We have always heard that this is the world of men. But if you look at tradition and contemporary times, then we find that women have already played a vital role in society and still play an important role in various aspects. Many businesswomen have also exceeded men’s counterparts. You will see today that women work in every industry, from the media to politics, from the private sector to the IT sector, and from artists to sports.
Remember the days when it was nearly impossible for women to think of bursting through the glass ceiling and hitting the highest rung of the corporate ladder. Today, our nation’s women have come a long way from only becoming a homemaker and are an equal match for some of the business world’s most influential men.
Women have made a mark across everywhere you can think of, from the leaders of major industry giants to entrepreneurs of some of the most creative startups. But their path to the hall of fame was not straightforward, they struggled against multiple negative ideas and proved their aim to remove any questions about their leadership skills or their entrepreneurship ability.
The role of women in Indian society has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Today, women have played a crucial role in the Indian economy’s development and have had a significant influence, and have been competitive in almost every industry.
Therefore, we have talked in this article about some of the nation’s most influential female entrepreneurs who are an inspiration for any aspiring entrepreneur out there.
Following Are The Listed Top Women Entrepreneurs Of India 2021
1. Vandana Luthra
Vandana Luthra is an Indian businesswoman, philanthropist, and chair of the skills council for the beauty & wellness industry (B&WSSC). Vandana was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, and while pursuing higher education in Germany, the UK, and France, she was well versed in fashion, health, food and diet, and skincare.
In 1989, she looked at the VLCC organization as a hub of beauty and slimming operations. The country’s beauty and wellbeing giant, VLCC Healthcare Limited, has a footprint in over 11 countries spanning Asia, Africa, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
She later added additional facilities such as hair building, full-body laser, grooming, and Dermat services. She received the Padma Shri award from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in April 2013. Vandana Luthra runs an NGO called Khushi, which provides those who are underprivileged and mentally disabled with a scholarship for free schooling.
2. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is regarded as the richest self-made female entrepreneur in India. The founder and managing director of Biocon Limited, which is one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical firms. She was born and raised in Bangalore and completed her bachelor’s degree in zoology from Mount Caramel College, University of Bangalore. She later earned her master’s degree in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, University of Melbourne. In 2019, she was ranked the 54th richest female in India and the 65th strongest woman in the country.
In 1978, she established Biocon India out of the garage of her rented Bangalore house. It was a joint venture with Cork, Ireland-based Biocon Biochemicals Limited. Amid a shortage of resources, a lack of professional staff, and several other challenges, she began her entrepreneurial journey. Today, with a heavy focus on diabetes and oncology, the organization has established itself as the leading player in biomedical research. The company has entered the market for US biosimilars and is attracting investor interest. It is the first organization to get clearance from the USFDA, as per Forbes.
She has put a great fortune on developing a biotech business focused on deep R&D. Besides, Kiran is also a member of the board of directors of the Hyderabad Indian School of Business and the Indian Institute of Technology. She was also awarded by the government of India the prestigious ‘Padma Shri’ in 1989 and the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 2005.
3. Suchi Mukherjee
In the lifestyle and accessories group, Suchi Mukherjee is the founder and CEO of the website LimeRoad and e-commerce. Interestingly, as she was on maternity leave, the notion of LimeRoad came to her. Suchi is a graduate of Economics from the School of Economics in London.
She has numerous honors and accolades to her credit, such as K.C. Nag Economics Award for Best Economics Candidates, George K. George Memorial Scholarship at St. Stephen College, Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, DU and Chadburn Scholarship, both at Cambridge University and the British Chevening Scholarship.
Along with this, She won awards, such as Coolest Start-up of the Year (from Business Today), Infocom Woman of the Year-Digital Business, and Unicorn Start-up Award, if we speak about her achievement (NDTV). She was also chosen as one of the 15 women for Rising Talents worldwide,’ High Potential Entrepreneurs Under 40.’
Her business has raised $20 million in capital from LightSpeed Investment partners, Matrix Partners, and Tiger Global. Suchi has previously worked for more than 2 years with Lehman Brothers Inc., Virgin Media, eBay Inc., Skype, and Gumtree, where she was the Managing Director. Today, this company is regarded as the most fashionable online shopping platform for men and women in India.
4. Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi, CFO, and Chairman of PepsiCo. India is potentially one of the nation’s most highly recognized female entrepreneurs. Founded and raised in Chennai, Indira graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in Science from Madras Christian College. She later received a Master’s degree from Yale University in Public Administration and a Master’s degree in Finance and Marketing from IIM, Kolkata.
Indira occupied a variety of senior roles in different firms, including Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri, before eventually joining Pepsi Co. She, however, began her career at Johnson and Johnson as a product manager.
For her business successes and being an inspiration to the corporate leadership of India, she was also awarded the coveted ‘Padma Bhushan’. She is also well-known for her entrepreneurial perspective, which is visible in the billions of dollars worth of critical transactions that the business has won under her management.
