India has been seeing an increasing number of women entrepreneurs in recent years. Women in India are breaking the glass ceiling and stepping out of traditional roles to make their mark in the entrepreneurial world. Be it from starting their businesses to running successful startups, they have been breaking barriers, fighting societal norms and achieving success in the Indian startup ecosystem. Let’s take a look at India’s top 10 women entrepreneurs who have been disrupting various industries and inspiring millions of others to follow their dreams.
Founder: Biocon Limited
Industry: Biopharmaceutical Company
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a prominent Indian entrepreneur and the founder of Biocon, a biotechnology company that specialises in producing affordable and innovative medicines. After working briefly as a brewer, she decided to start her own biotechnology business, which was an emerging field in India.
In 1978, she founded Biocon with a seed capital of just Rs.10,000 (about $140). She started by producing enzymes and went on to develop innovative drugs for cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Today, Biocon is a publicly traded company with a market capitalisation of over $10 billion.
In addition to her work at Biocon, Mazumdar-Shaw is a noted philanthropist and has donated generously to causes related to education, healthcare, and the environment. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to business, science, and society, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.
Industry: E-commerce, Cosmetics Products, and Beauty Products Online
Falguni Nayar is a prominent Indian entrepreneur and the founder of Nykaa, a popular e-commerce platform for beauty and wellness products. She was born in Mumbai, India, in 1963 and studied economics at the University of Mumbai before completing a post-graduate degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
She founded Nykaa in 2012 to create a one-stop shop for beauty and wellness products that offered a wide selection of high-quality brands at affordable prices. She also wanted to provide a personalised shopping experience for her customers, with expert advice and recommendations from beauty professionals.
Nayar’s success as an entrepreneur has earned her numerous accolades, including being named one of Forbes India’s “Women in Power” and “Asia’s Power Businesswomen.” She is also a noted philanthropist and has supported various charitable causes related to education, healthcare, and women’s empowerment.
Industry: Health and Personal Care Products
Vandana Luthra is a renowned Indian entrepreneur and the founder of VLCC Health Care Ltd, a leading wellness and beauty services company. She started VLCC Health Care Ltd in 1989 to provide high-quality beauty and wellness services to people in India. What started as a small beauty clinic in New Delhi soon became a nationwide wellness centre chain.
She has been a game-changer in India’s beauty and wellness industry, and her contribution to this field is widely recognised. Under Vandana Luthra’s leadership, VLCC Health Care Ltd has become a household name in India, offering various services, including weight loss and management, skin and hair care, beauty treatments, and more.
Today, the company has over 300 wellness centres spread across 16 countries, making it one of the largest wellness brands in the world. Vandana Luthra has also been a strong advocate for women’s empowerment and has been actively involved in various initiatives that promote the education and empowerment of women.
Industry: Online Shopping
Radhika Aggarwal is a visionary entrepreneur and businesswoman who co-founded the e-commerce platform ShopClues in 2011. Her entrepreneurial journey began when she started her PR firm in India, which helped her gain valuable experience in marketing and business operations.
In 2011, she and her co-founders Sandeep Aggarwal and Sanjay Sethi launched ShopClues, which quickly became one of the leading e-commerce platforms in India. The company has raised over $250 million in funding and boasts over 500,000 merchants and 60 million monthly visitors.
Aggarwal has been recognised for her contributions to the e-commerce industry, receiving numerous awards and accolades for her leadership and innovation. Her success can be attributed to her unwavering commitment to innovation, customer service, and entrepreneurship. She is a role model for aspiring businesswomen and entrepreneurs.
Industry: Online lingerie platform
Richa Kar is a successful entrepreneur and the founder of Zivame, an online lingerie platform based in India. After working in various corporate roles, she identified a gap in the Indian lingerie market and founded Zivame in 2011. The platform started with an aim to provide women with a convenient and comfortable way to shop for lingerie.
Zivame quickly gained popularity and expanded its product range to include activewear, swimwear, and other women’s apparel. The company boasts over 5 million customers across India. Richa has been recognised with awards such as the Economic Times’ ’40 Under 40′ and the Forbes India Leadership Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Industry: Women’s fashion and lifestyle products
Suchi Mukherjee Khanna is a well-known entrepreneur and businesswoman who has made significant contributions to the Indian e-commerce industry. She is the founder and CEO of Limeroad. Before starting Limeroad in 2012, Suchi had an impressive career working with high-profile companies such as eBay, Skype, and Gumtree.
Her experience in the e-commerce industry and passion for fashion inspired her to create Limeroad, which has become a game-changer in the Indian e-commerce space. The company’s unique approach to online shopping, which focuses on personalised recommendations and a social network for users, has helped it stand out from competitors.
Industry: Digital payment company
Upasana Taku Khanna is an entrepreneur and businesswoman who has made a name for herself in the world of fintech. She is the co-founder of MobiKwik, one of India’s leading digital payment companies, with the aim of making digital payments accessible to all Indians. The platform has revolutionised how people make transactions in the country.
Today, MobiKwik is used by millions across India and has partnerships with over 3 million merchants. Upasana’s entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen have been widely recognised. In 2017, she was named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Indian Business” by Business Today, and in 2020, she was included in Fortune India’s “40 under 40” list.
Industry: Informative and Educational
Aditi Gupta is an Indian social entrepreneur and activist who has been working to promote menstrual hygiene and end the taboo surrounding menstruation in India. She is the founder of Menstrupedia, a comic book series and online platform that provides information and education on menstruation to young girls and women.
Aditi’s interest in menstrual health began during adolescence when she discovered that many of her classmates were unaware of basic facts about menstruation. This realisation led her to research the topic more deeply, and she soon realised that the lack of education and awareness surrounding menstruation was a widespread problem in India.
In addition to her work with Menstrupedia, she has been an outspoken promoter of menstrual health and gender equality in India. She has spoken at numerous conferences and events. Her work serves as an inspiration to social entrepreneurs and activists around the world who are striving to create positive change in their communities.