Top 5 most successful women entrepreneurs in India
Gone are those days when starting a business on a large scale, being self-employed or, reaching a leadership position in a corporate environment was nearly impossible for women. India’s women have come a long way from just being housewives to being an equal match for even the most powerful men in the corporate world. From leading global business giants to building some of India’s most innovative startups, women have proved themselves to be efficient almost everywhere one can think of.
However, the journey to success isn’t an easy one, especially in a country like India. Most women aren’t encouraged to think big, and their capability to lead or their abilities are doubted throughout their working career. Though, some women fought against all these odds and soared higher than anybody’s expectation of them. These wonder women inspirations to millions of women in India who dream of accomplishing the same. Though, the number of these success stories is nominal. But through these inspirational stories of struggle, challenges, and success, the startup ecosystem of Indian is improving steadily with support from the government. Let’s discuss five such inspirational stories of Indian women who dreamt big and persevered their way to success.
The chairmanship of one of the biggest media houses of the country, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd falls under the control of Indu Jain. They own The Times Group, and they’re best known for their daily newspapers The Times of India, The Economic Times, and the Times now news channel. She’s an inspiration and role model for thousands of women all around the world. Though she’s one of the wealthiest women entrepreneurs in the world, she had a humble beginning. She was born and brought up in a small town of Bijnor, Najirabad. Under her leadership, the Times Group has touched many new highs, and as of 2020, her estimated net worth is more than $2.6 Billion.
Besides being the chairperson of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, she’s widely known by many of her identities, such as – spiritualist, humanist, entrepreneur, an educationalist. Some of the major facilities provided by the Times Group under her leadership include – research foundation, community services for natural calamities, relief funds, etc.
She has gained a lot of recognition for her social works, her mantra for that has been ‘In life whatever step I take, every step is for nothing but giving people the touch of spirituality.’ The Government Of India awarded Mrs. Indu Jain the prestigious ‘Padma Bhushan’ in January 2016. Moreover, she has been the guiding force behind The Openness Forum, launched by the President of India in 2003.
Indra Nooyi is a business executive and best known as the former CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi has been listed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She was consistently ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015 and on the Forbes list of 2017. She currently serves as one of the board members of Amazon and the International Cricket Council (ICC). Nooyi holds an excellent academic background; she earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Madras Christian College in 1976 and pursued a Post Graduate Programme Diploma from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta two years later. After that, she was admitted to Yale School of Management and moved to the USA in 1980.
Having a robust academic background, she began her career working with top MNCs such as product manager at Johnson & Johnson, a strategy consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and as the vice president and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning Motorola. In 1994, she joined PepsiCo as the senior vice president of corporate strategy and development. She guided a major restructuring for the company.
Moreover, she oversaw the significant deals with giants like – the acquisition of Tropicana Products in 1998 and the merger with Quaker Oats Co in 2001. Due to her excellent leadership capabilities and tremendous ability to deliver results for the company, she was named the CEO in 2006. She was the first woman to lead the soft-drink giant and among the only 11 female executives of Fortune 500 companies. She has set an example for all the women who dream of making it to the top of the corporate ladder.
Vandana Luthra is an Indian and the founder of VLCC Health Care Ltd and the chairperson of the Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC), that is an initiative to provide training under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana scheme (PMKVY scheme). In 1989, Luthra started VLCC as a beauty and wellness service center in New Delhi. Toda, VLCC, has perhaps the largest operating beauty and wellness services industry in India. She has been featured in Fortune’s list of ’50 Most Powerful Women in Business in India’, consistently from 2011 to 2015.
Besides being a successful entrepreneur, she is an active philanthropist. She is the Vice-Chairperson of Khushi, which is an NGO aimed towards providing facilities to the underprivileged and physically challenged. Acknowledging her various philanthropic and social works, In April 2003, she was given the Padma Shree award by the President of India.
Falguni Nayar, the founder of Nykaa, is one of India’s leading biggest online fashion and lifestyle portals. Nayar has worked as a venture investor and merchant with Kotak Mahindra for 20 years. After years of service, she decided to follow her dreams; therefore, she quit her job and started her venture. Capitalizing on the scope of beauty products, she started Nykaa in 2012. Upon its arrival, it created a storm in the market of beauty products.
Today, it is one of the most favored brands among Indian women, with more than 850 brands to offer and the introduction of several physical stores. Nayar’s mantra for success has been “Think big but start small”. Over the years, the brand has received wide recognition both nationally and internationally and has bagged a number of titles such as – “Most powerful business “by Business Today and the Economic Times’ “woman Ahead” award. The company has partnered with Femina since 2014.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. She serves as the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited. Today, she is named among the wealthiest women entrepreneurs in India. Due to her outstanding contributions in science and chemistry, she has been awarded the Othmer Gold Medal. According to the 2019 Forbes list of most powerful women in the world, Shaw was ranked 65th. Moreover, she has been selected for the EY Entrepreneur of the year 2020.
Today, she’s among the most well-known entrepreneurs in the world, but her journey was not an easy one. She faced severe challenges during her initial days in getting employers, getting funding, and various social norms regarding her leadership capabilities. Though, out of sheer will power and excellent capabilities as an entrepreneur, she built the empire of her dreams. As per qualifications, she did her bachelor’s from Bangalore University in Zoology and later studied at Melbourne University in the fields of malting and brewing.
Hence, we can conclude that these exceptional women have proved that their initiatives and ventures are more than revenue and profits. Some of these women have spent years working in the corporate industry, still they chose to pursue their dreams despite all obstacles. Their stories of struggle to joining the hall of fame make them the role models that India should learn from. The achievements of women entrepreneurs in India and their story of perseverance through the difficult phases of their lives inspire millions of Indian women; it encourages them to dream beyond the boundaries, follow their passion, and embark on their journeys.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is the first woman entrepreneur in India?
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, she’s the founder of Biocon India. She initially started her business out of the garage of her rented house in Bangalore. It was a joint venture which she started with limited resources, employees, and lack of funding, and various other challenges.
Who is the powerful women in India?
According to Fortune India’s list of Most Powerful Women of India in 2019, Zia Mody is ranked first. She is a corporate lawyer, and know for her negotiation skills. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw ranks second in that list
Who is the first women CEO in India?
Indra Nooyi is the first woman CEO in India according to Wikipedia. She is best known for her position as the CEO of PepsiCo.
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