She was named a member of Amazon’s board of directors in Feb 2019. In 2017, as per Forbes, she held the title of the 11th strong woman in the world.
5. Indu Jain
The chairman of Bennet, Coleman, and Co. is Indu Jain. The company is one of the country’s biggest media companies. They are best known for their The Times of India daily newspaper, The Economic Times, and the Times Now TV news channel. The Times Party hit on several new highs under her guidance.
She is widowed and has two sons, Samir and Vineet, who are now in charge of the family business. While Bennett, Coleman & Co.’ as chairperson is one of her most influential and eminent positions, she is also recognized by many other identities, such as a spiritualist, humanist, entrepreneur, educator, and also as culture and art fan.
Also, ‘Padma Bhushan’, the third-highest civilian award was given to Mrs. Indu Jain by the Government of India in January 2016. Mrs. Indu Jain was the driving force behind The Oneness Platform, which was officially initiated by the President of India in 2003, but her portfolio doesn’t stop here. The Forum presented the Mahatma-Mahavira Awards to outstanding people from all walks of life and is engaged in a variety of events aimed at adding a sense of unity to the world and showcasing it.
6. Naina Lal Kidwai
Naina Lal Kidwai is one of today’s most popular and infamous Indian women. She was previously the HSBC Group India Country Manager and Group General Manager. Naina graduated from Delhi University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She graduated from Harvard Business School as the first Indian woman.
For her excellent achievements in the field of trade and business, she was also awarded the ‘Padma Shri’ award by the Government of India.
She has also held other posts, such as Head of Investment Banking at ANZ Grindlays from 1982-1994, Vice-President of JM Morgan Stanley, Global Analyst at Harvard Business School, Nestle SA Non-Executive Officer, NCAER Board Member, Auditor General of India, and several other roles.
7. Chanda Kochar
Chandna Kochar is the MD and CEO of ‘ICICI Bank’, India’s largest private sector bank. She is married to Deepak Kochhar, her business schoolmate, and a wind energy entrepreneur. Chanda holds a Master of Business Studies degree from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She is widely known for her role in shaping India’s retail banking market.
Under the leadership of Kochhar, in the years 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005, ICICI bank received the ‘Best Retail Bank in India’ award and the’ Excellence in Retail Banking’ award in 2002. The ‘Asian Banker’ won all these awards.
She indeed has been awarded the Asian Banker’s ‘Retail Banker of the Year 2004′ (Asia Pacific Region),’ Business Woman of the Year 2005′ by the Economic Times, and the ‘Rising Star Award’ by Retail Banker International for Global Awards 2006. She is also a famous name on the Forbes list of the 100 Most Influential Women in the World.
She also won the ‘Wockhardt Gold Award for Management Studies Excellence, as well as the J.N. Bose Gold Expense Accountancy Medal.
8. Richa Kar
Richa is the founder and CEO of Zivame, an Indian online store for lingerie. It wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that she cracked the glass ceiling in the most audacious way. In 2002, Richa finished her engineering with BITS Pilani, during which she worked briefly in the IT industry.
She then went on to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in 2007 to obtain a Masters in Management Studies and worked for a supermarket and a multinational software firm before finally founding Zivame.com.
This was possibly India’s first online lingerie space and has also played a major role in educating women about intimate wear across the world. She launched the business from a small office space, but it had over 200 members within a mere 3 years and sells more than 5,000 models, 50 labels, and 100 sizes with a $100 million collected valuation.
9. Kashaf Shaikh
Kashaf is the founder of the ‘Dealivore’ website, an authentic website where online shoppers can find legitimate coupons for different shops around the country. For any online shopping buff, her website is a must-see. The one-stop solution for online discounts and sales is Dealivore. She is a graduate of computer science from Pune University.
She served as a publicity and sales specialist and also received a national award from the Computing Society of India. In digital marketing, she had a strong interest that led her to found Dealivore. Kashaf is the ultimate role model and a great inspiration for all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there at the young age of 23 and already an entrepreneur.
10. Vani Kola
Vani Kola is a venture capitalist and Kalaari Capital founder & executive officer. She graduated with a master’s degree in science from Arizona State University. She founded two firms, Right work, and Certus Tech, during her 22 years in Silicon Valley. She returned to India in 2006.
She began her career in India as a Venture Capitalist and collaborated with NEAA (New Enterprise Associates). In Sept 2012, with a $150 million fund, Kalaari Capital stayed operating. She received the TiE Delhi-NCR 5th Edition of Entrepreneurship Summit Award for Women in 2018. She also won the Entrepreneurship award from NDTV Women of Value.
This is the list of most influential women entrepreneurs in India and, as you can see, it includes women from all levels of life to those who have spent years in the private sector and those who are only finding their feet. Hope the experiences of these women will inspire you to begin and work hard to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams.
Know that the road to success is not straightforward, but until you make the first step, you will not get any closer to achieving it.