Women Entrepreneurship- 10 Famous Women Entrepreneurs In India
A lot of Indian women have been persuing entrepreneurship since last couple of years. Business being only for men, is a thing of the past. It’s amazing to see women striving in a field which has been previously dominated by males.
These women are a great inspiration to all those girls who are trying to find themselves and overcome those patriarchal boundaries.
According to the National Sample Survey, only 14% of the businesses in India are run by women entrepreneurs. The global disparity is evident in a report which says nearly 126 million women have their own business across the globe while Indian women linger around the 8 million mark; a paradoxical statement given that India is the second most populous nation in the world.
Let’s see who are these women entrepreneurs in India who are making us Indians proud.
Women entrepreneurs of India
I am pretty sure you have heard this name before.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is known as India’s wealthiest self-made women entrepreneur.
She is the executive chairperson and founder of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India (Asia’s largest bio pharmaceutical enterprise) and the former chairperson of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
As per Forbes, it is the first company to get approval from the USFDA. She has invested a lot to build deep R&D- Based biotech firm. In 2019 she held the title called Indian’s 54th richest person and world’s 65th powerful woman.
She is a highly qualified person with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Bangalore University and Melbourne University respectively.
Kumar began her fashion business in Kolkata, using two small tables and hand-block printing techniques. Beginning with bridal wear and party clothes in the 1960s and 70s, she eventually moved into the international market in the subsequent two decades.
Kumar’s company has also opened branches in Paris, London and New York. The London branch closed after three years, in 1999.
Her company’s annual turnover at the time was the highest of any Indian fashion outlet, estimated at around ₹10 billion.In 2002 she launched the “Label” line in partnership with her son Amrish.
Kumar discusses her career at length in a recent interview for the Creating Emerging Markets project at the Harvard Business School, beginning with how she first broke into the Paris and New York fashion houses and department stores in the 1970s.
Falguni Nayar, Indian born Founder of multi-brand beauty retailer Nykaa, is a living proof that with the right strategies, hardwork and support, all the women entrepreneurs of India can make impossible possible.
Nayar is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and was the former Managing Director at Kotak Mahindra Capital Company. She gave up a high paying job to pursue the dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
After graduating from IIM, she started her career as a management consultant. She spent around 19 years- a major chunk of her career- working at Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. When she left in 2012, she was the managing director and head of its institutional equities business.
She was happy in her job but not satisfied. It wasn’t fulfilling. The entrepreneur in her wanted to do something challenging. Something that has the potential to make a difference to the Indian society which gave birth to Nykaa.
As of now, Nykaa claims to have 200,000 products across 2000 brands and 70 stores across the country.
As of 2020, it was valued at ₹85 billion (US$1.1 billion) making it the first unicorn startup headed by a woman in India.
Vandana Luthra is an Indian businesswoman, philanthropy and chairperson of the beauty & Wellness sector skill council (B&WSSC). In 1989, she stared the company called VLCC as a beauty and slimming service centre.
Later, she added more services such as hair build, full-body laser, grooming and Dermat services. In April 2013, she awarded with Padma Shree award by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. Vandana Luthra has been running NGO called Khushii, which offers a scholarship for free education to those who are underprivileged and physically challenged.
Aditi Gupta is a social-cause entrepreneur and the co-founder of Menstrupedia that works on spreading awareness about menstruation. She started this venture along with her husband, Tuhin Paul which stemmed from her own experiences with this so-called taboo.
Menstruation was often a painful time she had to go through without any help to alleviate the pain. After finding out many women resonating with her on the same problem, she decided to create a website on menstruation, complete with illustrations and graphics, to educate women about periods. Menstrupedia has become extremely popular among girls and women seeking to gain awareness on the topic.
Aditi continues informing women on menstrual hygiene to eliminate certain misconceptions against this natural process. She aspires to create a future where menstruation is not seen as an evil but a welcoming change in a girl’s life. She is from Garhwal in Jharkhand. with a post-graduate degree from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
Shradha Sharma is the Founder and Chief Editor of YourStory. Shradha lives her life in stories. She believes every story is unique and every story matters.
Armed with degrees from St. Stephens College, Delhi and MICA, Ahmedabad, prior to founding YourStory Shradha worked with Times of India and CNBC TV18. In 2015, she was selected in the list of 500 LinkedIn Influencers across the world. Also in 2015 (March) Sharma received the L’Oreal Paris Femina Award for Online Influence.
Shradha was at the peak of her career while working with famous news media houses like the Times of India and CNBC in Mumbai. During that period, she interacted with many entrepreneurs and got to know about their success stories.
Her idea to feature these entrepreneurs was rejected by several channels. She figured out that there were millions of stories storming around but no platform to cover them.
She decided to create an online portal to provide a platform for featuring such stories. YourStory was launched in 2008 and has 70,000+ stories on its website today. Shradha leads a team of 100+ people who offer content in 11 local languages. The motive is to share the roller coaster of emotions an entrepreneur goes through. She was awarded with the L’Oreal Paris Femina Award and was included in the list of Worlds’ Top 500 LinkedIn Influencers. Shradha is one of the most successful and influential female entrepreneurs in India.
7. Sugandha -Founder of Docttocare
Sugandha is a young businesswoman and the founder of Docttocare. Docttocare is an online healthcare service provider that provides information to its users about the best doctors, clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic centers. Docttocare also offers virtual walkthroughs of the hospitals and their facilities.
Sugandha has worked with companies like Infosys, Oracle, and Google Maps before founding Docttocare. Sugandha is an electrical & communication engineer by qualification. She manages a team of 15 people who make Docttocare better everyday.
Changing the stereotypical thinking about women and motherhood, she made maternity her strongest pillar and has nurtured and mothered both- her son and the two brands. Working with a unique model of motherhood squad, she has created an amazing brand.
Her Sustainability mantra of co-existence with her brand Almitra Sustainables is all about ending plastic use in regular lifestyle choices. She is a leader with a motivated sense of motherhood which helps her to rejuvenate a sense of green lifestyle, conscious consumerism and natural parenting.
Ankita Gaba is a consultant, lecturer, entrepreneur, and a media strategist known for her multi-tasking prowess. She co-founded Social Samosa in 2013. Social Samosa is a knowledge repository for thoughts, ideas, and dialogues about the social media scene in India. She started her career in the public relations industry . Social Samosa offers a platform to people to become popular by allowing them to freely express their thoughts, ideas, and dialogues.
Born on 4 April 1985, she hails from Mumbai. Ankita Gaba won “The Social Media Entrepreneur of the Year Award” by Wat Awards in the year 2013. Her first venture was Superchooha, one of the first social media agencies in India.
A first generation entrepreneur, Florida heads Biozone Research Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a Biosciences start-up enterprise based out of Chennai. She received a Post Graduate honors degree in Plant Biology and qualified as a Master of Philosophy in Plant Genetics from the University of Madras.
Her doctoral research was in the field of Plant Molecular biology and Cancer targeted phytotherapy. She has nearly 25 years of industrial research and academic experience in the field of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.
Over the years, she has been invited to give lectures and create awareness in Biotechnology at various academic institutions like SRM University, Vels University, SSN College of engineering, VIT University, Loyola College, Alpha College, Sree Balaji Medical College, Saveetha Dental College, GRD College among others. Her pioneering efforts in educating and simplifying research in the field of Biotechnology have gained statewide recognition and acclaim.
She is one of the women entrepreneurs in India who has taken the path of science to build her entrepreneurial empire. Dr Florida Tilton started it when two students approached her for coaching after she quit her job at Hindustan College.
Under her, Biozone aims to deliver sustainable long term value for biotechnologists across the globe.