Unlock Business Success by Understanding Business Loan Eligibility

Understanding the eligibility for business loans is a vital part of the entrepreneurial journey. The path to entrepreneurship is often marked by ambition, innovation, and the necessity of financial support. For many business owners, obtaining a business loan is a crucial step toward achieving their goals. However, securing a business loan involves meeting the specific eligibility for business loans, and knowing these criteria is essential to navigate the lending landscape successfully.

Lenders consider especially strict business criteria for business loans, as the loan amounts are large and the risk is often quite high. Therefore, the loan underwriters follow a thorough process before approving business loans. Accordingly, it is useful to know the criteria they consider and the documents they expect to ensure a seamless business loan approval process;.

Eligibility Criteria for Business Loans

Let us delve into the essential aspects of eligibility for business loans and explore the factors that lenders consider when evaluating loan applications.

1. Credit Score

One of the primary factors that lenders scrutinise is your credit score. A healthy credit score demonstrates your creditworthiness and your ability to manage debt responsibly. Lenders typically look for a credit score above a certain threshold, which may vary depending on the lender and the type of loan.

2. Business Vintage

The age of your business matters. Lenders prefer businesses with a track record of operations. Startups may find it more challenging to secure loans, while established businesses with a history of profitability are often viewed more favourably.

3. Annual Revenue

Lenders assess your business’s financial health by examining your annual revenue or turnover. A higher annual revenue generally indicates a more stable and profitable business, making it easier to qualify for a loan.

4. Profitability

Lenders often prefer lending to businesses that are profitable. Profitability demonstrates your ability to generate income and repay the loan. Profitable businesses are considered lower risk by lenders.

5. Business Plan

A well-thought-out business plan is essential. It should outline your business goals, revenue projections, and how you intend to utilise the loan funds. A solid plan increases your chances of loan approval.

6. Collateral

Secured loans require collateral, such as assets or property, which can be seized by the lender in case of default. Having valuable collateral can improve your eligibility for secured business loans.

7. Debt-to-Income Ratio

Lenders evaluate your business’s debt-to-income ratio to ensure you can manage loan repayments. A lower ratio indicates better financial stability.

8. Legal Documentation

Proper legal documentation is crucial. You’ll need to provide business registration documents, financial statements, tax returns, and any other documents requested by the lender.

9. Personal Guarantees

In some cases, lenders may ask for personal guarantees, especially if your business is relatively new or lacks extensive assets. This means you’re personally responsible for repaying the loan if the business can’t.

10. Purpose of the Loan

Lenders may consider the purpose of the loan. Business loans are often categorised based on usage, such as working capital loans, equipment loans, or expansion loans. Ensuring that the loan’s purpose aligns with your business’s needs is important.

11. Interest Rates and Terms

Interest rates and loan terms vary among lenders. It’s essential to compare offers from different lenders to find the best terms and rates that suit your business’s financial capacity.

Business Loan Documentation

Be prepared with the following documents during your business loan application. You may not need all of them, but it always better to have them than not:

  • Business registration documents, such as certificate of incorporation, partnership deed, or sole proprietorship registration.
  • Proof of business registration, such as a financial statements:
  • Income Tax Returns (ITR) filed for the past 2-3 years
  • Bank statements for both personal and business accounts, typically covering the last six to twelve months.
  • Company credit report and owner’s CIBIL scores
  • Collateral documents, such as property deeds or asset valuations.
  • Duly filled loan application form:
  • Proposed business plan

Business Loans in India

Here’s  list of some of the most popular business loan providers in India, and their respective business loan eligibility criteria,as of August, 2023:

Lender Eligibility Requirements for Applicant Businesses
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
RBI-registered, operating for past 5 years, stable sales and cash profits for past 3 years.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
NPAs should not exceed 5% of outstanding debt, Capital Adequacy Ratio (CRAR) of 15%
State Bank of India (SBI)
Business should have been active at least 3 years in the same locality/area.
Age of business loan applicant/s should be between 21-65 years. The minimum turnover should be Rs. 40 Lakhs.
Axis Bank
Age of business loan applicant/s should be between 18-75 years. 3 years business vintage required


Understanding the eligibility criteria for business loans is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners seeking financial support. Meeting these criteria enhances your chances of loan approval and can lead to more favourable loan terms. As you embark on your business journey, meticulous financial planning, a strong credit history, and a well-structured business plan will not only make you eligible for loans but also set the stage for your business’s growth and success. Remember, every successful business started with a vision and the right financial backing.

Amit Arora


I am a seasoned retail banker with over 21 years of global experience across business, risk and digital. In my last assignment as Global Head Digital Capabilities, I drove the largest change initiative in the bank to deliver the end-to-end digital program with over US$1 billion in planned investment. Prior to that, as COO for Group Retail Products & Digital, I implemented a risk management framework for retail banking across the group.
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