Business women in India have come a long way from the days of garage enterprises and now manage companies with turnovers in thousands of crores. Here are 10 of the most inspiring women in business who embody the spirit of leadership in India.
- Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
The gutsy Mazumdar-Shaw is one of the most famous and inspiring women entrepreneurs in India. She single-handedly converted her start-up worth Rs.10,000, functioning out of her garage to the Rs.2,100 crore worth Biocon Pvt Ltd. as we know it today. For her contributions to the field of biotechnology, Mazumdar-Shaw is also known as the “Biotech Queen”.
Kapoor is the face behind the Indian soap opera and serials industry. Born in an affluent “filmy” family, she suffered from low self-esteem due to obesity.
But with sheer grit and determination, she laid the foundation for Balaji Telefilms and gradually took the Indian households by storm with its cult serials like “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki”, “Kasautii Zindagi Ki” and more.
She has also forayed into film production and is credited with producing successful ventures like “Kya Kool Hain Hum” and the recent, “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” and “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai”.
- Sunita Narain
Narain is a political activist as well as an environmentalist, and one of the movers and shakers behind the concept of sustainable development.
She received the prestigious Padma Shri award from the Government of India, in 2005, for the contributions she made in her field. Presently, she is the Director of both, Society for Environmental Communications and Centre for Science and Environment of India.
- Neelam Dhawan
Dhawan is a successful woman leader in the field of Information Technology in India. As the Managing Director of Microsoft India, she currently leads the sales and marketing operations in the country. However, her journey to the list of top women entrepreneurs has not been an easy one. She was rejected from FMGC giants like, Asian Paints and Hindustan Lever as they did not want a woman in their marketing division.
- Naina Lal Kidwai
This Padma Shri winner has put India in the global map of banking by becoming the first woman ever to head a foreign bank on Indian shore. She is the Country Head and Group General Manager of HSBC, India. She is also the first Indian woman to pass out from Harvard Business School (in 1982).
- Sulajja Firodia Motwani
This spunky woman is the force behind Kinetic Engineering Ltd and Kinetic Motors. A fitness freak who played Badminton at a national level, her name is listed among the top 25 entrepreneurs in India and she is the recipient of Society Young Achiever’s Award for Business in 2002.
- Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora
Arora holds a Doctorate degree in Microbiology and is the recipient of National Award for her immense contribution towards the development of women through science and technology. Currently, she is a joint director in the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.
- Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi
As the executive officer and chairperson of PepsiCo, she stands tall as the world’s fourth most powerful woman in Forbes’ 2011 list. In 2006 she had achieved the same feat and was also termed as the #1 Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune magazine.
Nooyi graduated from Madras Christian College in 1974 and got a Business Diploma from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Later, she went on to do higher studies from the Yale School of Management.
- Priya Paul
One of the most distinguished woman entrepreneurs in India, Paul heads the Apeejay Park Hotel chain as their Chairperson. This Economics graduate from Wellesley College (USA) started working in the company as Marketing Manager under her father, Mr. Surrendra Paul, before succeeding him in 1990 as the Chairperson, following his death.
- Ritu Nanda Kapoor
As the daughter of Bollywood legend, Raj Kapoor, her blood ties with the most prominent film family of India have made her one of the most recognizable women entrepreneurs, but there is no denying the hard work she put in to bring up the well-known insurance company, Escolife Pvt. Ltd.
She entered the Guinness Book of World Records by managing to sell 17,000 pension policies in one day. Now, her company boasts of a clientele of over 55,000, and was awarded the titles of “Brand Ambassador” and “Best Insurance Advisor of the Decade”, by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), India’s largest life insurance company.
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