India has been witnessing a surge in the number of women entrepreneurs in recent years, and these women are breaking barriers and making their mark in various industries. From technology to fashion, education to healthcare, women entrepreneurs are leading the way with innovative ideas and determination to succeed. In this article, we will highlight 10 inspiring women entrepreneurs in India who are making a difference in their respective fields and paving the way for future generations of female entrepreneurs. Their stories are not only motivational but also show how grit, perseverance, and a never-give-up attitude can help overcome challenges and achieve success.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – Founder of Biocon Limited
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur and businesswoman who is best known as the founder and chairperson of Biocon Limited, one of India’s leading biotechnology companies. She was born on March 23, 1953, in Bangalore, India.
Mazumdar-Shaw completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Bangalore University in 1973. She then went on to pursue a post-graduate degree in Malting and Brewing from the Ballarat College, Melbourne University in Australia. After completing her studies, she worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries in Melbourne, Australia.
In 1978, Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon Limited with a capital of just Rs. 10,000 (approximately USD 140 at the time). The company started as a small-scale industrial enzymes manufacturer and later moved into the biopharmaceuticals space. Today, Biocon is a publicly listed company with a market capitalization of over USD 10 billion and is considered to be one of the most successful biotech companies in India.
Under Mazumdar-Shaw’s leadership, Biocon has become a leading producer of biosimilars and other biopharmaceutical products. In 2004, Biocon became the first Indian company to receive approval from the US FDA for one of its biologic products.
Mazumdar-Shaw has been widely recognized for her contributions to the biotech industry. She has been awarded numerous accolades, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, two of India’s highest civilian honors. She has also been named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and has been ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes.
Apart from her business pursuits, Mazumdar-Shaw is also involved in various philanthropic activities through the Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Foundation, which supports medical research and provides healthcare services to the underprivileged. She is also a member of various advisory boards and councils, including the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry and the US-India CEO Forum.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a true pioneer in the Indian biotech industry and an inspiring figure for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders around the world.
Falguni Nayar – Founder of Nykaa
Falguni Nayar is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, an Indian e-commerce platform for beauty and wellness products. She has revolutionized the beauty industry in India by providing a one-stop-shop for all beauty needs, ranging from makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrances.
Before starting Nykaa, Falguni Nayar had a successful career spanning 25 years in the corporate world, including working as the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, a leading investment bank in India. However, her passion for beauty and wellness led her to start Nykaa in 2012, with the aim of making quality beauty products accessible to everyone.
Under Falguni’s leadership, Nykaa has grown from a small start-up to a multi-million-dollar business, with a presence in over 70 cities in India. The company’s success can be attributed to its innovative marketing strategies, including collaborations with popular beauty influencers and launching its own range of affordable and high-quality beauty products.
In 2018, Falguni Nayar took Nykaa public, making it one of the few female-led companies to be listed on the Indian stock exchange. Her leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have earned her several accolades, including being named one of Forbes India’s “W-Power Business Women” in 2019 and being listed on Fortune India’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” list in 2020.
Aside from her business ventures, Falguni Nayar is also actively involved in philanthropy, supporting causes related to education, healthcare, and women’s empowerment. She has established the Nykaa Foundation, which works towards providing education and healthcare to underprivileged women and children.
Falguni Nayar’s entrepreneurial journey and success with Nykaa serve as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, in India and around the world.
Richa Kar – Founder of Zivame
Richa Kar is the founder and CEO of Zivame, India’s leading online lingerie and intimate wear brand. Born in Jamshedpur, India, Richa completed her engineering degree from BITS Pilani in 2002 and then went on to work at several tech companies, including SAP and Spansion. In 2011, she founded Zivame, which has since become a major player in the Indian e-commerce market.
Zivame was founded with the goal of empowering women and helping them feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. The company’s mission is to provide high-quality, comfortable, and affordable lingerie to women across India. Through Zivame, Richa has worked to break down the stigma around lingerie and make it more accessible to women of all ages and backgrounds.
Under Richa’s leadership, Zivame has grown to become one of the most successful e-commerce companies in India. The company has raised over $50 million in funding, and its products are sold across India through its website, app, and retail stores. In addition, Zivame has also expanded into the activewear and swimwear markets, offering women a wide range of options for their intimate wear needs.
Richa’s success as an entrepreneur has not gone unnoticed. She has been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, CNBC, and The Economic Times, and was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs in Asia in 2016. She has also been recognized for her contributions to the Indian e-commerce industry, receiving the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2015 Entrepreneur India Awards.
Through her work with Zivame, Richa Kar has become a trailblazer in the Indian e-commerce industry and a champion for women’s empowerment. Her innovative approach to lingerie and intimate wear has helped to break down barriers and create a more inclusive and comfortable world for women.
Suchi Mukherjee – Founder of Limeroad
Suchi Mukherjee is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder of LimeRoad, a social e-commerce platform that focuses on lifestyle products for women. She was born in Bihar and grew up in West Bengal, India. Mukherjee received a degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and later went on to complete an MBA from the INSEAD business school in France.
