Gone are the days when women were considered no match for all powerful men in this world. The new generation women across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship.
Women have come a long way from just being a homemaker. Narendra Modi’s start up friendly environment in the country has proved to be a blessing for female entrepreneurs and instrumental in fighting gender stereotyping in the business community.
Let’s meet 10 such Indian women entrepreneurs who can be easily termed as role models for every Indian female:
1. Indu Jain
Indu Jain belongs to the Sahu Jain family and is the current chairperson of India’s largest media group, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., which owns the Times of India and other large newspapers. She is widowed with two sons.
Indu Jain is known by many different identities such as that of a spiritualist, humanist, entrepreneur, an aficionado of culture and the arts, an educationalist but her most prominent and eminent role has been that of Chairman.
Ms Jain was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government Of India in January 2016 .She is also the guiding force behind The Oneness Forum, formally launched by the President of India in 2003. The Forum recently awarded the Mahatma-Mahavira Awards to outstanding individuals from all of walks of life and is involved in several activities that seek to bring, and highlight, a sense of Oneness in the world.
2. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
She is the founder Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited.
Born in Bangalore, Shaw completed her Bachelors in Zoology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University. She later did her post-graduation in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University.
She worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia.
She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company.
Today Biocon under Shaw’s leadership has established itself as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology.
Kiran is also a member of the board of governors of the prestigious Indian School of Business and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad.
Kiran received the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India
3. Indra Nooyi
The most well-known face amongst Indian women entrepreneurs -Indra Nooyi is the CFO and President of PepsiCo.
With a Masters Degree in Public Management from Yale University and Masters in Finance and Marketing from IIM, Kolkata, Nooyi held several senior positions at Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri before joining PepsiCo.
Born in Chennai, Indra did her Bachelor’s in Science from Madras Christian College in 1974 .
Beginning her career in India, Nooyi held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm Mettur Beardsell. Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001.She has been conferred with prestigious Padma Bhushan for her business achievements and being an inspiration to India’s corporate leadership.
Her strong acumen for business has helped the company garner as much as 30 billion dollars worth of crucial deals within the last couple of years.
4. Vandana Luthra
VLCC, a beauty and wellness giant has it’s presence in 11 countries across Asia, Africa and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the credit goes to Vandana Luthra. Initially, a homemaker, Vandana started her journey in 1989 when the first of her two daughters was only 3 years-old.
Born in Kolkata, West Bengal, this beauty expert got herself well versed with beauty, fitness, food and nutrition and skin care when she pursued higher education in Germany, UK and France, after completing a professional course from the Polytechnic for Women in New Delhi. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2013 for her contribution. and in 2015, she was listed as the 33rd most powerful woman in business in India by Fortune India.
5. Naina Lal Kidwai
Naina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi university and an MBA from Harvard Business school. In fact, Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School.
From being Head of Investment Banking at ANZ Grindlays during 1982-1994 to Vice Chairman JM Morgan Stanley, Naina Lal Kidwai is one of the most successful and famous Indian businesswomen of today.
She is currently Country Head and Group General Manager HSBC Group India. Apart from working at HSBC, Kidwai has also held other eminent positions such as that of Global Advisor, Harvard Business School, non-executive director at Nestle SA and as a member of Governing Board NCAER, Auditor General of India and several other positions.
Indian government conferred Padma Shri award on Naina for her contributions in the field of Trade and Industry.
6. Chanda Kochar
She is currently the MD & CEO of india’s largest private bank ICICI Bank.
Rajasthan born chanda got Masters Degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She received the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies as well as the J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy.
Chanda Kochhar is married to Deepak Kochhar, a wind energy entrepreneur and her Business schoolmate.
Under Kochhar’s leadership, ICICI Bank won the “Best Retail Bank in India” award in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and “Excellence in Retail Banking Award” in 2002; both awards were given by The Asian Banker. Kochhar personally was awarded “Retail Banker of the Year 2004 (Asia-Pacific region)” by the Asian Banker, “Business Woman of the Year 2005” by The Economic Times and “Rising Star Award” for Global Awards 2006 by Retail Banker International.
7. Ekta Kapoor
The woman who changed the face of Indian television – Love them or hate them, you just cannot ignore Balaji serials and Ekta Kapoor is the woman who single-handedly founded and made Balaji Telefilms the household name it is today. This baby-faced teenager, who once dreamed of marrying and settling down just like any other woman in India, is the creative head of Balaji Telefilms and counted as one of the top 10 women entrepreneurs of today. Her production house has many hit serials to its credit – ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’ and many others, making her the Queen Bee of the Indian soap opera scene.
She has won the Hall of Fame award at the 6th Indian Telly Awards during 2006 for her contribution to the Indian television industry. Known to be fiercely protective of her company and brand, Ekta is also very professional and has strong business acumen.
8. Suchi Mukherjee
Limeroad was started in 2012 by Suchi along with Manish Saksena, Ankush Mehra and Prashant Malik. The company has raised a funding of $20 Million from Lightspeed venture partners, Matrix partners and Tiger Global.
Suchi post graduated from London School of Economics and graduated from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. In his life Suchi received many awards and recognition like K.C. Nag Economics Prize for best student in Economics, George K. George Memorial Scholarship for overall contribution, all at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, Scholarship & Fellowship, and Chadburn Scholarship for merit, both at Cambridge University and British Chevening Scholarship, at the London School of Economics.
Suchi was selected as 1 of 15 women worldwide ‘Rising Talents, high potential leaders under 40. Suchi is an ex-ebay, Skype and Gumtree.
9. Richa Kar
Richa is the founder of online lingerie store Zivame , she grew up in Jamshedpur and completed her engineering from BITS Pilani (2002) and after having worked briefly in the IT industry she acquired Masters’ degree from Narsee Monji Institute of Management Studies in 2007, and worked with a retailer and global technology company before starting Zivame.com.
Zivame is probably the first in the online lingerie space in India and has played a role in educating women across the country about intimate wear and shaping consumer behaviour.
10. Aditi Gupta
One the most common taboos is Menstruation, but with time, it is getting the attention that is needed for the society to accept the fact and talk openly about it. One such initiative has been taken by Aditi Gupta. In 2012, she co-founded Menstrupedia with Tuhin Paul, a crowdfunded initiative. The company provides a resourceful guide about menstruation which helps women to stay healthy and active during their menstruation.
Aditi is a post-graduate in New Media Design from National Institute of Design, and graduated in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering. Aditi first got the idea for Menstrupedia while doing her thesis on the very subject for her post graduation at NID (National Institute of Design).Aditi was born and brought up in Garhwa, a small town in Jharkhand.
Hats off to all of these women entrepreneurs!