firms manage large funds and actively invest in promising startups across various sectors. (Examples: Sequoia Capital India, Kalaari Capital)
  • Focus: While high-growth potential remains a key factor, Indian VC firms might also consider factors like social impact and local market relevance when making investment decisions.

Stages: Similar to global trends, VC firms in India typically invest in later-stage startups with a proven product-market fit and a clear path to scalability



Crowdfunding is a type of funding by which business/individuals raise money from a large number of people, through online platforms. It allows individuals and organizations to bypass traditional gatekeepers like banks or venture capitalists and raise funds directly from the public

How it works: Project creators launch campaigns on crowdfunding platforms, outlining their project, funding goal, and how the funds will be used. Potential backers then browse these campaigns and contribute what they're comfortable with.


  • For creators: Raise funds without traditional channels, test market demand, build a community around their project.
  • For backers: Support innovative ideas, potentially get rewards for contributions, be a part of something bigger.

Types of crowdfunding:

  • Rewards-based: Backers receive a product, service, or experience in return for their contribution. (e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo)
  • Donation-based: Backers contribute without expecting anything in return. (e.g. GoFundMe)
  • Equity-based: Backers invest in exchange for ownership in a company. (This is a more regulated form with specific requirements.)

Procedure for crowdfunding

  • Pick a platform: Match your project (business, charity, etc.) to the platform's specialty (rewards, donations, etc.).
  • Craft a story: Explain your project, funding need, and use of funds with visuals and a realistic goal.
  • Offer rewards (optional): Motivate backers with tiered incentives (product samples, early access, etc.).
  • Promote heavily: Spread the word through social media, email, and relevant communities.
  • Manage and engage: Update your page, answer questions, and show appreciation.
  • Receive funds (minus fees): Once successful, the platform will transfer the funds to your account after processing.



Extracting from your Resources

Bootstrapping, or self-funding, involves using personal savings, credit cards, or revenue generated by the business to finance its operations. While bootstrapping offers autonomy and preserves equity, it can limit growth potential and expose personal finances to risk. This section explores the pros and cons of bootstrapping, along with practical tips for effectively managing limited resources and maximizing their impact on your business's growth trajectory.

Shark Tank India's popularity ignited a wave of similar reality shows in India. These include:

  • Indian Angels (JioCinema): Angel investors hear pitches from entrepreneurs.
  • Mission StartAb (Amazon Prime Video): An upcoming show focusing on entrepreneurship journeys.


Borrowing from family/friends for your small business can be an option in India, but read carefully.


 Potentially easier terms, faster access, and trusted support.


Strained relationships, unclear expectations, and limited funding.

Before borrowing:

 Be transparent, create a formal loan agreement, and prioritize R

 Consider alternatives:

 Government schemes, bank loans, or NBFCs.

 Weight the pros, cons, and explore options before deciding

Udyam Registration- Read More

Startup India registration - Read More