Mukherjee started her career as a consultant at companies like McKinsey & Company and later moved on to work at eBay and Skype. Her experience working in technology and e-commerce inspired her to start LimeRoad in 2012. The platform allows users to create their own virtual scrapbooks of fashion and lifestyle products that they can share with friends and family. It also enables small businesses and independent sellers to reach a wider audience.
Under Mukherjee’s leadership, LimeRoad has grown to become one of India’s leading online fashion and lifestyle destinations. The company has raised over $100 million in funding from investors such as Tiger Global Management, Matrix Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. It has also won numerous awards for its innovative approach to social commerce and its contribution to the growth of India’s e-commerce industry.
Mukherjee has been recognized as one of India’s most influential women in business and technology. She was included in Fortune India’s list of Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2019 and was also named as one of the World’s Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes in 2018.
Mukherjee’s success in building LimeRoad has made her a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women, in India and beyond. Her commitment to empowering small businesses and creating a platform that connects consumers with unique and affordable products has earned her widespread respect and admiration.
Aditi Gupta – Founder of Menstrupedia
Aditi Gupta is an Indian entrepreneur and social activist who is best known as the founder of Menstrupedia, a digital platform that aims to educate people about menstruation and debunk the myths and taboos surrounding it. She was born in Garhwa, a small town in Jharkhand, India, in 1988.
Aditi Gupta’s journey towards entrepreneurship began in 2010 when she moved to Ahmedabad to pursue her post-graduate studies in design. During her stay in the city, she was shocked to witness the lack of awareness and information about menstruation among her female peers, especially in the rural areas. She also found that the prevailing myths and taboos surrounding menstruation were causing significant harm to women’s health and well-being.
To address this issue, Aditi, along with her husband Tuhin Paul, founded Menstrupedia in 2012. The platform aimed to create awareness about menstruation by providing accurate information through a comic book format that was easily accessible and relatable to people of all ages and backgrounds. The platform’s success led Aditi to quit her job and focus full-time on Menstrupedia.
Since then, Aditi Gupta has been instrumental in changing the narrative around menstruation in India. She has conducted several workshops and seminars across the country to spread awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. Her efforts have also received recognition from various international organizations such as the UN, BBC, and Forbes, among others.
In addition to her work with Menstrupedia, Aditi is also a TED speaker, a Women Deliver Young Leader, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community. She has also co-authored a book titled “The Dot that Went for a Walk,” which aims to inspire young girls to break gender stereotypes.
Aditi Gupta’s work with Menstrupedia has not only helped to destigmatize menstruation but has also empowered women across India to take control of their menstrual health. Her efforts have undoubtedly made a significant impact in the country’s menstrual health space, and she continues to be an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs and activists.
Upasana Taku – Co-founder of MobiKwik
Upasana Taku is an Indian entrepreneur and the co-founder of MobiKwik, a digital wallet and mobile payments company. She has been instrumental in driving the growth of MobiKwik and is a prominent figure in the Indian fintech industry.
Taku was born and raised in Jammu, India. She holds a degree in engineering from NIT Jalandhar and a master’s degree in management from Stanford University. After completing her education, she worked in Silicon Valley for several years before returning to India to start her own venture.
In 2009, Taku co-founded MobiKwik with Bipin Preet Singh. The company started as a simple online recharge platform but soon evolved into a full-fledged mobile wallet and digital payments service. Today, MobiKwik has over 120 million users and is accepted at over 3 million merchants across India.
Under Taku’s leadership, MobiKwik has raised over $150 million in funding and has expanded its services to include digital loans, insurance, and wealth management. The company has also been at the forefront of India’s push towards a cashless economy and has played a key role in enabling digital payments for millions of people.
Taku has been recognized for her contributions to the Indian startup ecosystem and has won several awards, including the NIT Alumni Global Excellence Award and the Entrepreneur India Award for Digital Financial Services. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
In addition to her work at MobiKwik, Taku is a strong advocate for women in technology and is actively involved in mentoring and supporting women entrepreneurs. She has also been a speaker at several industry events and has shared her insights on topics such as digital payments, entrepreneurship, and women in technology.
Shubhra Chadda – Co-founder of Chumbak
Shubhra Chadda is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder of Chumbak, a lifestyle brand that offers a range of fashion, home decor, and accessories inspired by Indian art and culture. She started the company in 2010 along with her husband Vivek Prabhakar, with an aim to create a brand that represents the vibrant and colorful culture of India.
Before starting Chumbak, Shubhra Chadda worked in the advertising industry for almost a decade. She gained experience in branding and marketing and realized the potential of the Indian market for unique and creative products. She saw a gap in the market for lifestyle products that could showcase the Indian culture in a contemporary way and decided to fill it with Chumbak.
Initially, the company started with a small kiosk in a Mumbai mall, selling fridge magnets with quirky Indian designs. However, due to the popularity of the products, the company soon expanded to other categories like apparel, home decor, and accessories. Today, Chumbak has over 150 stores across India, an e-commerce website, and a strong social media presence.
Shubhra Chadda is known for her creative and innovative approach to business. She believes in creating a brand that is unique and stands out in the cluttered market. She also values the importance of customer feedback and uses it to improve the brand’s offerings. Her focus on design and quality has helped Chumbak become a leading lifestyle brand in India.
