Let’s be realistic – for centuries, if not millennia, human society was predominantly male-dominated. But the contemporary advances in gender equality and human rights, in general, have led to an increase in female entrepreneurship. The trend of a male business landscape has been changing, and women have begun taking their rightful place at the top of the corporate food chain, all around the globe. And seeing as this is pretty much a global trend, it’s no wonder that it’s happening in India as well, you’ll find plenty of women entrepreneurs in India these days.
It just goes to show how far pure confidence and belief in the right thing will take you; Indian women in business are a great example of that. They’ve gone from being merely homemakers to becoming innovative business leaders in the short span of only a couple of decades.
And that’s why we’ve decided to shine a light on some of the most renowned women entrepreneurs in India; so have a look below!
1. Indu Jain – Current Chairperson at Bennet, Coleman
Obviously, the world of media is one of the most culturally influential economic sectors anywhere in the world – and in India as well. That’s why it’s important for women to make their mark in this industry. And Indu Jain, hailing from Faizabad Uttra Pradesh, is a great example of that.
When you’re a woman in a developing country, your attitude could easily be to just find a reliable company to help you move abroad; but she wanted to succeed right there in India.
Currently, Indu is the sitting chairperson at Bennet and Coleman. You may have not heard of this company, but they own The Times of India, the most influential daily newspaper, as well as other daily papers.
Her business acumen aside, Indu Jain is also a great admirer of culture and art. In 2016, the local government awarded her the coveted Padma Bhushan award, as a token of appreciation for what she’s contributed to Indian society.
2. Indra Nooyi – CFO of PepsiCo
If there’s one thing that’s important among women entrepreneurs in India, it’s being persistent. And you’ll find no better example of that than Indra Nooyi – CFO and president of PepsiCo in India.
Her education is no joke either; she has received a master’s degree from Yale in public management. Before she joined the ranks of PepsiCo, she did some work for Motorola and Asea Brown as well.
Truly, she is an inspiration to girls and women all over the continent and will continue to provide guidance to those who want to thrive in business. And when we said she was persistent, we weren’t joking – Indra is 63 but still has no plans to retire; she’ll keep working for as long as she wants to!
3. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – President of Biocon Limited
Kiran Mazumdar doesn’t come from particularly wealthy roots. However, she still managed to leave a lasting impression as one of the leading women entrepreneurs in India, in every sense of the word!
Unlike many of the women on this list, she isn’t just a successful businesswoman – she is also a true female entrepreneur. Meaning that she’s actually started her own successful business.
After attending the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, her interest in zoology and biology led her to pursue these fields when searching for a career as well. Which is why she started her biopharmaceutical firm back in 1978: Biocon Limited.
In the initial phases of its existence, this company’s primary work was the manufacturing of industrial enzymes. But these days, it’s grown to a full-fledged biopharmaceutical company, doing important research on cancer and diabetes treatments in India.
4. Vandana Luthra – Founder and President of VLCC
When it comes to succeeding in business, there’s no one that represents women entrepreneurs in India quite like Vandana Luthra – an extremely influential businesswoman. She comes from New Delhi, where she was born in 1959. She also graduated from the local Polytechnic for Women, a very prestigious local university.
After that, she travelled all over Europe, including Germany, France, and the UK, in order to obtain the latest insights into the world of fitness and nutrition.
In 1989, she founded VLCC, which would go on to become one of the largest beauty and wellness giants in the country. And she did all of that in the period of her life when she became a mother.
So, if you think that it’s impossible to take care of a toddler while succeeding in business, think again because she certainly managed it.
Her hard work and determination led to her accepting the Padma Shri award in 2013 – only the latest in the long line of recognitions she had received. Fortune India also named her among the top 50 women entrepreneurs in the country.
5. Aditi Gupta – Founder of Menstrupedia
While economic issues related to equality are major problems, that’s just the consequence of a wider problem. And that’s the fact that most inequalities stem from cultural taboos, most of which are rooted quite deeply in the general populace.
Talking about these taboos and breaking down such barriers is important for increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in India and worldwide.
Aditi Gupta is a woman who’s been dealing with precisely that – the destruction of taboos. She worked on a crowd-funded program called Menstrupedia, providing women all over India with the needed education on sanitary practices and healthy living habits in the duration of their menstrual cycles.
As you can see, there are plenty of successful women entrepreneurs in India. And let’s be honest, that’s no small feat. After all, succeeding in business is tough anywhere, for both women and men.
But women also face all kinds of stereotypes, discrimination and similar issues, which aren’t easy to overcome. That’s why any woman who manages to do this is worthy of society’s admiration and respect.
Furthermore, we hope that we’ll give inspiration to women everywhere by showcasing such successful examples of their peers. With enough persistence, there is absolutely nothing that is unachievable!