Women today rule both the home and the world. Yes, women entrepreneurs are blossoming and shining forth with the brilliance of a thousand suns. India has its share of legendary businesswomen starting from Kiran-Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon, Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms, Vandana Luthra of VLCC, etc.
Women have owned and operated businesses for decades, but they were not always recognized or given credit for their efforts. Women business owners still face greater difficulties in gaining access to commercial credit and bidding on government contracts than do their male colleagues, and pockets of resistance to women entrepreneurs remain strong in some industries and geographic regions.
But this year in 2018, who are the women entrepreneurs who have made a world of difference with their success and standing? This is the list of the leading ladies but not necessarily in order.
Ravina Raj- Kohli
The Head of Channel Nine and former president of STAR NEWS, Ravina Raj Kohli is touted as India’s current “Media Queen”. Post-graduating from NYU, Ravina began her career with HTA and ended up as Programming Head with Sony. Soon she was selected by Kerry Packer to start Channel Nine from scratch within 3 months. Although this challenging task ended quicker than expected, she rebounded to start her own start-up called “Sundial Creative Media” and is currently CEO of JobCorp Solutions Pvt. Ltd.” Resilient women, Ravina claims “creating impact is her forte”.
Co-founder of Yatra.com, Sabina Chopra is India’s own hotel guru. Right now, she is functioning as MD of Wyndham Worldwide which is a US hotel and restaurants chain with locations worldwide.
Who in India doesn’t know of Limeroad.com? Only a countable few. Suchi Mukherjee is the proud founder of this online retail fashion chain. A graduate from Cambridge with a Masters from the London School of Economics, Suchi’s experience in working with eBay, Virgin Media and Skype have helped her scale heights in fashion retailing.
Exploring a niche market of online retailing of women lingerie, Richa Kar co-founded the shopping line “zivame.com”. This online lingerie store has more than 2000 styles to choose from and has made lingerie shopping online a pleasant experience.
Co-founder of Shop Clues, Radhika Ghai-Aggarwal is an MBA from Washington University. India’s easily affordable e-commerce platform, ShopClues has more than 7 million visitors every month. Radhika functions as Chief Business Officer at ShopClues and is the pillar of its success.
Anyone who is into writing would know Jaya Jha. Co-founder of Pothi and Instascribe – the platforms for e-Book publication, Jaya has 3 novels and one poetry collection to her credit.
An MBA from Carnegie Mellon, Neeru Sharma co-founded Infibeam and now heads its Corporate Development. This online portal for retail, e-commerce and software services is ably led by Neeru who has had successful stints with Alcatel and Amazon.
A life-saver for women working from home, SHEROES was founded by Sairee Chahal in 2014. Aiming at career development for women using work-from-home jobs, SHEROEs organizes job fairs, the community meets, workshops etc. to network women with their mentors, employers and career resources. Sairee has also launched Fleximoms as a platform for flexible jobs and for women wanting a comeback in their career. A well-known TED speaker, Sairee Chahal was a finalist for the 2012 Cartier’s Women’s Award Initiative.
Mydala’s Anisha Singh is equally famous for her sweet smile as she is for her hefty coupons and discounts. Founded in 2009 by Anisha, Mydala handles 400 million customers in 200 cities today. Crunchbase recently listed her among the top 7 women CEOs located outside the U.S. Anisha has also earlier helped the Clinton fund to raise funds for women entrepreneurs prior to Mydala.
Anyone with a mobile knows MobiKwik -the online mobile wallet for paying bills and subscriptions. The mind behind MobiKwik is Upasana Taku. An MS from Stanford University, Upasana has also founded Zaakpay – another payment gateway. Upasana strongly believes in female entrepreneurship and women empowerment and states that this is the right time for women entrepreneurs to start their business.
Snap deal, Urban Ladder, Blue Stone, CrowdFire… what do these have in common? They are all successful startups which have been nurtured by Vani Kola of Kalaari Capital. Armed with a Master’s from Arizona State University, Vani delved into venture capitalism in the Silicon Valley and brought her successful stint to India. A veritable talent spotter, Vani won the 2015 Economic Times Midas Touch Award and is a true inspiration on Women’s Day.
Feeling inspired? Absolutely. These women have shown us that there is nothing that women cannot achieve. Young, energetic and still in their thirties or forties, these women have paved the way for female entrepreneurship to shine brighter in India. They are living examples of “beauties with brains”. Wishing them all success in Women’s day!