India has a rich history of women who have defied societal norms and created successful businesses.
From starting small ventures at home to launching global empires, these women entrepreneurs have shattered glass ceilings and proved that anything is possible with determination and hard work.
In this blog post, we’ll dive into the inspiring success stories of 5 women entrepreneurs in India who have made a significant impact in their industries and continue to inspire generations of women to pursue their dreams.
So, get ready to be inspired by the stories of grit, passion, and perseverance of these trailblazing women entrepreneurs!
A brief overview of the rise of women entrepreneurship in India
The rise of women entrepreneurship in India over the past few decades can be attributed to various social, economic, and cultural factors. In the 1990s, economic liberalization policies led to the growth of the private sector, which provided more opportunities for women to start their own businesses. Additionally, there has been a growing emphasis on women’s education and empowerment, which has led to an increase in their participation in the workforce and entrepreneurship.
The government has also launched various schemes and initiatives to support women entrepreneurs, such as the Mahila E-Haat platform, which provides an online marketplace for women to sell their products. Women-led startups have also received funding and support through initiatives like the Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (WEE) program.
Despite these positive developments, women entrepreneurs still face challenges such as access to capital, lack of support networks, and societal biases. However, with continued efforts to promote and support women’s entrepreneurship, India’s women entrepreneurs are poised to make significant contributions to the country’s economy and society.
Success Story 1: Falguni Nayar, Nykaa
Background information on Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar is an Indian businesswoman and founder of Nykaa, a popular e-commerce platform for beauty and wellness products. Prior to starting Nykaa, she worked for over two decades in investment banking with Kotak Mahindra Capital Company. Nayar has received several awards for her contributions to the business world.
Her journey in founding and growing Nykaa
Falguni Nayar is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a leading e-commerce platform for beauty and wellness products in India. She started her career at Hindustan Unilever and worked there for almost two decades before leaving to start Nykaa in 2012. Despite facing numerous challenges in the initial years, she was determined to succeed and worked tirelessly to build the brand and expand its offerings. Today, Nykaa is one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in India, with over 1000 brands and a range of products that include makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrances, personal care, and wellness products. The company has also launched a chain of brick-and-mortar stores across India, which offer a range of beauty services. Nayar’s journey in founding and growing Nykaa has been a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance, and business acumen.
Achievements and recognitions received by Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contribution to the Indian beauty and e-commerce industry. She was featured on Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women list, and was awarded the Economic Times Women Ahead Award. She was also recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2020 Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence.
Success Story 2: Richa Kar, Zivame
Background information on Richa Kar
Richa Kar is an Indian entrepreneur who is best known as the founder of the lingerie e-commerce website Zivame. She launched the website in 2011 and grew it into one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in India, revolutionizing the lingerie industry. Kar has been recognized with numerous awards for her contributions to entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.
Her journey in founding and growing Zivame
Richa Kar is the founder of Zivame, an Indian lingerie e-commerce platform. She started her career in SAP Labs, Bangalore, where she worked for 2 years. After that, she moved to the US to pursue her MBA degree from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.
After completing her MBA, Richa worked in the US for a few years before returning to India. In 2011, she founded Zivame, which started as an online platform for buying lingerie. The idea was to provide a comfortable and discreet shopping experience for women, who often feel uncomfortable buying lingerie in physical stores.
Initially, the company faced challenges in terms of funding and finding the right talent. However, Richa persevered and raised funding from investors like IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital, and Zodius Capital. Zivame also expanded its product range beyond lingerie and introduced categories like sleepwear, activewear, and swimwear.
Under Richa’s leadership, Zivame grew rapidly and became one of the leading lingerie e-commerce platforms in India. The company also launched several physical stores across India. However, in 2021, Richa stepped down as CEO of Zivame but continues to be a board member of the company.
Achievements and recognitions received by Richa Kar
Richa Kar has been recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements and leadership in the business world. Some of her accolades include Forbes 40 under 40, Entrepreneur of the Year at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence, and Women Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women Economic Forum.
Success Story 3: Upasana Taku, MobiKwik
Background information on Upasana Taku
Upasana Taku is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder of MobiKwik, a digital wallet and payment platform. She holds an engineering degree from NIT Jalandhar and an MBA from Stanford University. Prior to MobiKwik, Taku worked at PayPal, HSBC, and Zaakpay.
Her journey in founding and growing MobiKwik
Upasana Taku co-founded MobiKwik in 2009 along with Bipin Preet Singh. The idea for the company was born out of Taku’s frustration with the lack of easy-to-use mobile payment options in India. With a focus on simplifying digital payments for consumers, the MobiKwik team built a platform that allowed users to store money digitally and make payments easily.
In the early days, Taku and Singh struggled to raise funding for MobiKwik, but they persisted and eventually secured investments from several prominent investors. They also faced stiff competition from other digital payment platforms, but Taku’s vision for a simpler and more user-friendly platform helped MobiKwik stand out.
