Women's Empowerment

Our aim is to empower rural women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and access to capital and support to have more control over their personal and professional lives.

Rural Indian women are held back from growing their income by a lack of access to institutional banking services, opportunities for skill building and access to support networks. Moreover, they rarely have a say in how to spend their income.

We focus on nurturing and supporting micro-entrepreneurs. Our model starts with creating access to and control over finance and continues to develop programmes around the needs identified by women to support their growth.

To learn more about how our programmes make a difference read our Stories of Change.

Women's Bank

The Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank was set up in 1996. It is the first bank run by and for rural women in India.

Our aim is to

  1. Provide financing to women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses
  2. Represent rural women’s concerns at the national and international level for Banking and Financial Inclusion
  3. Create new and customised credit products and services specifically for rural women
  4. Provide insurance schemes and products
  5. Promote digital banking
  6. Provide doorstep banking services


90,000 women

have set up bank accounts.

$15 million

in deposits.

$25 million

in total business.


1st Pension Fund in partnership with the Unit Trust of India for rural women micro-entrepreneurs in India.

1st Cash Credit Product (supported by Edelgive Foundation) for rural women in weekly markets.


The 2017 Nari Shakti Award for Women’s Empowerment (Capacity Building and Entrepreneurship) by the World Trade Centre (Mumbai) and the All India Association of Industries (AIAI)

The 2015 ‘Best Bank Award’ by the Maharashtra Urban Cooperative Banks Federation.

The 2014 Best Eco-Tech Bank Award by the Indian Bank Association.

2006 Microfinance Process Excellence Award.


Business Schools

Our business schools provide training aimed at building practical and technical entrepreneurial skills that help women set up and expand their business. We also run mobile schools out of buses to offer courses to women in the remotest of areas. We have over a dozen different courses that range from workshops and short duration courses to a year-long Deshi MBA programme.

Our programmes

Financial and Digital Literacy

The basic financial literacy module introduces participants to the essentials of banking over a three hour workshop. Topics include how to open an account, the importance of savings, an introduction to insurance, pension and loans.

Entrepreneurship Development

This programme helps women set up their business and hone their entrepreneurial skills. Courses in this programme include agri-based business training, computer literacy, fashion design and several vocational courses.

Deshi MBA

This is a year-long intensive course that enables women micro-entrepreneurs to examine and strengthen their financial, planning, inventory, marketing and accounting systems. Participants attend workshops, visit successful businesses, attend market fairs and are supported by a mentor who guides them throughout the year.

Para-Vet Training

In the Mann region, goats are a crucial asset for farming communities. Women are in charge of rearing and managing the goats. The Goat Doctor Programme, in partnership with the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) provides training in goat farming, vaccinations, first aid and artificial insemination.

Women and Young Girls Programme

This programme focuses on the least educated and most vulnerable groups of girls and young women who live in rural Satara district. The programme combines life-skill and health workshops, financial literacy and livelihood trainings.



In 2013, Mann Deshi Foundation was awarded the Best Innovation Award by the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.

In 2019, Women in FinTech Award at PaisaBazaar Fintegrate Zone

In 2018, Chetna Gala Sinha, Co-Chair for Financial Inclusion, W20 Summit, Argentina

In 2018, Chetna Gala Sinha, Co-Chair, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland

In 2018, Savitribai Phule Shri Gaurav Award, All-India National Association

In 2017, Forbes India Leadership Award

In 2016, Godavari Gaurav Puraskar, Kusumagraj Pratisthan, Nashik

In 2014, Emerging Non-Profits ICICI Foundation, Dasra, and CNBC's Inclusive India Awards

In 2013, Best Innovation Award,National Rural Livelihoods Mission

In 2013, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year-India



4,80,000 women

have participated in our 16 Business School and 4 Chambers of Commerce programmes.

25% increase

in average annual incomes of our business school trainees during 2016-17.

67% of women

started earning an income.

40% of participants

started regularly saving.


In 2013, Mann Deshi Foundation was awarded the Best Innovation Award by the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.