Shubhra Chadda has won several awards for her contribution to entrepreneurship, including the Forbes 40 under 40 Asia list in 2016. She is also a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs and encourages them to follow their passion and create something unique.
In conclusion, Shubhra Chadda’s entrepreneurial journey with Chumbak is a testament to the power of creativity and innovation in business. Her success has not only created a brand that represents India’s vibrant culture but has also inspired many young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.
Divya Gokulnath – Co-founder of Byju’s
Divya Gokulnath is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder of Byju’s, one of the world’s leading edtech companies. She is a role model for women in business, having built a successful company in a male-dominated industry.
Divya was born and raised in Kerala, India. She completed her engineering degree from the University of Calicut and then pursued her MBA from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. After completing her MBA, she worked with various companies like Cisco Systems and Accenture in different roles.
In 2011, Divya met her future husband, Byju Raveendran, who was then a CAT tutor, and they decided to start an edtech company together. Byju’s started as an online coaching platform for CAT, GMAT, and other competitive exams, but eventually expanded to cover K-12 education. The company has since grown exponentially and is now valued at over $16 billion.
As the co-founder of Byju’s, Divya has played a vital role in the company’s success. She is responsible for the company’s branding and marketing efforts and has been instrumental in expanding the company’s reach across India and internationally. She has also been actively involved in developing the company’s educational content, ensuring that it is engaging and effective for students of all ages.
Divya is an inspiration to many women who aspire to be entrepreneurs. She has shown that with hard work, determination, and a strong vision, it is possible to build a successful company in a challenging industry. She has also been a vocal advocate for women’s empowerment and has spoken at various events on the need for gender diversity in business.
In addition to her work at Byju’s, Divya is involved in various philanthropic initiatives. She is a trustee of the Byju’s Foundation, which provides scholarships to underprivileged students in India, and is also a member of the board of trustees of the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.
Divya Gokulnath is a remarkable entrepreneur who has made a significant impact in the edtech industry. Her success story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, and demonstrates the power of innovation and hard work.
Vandana Luthra – Founder of VLCC Health Care Limited
Vandana Luthra is the founder of VLCC Health Care Limited, a leading wellness and beauty company based in India. She is a self-made entrepreneur who has dedicated her career to promoting a healthy lifestyle through holistic approaches.
Born in Delhi, India, in 1959, Vandana Luthra completed her education from Delhi Public School and received a degree in sociology from the University of Delhi. After her marriage, she started to gain weight, and this became the turning point in her life. She started researching and experimenting with different diets and exercise routines and eventually came up with a holistic weight management program. In 1989, she founded VLCC Health Care Limited, which stands for Vandana Luthra’s Curls and Curves.
Under Vandana’s leadership, VLCC has grown to become a leading wellness and beauty brand with a presence in over 11 countries. The company offers a wide range of services, including weight management, beauty treatments, fitness programs, and personal care products. It has also expanded into the education sector and offers courses in nutrition, beauty, and cosmetology.
Vandana Luthra has received numerous awards for her contributions to the wellness industry. She has been awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, and was named the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence in 2010. She has also been featured in Forbes Asia’s ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’ list and was included in the World Economic Forum’s ‘100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow’ list.
Apart from her business ventures, Vandana is actively involved in philanthropic work. She has set up the Vandana Luthra Foundation, which works towards providing education and healthcare to underprivileged children in India. She is also a member of the board of trustees of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
Vandana Luthra’s dedication to promoting a healthy lifestyle has made her an inspiration for many. Her entrepreneurial journey and her philanthropic efforts serve as an example of how a successful business can have a positive impact on society.
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal – Co-founder of ShopClues
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder of ShopClues, an e-commerce marketplace that caters to the needs of consumers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India. She is a dynamic leader and a role model for many young women who aspire to become entrepreneurs.
Aggarwal started her career in advertising, working with companies such as McCann Erickson and JWT. However, she soon realized that her true calling lay in entrepreneurship. In 2011, she co-founded ShopClues along with Sandeep Aggarwal and Sanjay Sethi, with the aim of creating an e-commerce platform that could cater to the needs of consumers in smaller cities and towns.
Under her leadership, ShopClues became one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in India, with a valuation of over $1.1 billion at its peak. The company was recognized as one of the top 5 unicorns in India and was also listed in the Forbes India 30 under 30 list in 2015.
Aggarwal’s leadership style is characterized by her strong emphasis on teamwork, innovation, and customer-centricity. She believes in empowering her employees and creating a culture of openness, where ideas are freely shared and discussed.
Aggarwal has been recognized for her contributions to the Indian e-commerce industry and has received numerous awards, including the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2017. She is also a member of various industry bodies and has served as the co-chair of the e-commerce committee of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
In addition to her work with ShopClues, Aggarwal is also involved in various social and philanthropic initiatives. She is a member of the board of trustees of Ashoka University and is also associated with several NGOs that work towards the empowerment of women and children.
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is a trailblazer in the Indian e-commerce industry and an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs.