27 year old Dhanalakshmi lives in Mutharasankuppam with her husband Thanikachalam and their two sons. Her parents’ economic condition forced her to abandon her education after 8th standard and she started working as labor at a cashew factory. Her husband Thankachalam was not from a very economically sound background either and even though Dhanalakshmi continued to work at the cashew factory, it was difficult for them to make ends meet. This led them to start their own cashew processing enterprise.

Dhanalakshmi leveraged her jewelry to start a micro enterprise. The new business helped them increase their income level to a great extent, but she still had to borrow money to fund the procurement of raw cashews. Money lenders would charge rates as high as 36 per cent which prevented the business from growing further. To make matters worse a cyclone hit the village in 2011 which incurred heavy losses to the family. The roof of their house was destroyed and water logging caused the raw cashews to spoil.

The devastation caused by the cyclone led Dhanalakshmi’s business activities to come to a complete standstill. Her brother tried to help her resume the business but a high working capital and previous financial commitments prevented recovery. It became impossible for them to take loans, even from moneylenders.

Dhanalakshmi got involved with the Women Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises Programme (WLSME) by CARE around this time. This programme helped her build stronger financial links with banks which helped her approach the State Bank of India and start an account and apply for a loan. She named her company Anbarasan Cashews, registered it with the DIC and obtained a tax index number.
This helped the family acquire a loan of Rs. 7,00,000 (USD 11,000) from the SBI. This amount helped them procure 100 bags of raw cashews and restart their enterprise.
Dhanalakshmi confidently says, “I am creditworthy now. Though many people have not got the opportunity to enter the bank, we have succeeded in our own way. We thank the CARE project team for their effective guidance and help fulfilling all the procedural requirements for the mobilization support form a government approved bank and making us creditworthy.”

Dhanalakshmi is now confident and her involvement with the WLSME programme has benefited her greatly. Follow-up visits are being done to Dhanalakshmi’s SME and she is well informed about BFC’s services for further support and guidance. We are supporting her with the business development planning (BDP) process for future so she can plan her business activities and pay back the loan in time.