Once known for its trade and commerce relations all across the globe, India has been gradually clawing its way back to the top. Almost every top multinational company has an Indian on its board, and in the past few years, India has raised a score of multi-billion dollar corporations. And what makes this transformation more impressive is the equal participation of women. Indian women entrepreneurs have built some of the most successful businesses in the past few years. Here are three such successful women entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves in their respective fields.
One of the richest self-made businesswomen in India, Falguni Nayar, is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a beauty and lifestyle brand. She started this company in 2012 with no previous entrepreneurial experience. An IIM Ahmedabad alumna, Falguni was associated with the Kotak Mahindra group for 19 years before she began pursuing her dream of building a business. She staked her family’s wealth to start her company, and after nine years, Nykaa has turned into a 14 billion dollar industry and has become the first woman-led Indian unicorn startup. With a net worth of more than 7 billion dollars, Falguni has been recognized as one of the most influential businesswomen in India. Her brand primarily deals with online cosmetic products and is quite popular among Indian women. The brand is slowly venturing into the men’s market as well. Currently, Nykaa is placed at 52 among the top 100 most valuable companies in India.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
One of the most famous names in Indian business circles and the face of successful women entrepreneurs in India, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, is the founder and executive chairperson of Biocon. This Bengaluru-based biotechnology company is presently the country’s largest biopharmaceutical firm. One of the wealthiest self-made women in the country, Kiran was inspired by her father, a brewmaster by profession. In 1978, she started Biocon from a leased garage with an initial investment of ten thousand. She had to face many obstacles initially, as enzyme-brewing was mainly a man’s profession back then. Biocon became the first Indian company to ship enzymes to the US and Europe within a year. From an enzyme manufacturing entity, she made Biocon a fully functional pharmaceutical firm. The company has sold over 3 billion doses of insulin which were made in its largest insulin factory in the Asian continent.
Besides her successful business career, Kiran is also known for her philanthropic work. The Mazumdar Shaw Foundation has contributed significantly to sectors like education, art, culture, and healthcare. It has also established a 1400-bed cancer center in Bengaluru. For her contribution to the country, Kiran was awarded the Padma Shree, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 1989 and Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor, in 2005. Apart from that, she has also been conferred several national and international awards.
A social-cause entrepreneur and the co-founder of Menstrupedia, a company that offers educational materials regarding menstruation in comic books, workshops, and animated videos, Aditi Gupta is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in India. Menstruation has always been a major taboo in the country, and due to largescale ignorance, there are many restrictions attached to it. Many women go through severe infections due to the unhygienic practices stemming from the same ignorance. In 2012, Aditi Gupta and her husband, Tuhin Paul, started Menstrupedia to spread awareness about menstrual health and hygiene, especially in the interior parts of the country. Aditi, who hails from the small town of Garhwa, faced such issues herself and saw the loopholes in the government-run campaigns which failed to spread awareness. They began explaining the problem with the medium of comics, using exciting characters and stories. Their efforts were met with positive responses from young girls and their parents. These comics are now available in more than 30 schools and 7 Indian languages. The Menstrupedia website was launched in 2012 with personal blogs where people shared their personal experiences and a question section where people could clear out their queries related to menstruation. Presently, it has more than 14 lakh users and has initiated several applause-worthy programs in collaboration with many prominent Indian celebrities.
With the ongoing shift in society, it is no surprise that women are making significant strides towards achieving equal status in fields that men earlier dominated. The ruthless and ultra-competitive world of multinational corporations, which was once considered a man’s territory, seems to be conquered by hard-working and free-thinking women who are no longer bogged down by their personal lives. Women entrepreneurs are living proof that women are as capable of running business empires as they are of running homes. By coming up with solutions that make the life of other women easy, they are pushing the envelope on women’s empowerment in India.
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