Meet Manisha Dhupde

Thirty-one year old Manisha Dupde enrolled in the Business School Programme and started taking several courses from financial literacy to sewing, first aid for animals and goat and poultry rearing. Her regular attendance at the school gave her the push that she needed to become an entrepreneur.

Manisha started a dairy, poultry and goat rearing business. She now sells 70 litres of milk a day. She has become a Master trainer on goat farming and a state-level government trainer. Manisha also runs a successful pomegranate farm with her husband. Together, they earn Rs. 25,000 a month. As her income and exposure has grown, so has her self-confidence. She proudly talks of how she drives a tractor and is adept at installing electrical fittings, doing heavy manual work and repairing bore wells. She says that people now respect her in her community, and even ask her to repair their vehicles.

Click here to read about other many other inspiring women like Manisha.

Chambers of Commerce

Our Chambers of Commerce (COC) are dedicated to advocating for policy change to support women micro entrepreneurs and for helping women access new markets, network with their peers and improve their business practices.

We run

  1. A toll free helpline for women entrepreneurs
  2. Advisory services in finance, marketing, registration and legal matters
  3. Mentorship programmes
  4. Community organisation and networking opportunities
  5. Platform to learn about industry and financial best practices
  6. Policy inputs and advocacy to support the needs of women entrepreneurs



women have participated in our programmes.


women have called the toll-free number.


women were trained on the best practices in accounting.


women registered and started additional businesses.

IMPACT (F.Y. 17-18)

30% of women saw 35% increase in annual profit.

52% of women saw an increase in their assets.

35% expanded their business with access to new weekly/regional markets.

2,472 new jobs have been created by members who expanded their businesses.

Mann Deshi Mahotsav

In 2018, Mann Deshi had an exhibition in Mumbai entitled ‘Celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship’. Our entrepreneurs, farmers and artisans travelled from across Maharashtra to set up 89 stalls and showcase the local produce, traditions, crafts, dances, songs and foods of Mann taluka. Over 30,000 Mumbaikars attended and Rs.5 million worth of products were sold.

Every evening saw musical and dance performances. We even had our local team of young women wrestlers delight the audience with their skill and prowess.


In 2019, Chetna Sinha was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar by the President of India, India’s highest civilian award for achievements and contributions of individual women for women’s empowerment.

In 2018, Chetna Sinha served as Co-Chair for Financial Inclusion, W20 Summit, Argentina.

In 2018, Chetna Sinha served as Co-Chair at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland.

In 2018, Chetna Sinha was awarded the Savitribai Phule Shri Gaurav Award, All-India National Association.

In 2017, Chetna Sinha was awarded the Forbes India Leadership Award.

In 2016, Chetna Sinha received the Godavari Gaurav Puraskar by Kusumagraj Pratisthan, Nashik.

In 2013, Mann Deshi Foundation received the Best Innovation Award, National Rural Livelihoods Mission.


Community Radio

The Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini (Mann Deshi’s Community Radio) was started to share the incredible stories of women entrepreneurs and inspire many others to start businesses.

The channel aims to

  1. Highlight the achievements of women and local communities
  2. Provide information on government schemes and services for entrepreneurs and farming communities
  3. Share the culture and tradition of the region
  4. Entertain the community with songs, competitions, humour and stories
  5. Build awareness of Mann Deshi programmes


150,000 listeners

spread across 110 villages.

50 km

access to the channel.

New Mobile-based App


“I currently live in Boniwadi village. Even in this generation of gadgets and TV, people from my village still listen to Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini and look forward to the various programmes they broadcast. After listening to 90.4Mhz, my general knowledge has really increased. I’m constantly telling people to listen to this radio station as its content is very relevant and informative.”

Shubangi Virkar

“I run a cycle repair shop in the town of Mhaswad and during my work, I tune in to Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini. It has become a regular part of my routine. People from the neighboring shops often ask me to turn up the volume so everyone can listen to it. One of my favorite programmes on this radio channel is Malavarche shiwar (a programme that gives farming tips).”

Maruti Gonzari