Under Taku’s leadership, MobiKwik has grown to become one of India’s leading digital wallet and payment platforms. The company now has millions of users and processes billions of dollars in transactions every year. Taku has been recognized for her entrepreneurial success, receiving numerous awards and accolades for her contributions to the Indian startup ecosystem.
Throughout her journey with MobiKwik, Taku has remained committed to her vision of making digital payments more accessible and user-friendly for everyone. She continues to lead the company as it expands its reach and helps to shape the future of the Indian payments industry.
Achievements and recognitions received by Upasana Taku
Upasana Taku has been recognized for her contributions to the Indian startup ecosystem, receiving numerous awards and accolades. She has been named to Fortune India’s “40 Under 40” list, Forbes India’s “W-Power Trailblazers” list, and was honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Success Story 4: Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, ShopClues
Background information on Radhika Ghai Aggarwal
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder of the e-commerce platform, ShopClues. She holds a degree in fashion from the National Institute of Fashion Technology and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to ShopClues, she worked in fashion and lifestyle companies such as Nordstrom, American Eagle Outfitters, and Nike.
Her journey in founding and growing ShopClues
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal co-founded ShopClues in 2011 along with Sanjay Sethi and Sandeep Aggarwal. ShopClues started as a marketplace for unstructured product categories such as fashion, home, and kitchen. Radhika Ghai Aggarwal played a critical role in the company’s growth, and under her leadership, the company raised over $250 million in funding.
In the early days of ShopClues, Radhika Ghai Aggarwal was responsible for managing product categories, merchandising, and vendor acquisition. She also oversaw the company’s marketing and branding initiatives, which helped ShopClues gain visibility and attract new customers.
As the company grew, Radhika Ghai Aggarwal took on more responsibilities, including leading the development of the company’s technology platform and overseeing customer experience. She also played a crucial role in expanding ShopClues’ operations across India and scaling the business to serve millions of customers.
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal’s leadership and entrepreneurial skills were recognized when she was named one of the Top 100 Digital Icons of India by Impact Magazine in 2017. In 2018, she was also honored with the ET Prime Women Leadership Award.
In 2020, ShopClues was acquired by Singapore-based e-commerce platform Qoo10, marking the end of a successful journey for Radhika Ghai Aggarwal and her co-founders. Today, Radhika Ghai Aggarwal continues to be a prominent figure in the Indian startup ecosystem, inspiring and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
Achievements and recognitions received by Radhika Ghai Aggarwal
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is an Indian entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of the online fashion and lifestyle platform, “ShopClues”. She has been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Business Today and as one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune India.
Success story 5: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon
Background information on Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur and the founder of Biocon, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India. She is known for her pioneering work in the biotechnology industry and has been recognized for her contributions to healthcare and innovation with numerous awards and honors.
Her journey in founding and growing Biocon
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a prominent Indian entrepreneur who founded Biocon, a biopharmaceutical company, in 1978 with a capital of just Rs. 10,000. Her journey in founding and growing Biocon is a story of perseverance, innovation, and determination.
Initially, Biocon started as a small-scale enzyme manufacturing company. However, Kiran had bigger dreams, and she believed that India could be a hub for biotechnology. She pursued her vision, invested in research and development, and focused on producing innovative products.
The turning point for Biocon came in the late 1990s when Kiran and her team began exploring the potential of recombinant DNA technology. They were successful in producing a cost-effective biosimilar version of human insulin, which opened new doors for the company. Biocon then expanded its product portfolio to include biosimilar versions of other biologic drugs.
Over the years, Kiran’s leadership and vision helped Biocon become one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in Asia. Today, Biocon is a multi-billion dollar company with a global presence and a diversified portfolio of products and services.
Kiran’s journey in founding and growing Biocon has been an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, who look up to her as a role model. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her contributions to the field of biotechnology and for breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry.
Achievements and recognitions received by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur and founder of the biopharmaceutical company Biocon. She has been recognized with numerous awards including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan from the Indian government, the Othmer Gold Medal from the Science History Institute, and the Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to the field of healthcare and biotechnology.
Women entrepreneurship has been gaining momentum in India, with several success stories emerging in recent years.
From Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who founded Biocon and became one of the wealthiest self-made women in India, to Falguni Nayar, who created Nykaa, an online beauty and wellness destination valued at over $1 billion, these women have broken gender barriers and achieved great success.
Other notable examples include Shahnaz Husain, who founded her eponymous beauty brand and has been recognized as the pioneer of the herbal beauty care industry in India, and Ritu Kumar, a fashion designer who has built a global brand.
These women entrepreneurs have not only created successful businesses but have also become role models for aspiring female entrepreneurs in India.
*image source from Google
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