Access to finance is a vital driver of growth for any economy, and when it comes to rural entrepreneurship in India, this is particularly true. For many rural entrepreneurs in India, financial access isn’t merely about transactions; it’s about aspirations and sustained livelihoods. Yet, the reality is stark: only a fraction of the massive $850 billion debt demand by MSMEs is addressed formally. With a mere 16% being financed through formal channels, entrepreneurs are left grappling with a double-edged sword—a staggering 38% per annum cost from informal lenders, twice as much as formal finance rates. 

The Dalberg report’s data points highlight the dire need for financial inclusion among rural entrepreneurs, especially women. For instance, a staggering 90% of women-owned MSMEs depend on informal finance, and 66% of women entrepreneurs don’t even possess bank accounts. These aren’t merely statistics; they are the barriers that stifle innovation and hamper growth, making our mission clear—to forge innovative pathways for financial access that catalyse rural entrepreneurship. 

Bridging the Financial Gap for Empowerment: Imagine what could be unleashed if the 90% of women entrepreneurs, who currently rely on informal channels, could tap into formal finance systems. Envision the entrepreneurial wave if the 66% of women entrepreneurs without bank accounts were integrated into the financial ecosystem, securing loans at fair interest rates instead of the exorbitant 38% per annum that informal lenders demand.

In confronting these challenges, we at GAME are working to ensure that access to finance is not the privilege of the few but the right of the many. We’re advocating for innovative financial solutions that empower rural entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses with confidence and support.

GAME’s Strategic Approach to Financial Inclusion

Our commitment to fostering mass entrepreneurship is reflected in our holistic approach to financial inclusion. We believe that a vibrant MSME sector is key to India’s economic prosperity, and we’re taking concrete steps to shape an enabling environment:

  • Policy Influence and Program Creation: GAME is at the forefront of advocating for new government schemes that enhance access to capital for MSMEs. Our advocacy focuses on women-led and youth-led enterprises, particularly in the burgeoning green sectors.
  • Empowering Last Mile Financial Institutions: We understand the critical role of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in bridging the credit divide. We’re working towards strengthening these institutions to facilitate low-cost capital and accelerate their growth.
  • Amplifying Government Financing Schemes: Our efforts go beyond creation to ensure effective adoption and amplification of government financing programs. By promoting a larger uptake, we aim to make these schemes more accessible to MSMEs across India.

These pillars of our strategy are designed to dismantle financial barriers and build a resilient support system for entrepreneurs.


NBFCs: Enabling Grassroots Financing

NBFCs are a lynchpin in our strategy to provide rural entrepreneurs with much-needed financial access. Their tailored services cater to a niche market, often bypassed by traditional banks. GAME’s NBFC Growth Accelerator Program (NGAP) aims to address the funding constraints faced by smaller Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in providing credit to rural entrepreneurs. Through a structured intervention program, NGAP provides mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to eligible NBFCs, enabling them to scale up and increase access to finance for rural MSMEs. Know more about the program and how to be a part of it at:



NRLM: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Empowerment comes with understanding, and that’s where the Women Entrepreneurship Financial Empowerment Program – National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) makes a significant impact. This initiative aims to provide financial literacy training, access to credit, and market linkages to women entrepreneurs in rural areas, empowering them to start and grow successful businesses. By directing financial support to women who are often the backbone of the rural economy, NRLM is rewriting their stories from dependence to independence. The deployment of Vitta Sakhis, or financial friends, is one such innovation, ensuring that financial literacy and support reach every woman entrepreneur in need.

Growtherator: Cultivating Business Success

Nurturing an enterprise requires more than just capital; it requires an ecosystem that accelerates growth. The Growtherator initiative embodies this by providing targeted support, mentorship, and access to capital, empowering rural entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and become drivers of economic growth in their communities. It’s an incubator for success, translating financial support into tangible business outcomes.

MSEM: Framing the Future of Entrepreneurship

GAME’s collaboration with state governments aims to create an enabling ecosystem for rural entrepreneurs to thrive. The government of Maharashtra, supported by GAME, has launched the Maharashtra State Entrepreneurship Mission (MSEM) to streamline regulatory processes, provide access to finance, and foster innovation, to catalyse entrepreneurship at the grassroots level and drive economic development across states. To learn more about MSEM, click here:

By fostering collaborations, we’re setting the stage for a movement that sees every entrepreneur as a vital thread in the fabric of India’s economic narrative.

Catalysing Change Across Borders

As GAME continues to champion the cause of rural entrepreneurs, our vision extends beyond current horizons toward a pan-India impact. We aim to invoke a transformation where every rural enterprise can access the financial tools they need to succeed. Our work is about creating a mosaic of opportunities where every entrepreneur is empowered to contribute to India’s growth story.

Join us on this journey to revolutionize rural entrepreneurship. Visit our Access to Finance page to learn more about our initiatives and how they are turning challenges into stepping stones for India’s rural changemakers.