11 Women Entrepreneurs In India Who Are Winning The Entrepreneurship Game

Meet 11 Indian women to empower the entrepreneur in you.

Published On Mar 09, 2023 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024


In the words of Beyoncé, "Who runs the world? Girls!" And, she couldn't be more right. Women today are no longer confined to the roles society has assigned them. Women aren't just the ones who keep the home running; they also keep businesses running. Women are changing the business scene, one step at a time. They are taking on leadership positions and running successful companies, proving they have what it takes to be at the top. Women entrepreneurs are doing everything from leading successful businesses to being astronauts.

It's not just about breaking the glass ceiling, though. Business women in India are also creating new opportunities for themselves and others. They empower each other and inspire the next generation of women to do the same. Women are truly unstoppable.

To celebrate the spirit of these forces of nature, we have curated a list of India's top 11 women entrepreneurs. These women have defied stereotypes and created thriving businesses from scratch.

So, get ready to be inspired by their stories. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next woman entrepreneur on this list one day. Because if these women can do it, so can you!

From tech startups to sustainable fashion brands, these women entrepreneurs lead their respective fields. They are successful business women in India and role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs. Their stories are a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and hard work. They have proved that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Want to learn more about them? Let's dive in!

Falguni Nayar, the founder of Nykaa, is a force to be reckoned with. She refused to let age or gender keep her from achieving her entrepreneurial dreams. Starting her business at the age of 49, after a successful corporate career of over two decades, Nykaa has become one of India's leading e-commerce platforms, with 80+ physical stores across 38 cities.

Nayar's impressive business acumen is no surprise given her upbringing in a business-oriented environment, encouraged by her determined father. Her story is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and the unwavering support of family. Her recent IPO was oversubscribed nearly 82.5 times, expanding Nykaa's market cap to a staggering 1.05 lakh crore INR, making Nayar a self-made billionaire.

Nayar's story is a beacon of hope for women worldwide, proving that with passion and perseverance, anyone can shatter stereotypes and achieve success.

When you think of electric vehicles, the first name that comes to mind is probably Elon Musk. But did you know that Hemalatha Annamalai was ahead of the game, starting her own electric vehicle company before Musk brought about his big EV revolution?

Despite facing numerous obstacles, she developed the first electric scooter from scratch, targeting rural and semi-urban regions instead of the big cities. Her vision was supported by industry bigwigs like Ratan Tata and Kris Gopalakrishnan, making Ampere Electric a huge success. The company has sold over 20,000 vehicles and can manufacture up to 30,000 annually. Hemalatha's inspiring story proves that with hard work and determination, any woman can break the glass ceiling and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Ghazal Alagh's entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the power of dedication and purpose. In less than six years, she created Mamaearth, a profitable D2C unicorn venture valued at $1.2 billion, with over 10 million customers. Her inspiration? She transformed her first child's skin condition into an opportunity to build a brand that could serve thousands of others. As a self-made woman entrepreneur and mother of two, Alagh overcame societal bias and now mentors other women-led businesses. She focuses on building Mamaearth's omnichannel presence and becoming the number-one choice in beauty and personal care. Alagh's message to aspiring women entrepreneurs: follow your dreams and let nothing hold you back.

Menstruation, a natural bodily function, has long been stigmatized and shrouded in shame, especially for young girls. But Aditi Gupta, a woman entrepreneur on a mission, refused to let this continue. In 2012, she created Menstrupedia, a comic book that teaches girls about periods and breaks down the taboo surrounding it. The book, which features real-life experiences and characters, has been translated into 16 languages and has received numerous accolades, including recognition on Forbes' 30 under 30 lists. Most recently, Aditi and her partner Tuhin Paul secured ₹50 lakhs at 20% equity from Namita Thapar through Shark Tank India's reality show. Aditi's dedication to educating and empowering young girls is changing the conversation around periods and inspiring female entrepreneurs in India.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a powerhouse who defied the odds to become one of the top names in the list of successful women entrepreneurs in India. Being amongst the top 10 women entrepreneurs in India at a time when women face stricter challenges than men requires immense determination, hard work, and a willingness to take risks. In 1978, she started Biocon, an enzyme manufacturing company, despite facing prejudices and obstacles. Her perseverance and expertise in fermentation led her to excel in R&D and scale efficiently. Biocon expanded into the pharmaceutical industry, producing game-changing products like statins and insulin. Their IPO was oversubscribed 33 times with a market valuation of $1.11 billion. Kiran's resilience and success have earned her numerous accolades, including being named Forbes' 68th most powerful woman in the world. Her story inspires all women entrepreneurs who are shattering the glass ceiling and achieving great success.

Meet Vani Kola - the startup superstar who knows how to launch successful businesses and invest in promising ventures. After a thriving career in Silicon Valley, Vani returned to India in 2006 to explore the venture capitalist market. Despite initial uncertainty, she discovered a wealth of untapped potential and launched Indo-US Venture Partners with fellow entrepreneur Vinod Dham. However, after four years of collaboration, Vani decided to go solo and rebranded the firm as Kalaari Capital. Under her leadership, the firm has amassed an impressive portfolio of over 200 assets and raised a staggering USD 740 million in the capital. Vani's contributions to venture capitalism have earned her titles such as 'Mother of Venture Capitalism in India' and 'India's Most Powerful Women in Business' by Forbes and Fortune magazines, making her one of the top women entrepreneurs in India.

Imagine being a woman in India and feeling embarrassed to buy lingerie in a store. That's the reality Richa Kar faced, but she didn't just accept it. Instead, she used her innovative mind and entrepreneurial spirit to create Zivame, an online lingerie store that's become a household name for women across India.

Richa's journey to success wasn't easy, though. She faced ridicule and a lack of support from her parents, but she persisted and turned her small office space into a 200-strong team within three years.

Today, Zivame isn't just a place to buy affordable and durable lingerie online; it's a destination for fitting and styling tips that empower women to feel confident in their skin. Richa's success story inspires modern female entrepreneurs in India and beyond.

Radhika Ghai is a true trailblazer, breaking barriers and carving a space for women entrepreneurs in the male-dominated world of e-commerce. As she pursued her MBA in the US, Radhika felt the call of entrepreneurship and returned to India in 2012 to explore the e-commerce scene. Despite facing giants like Amazon and Flipkart, Radhika co-founded Shopclues with Sanjay Sethi, connecting buyers and merchants with limited capital.

Her grit and determination paid off when Shopclues became a unicorn with a valuation of $1.1 billion in just five years. Today, Radhika is the Founder and CEO of Kindlife, a beauty and wellness platform that curates 150+ brands. She's proved that women can succeed in even the toughest industries with a never-say-die attitude and innovative ideas. As one of the top 10 women entrepreneurs in India, the queen has earned her well-deserved throne.

Pregnancy is no easy feat. It takes a toll on women's bodies, but for Suchi Mukherjee, it also inspired a brilliant business idea. While pregnant with her second child in London, Suchi had a lightbulb moment for a social fashion retail platform. And she didn't let anything stop her from making it a reality. Despite facing initial business challenges like setting up infrastructure and bank processes and traveling once a month to visit her family in London, Suchi pushed on. With an initial capital of USD 5 million, she launched Limeroad in 2012. It's valued at USD 51.9 million with a community of 50,000+ women creating their own unique designs.

Meet Shradha Sharma, the founder of YourStory - India's largest platform for startup resources and news. With a journalism and design management background, Shradha's passion for writing about entrepreneurs on her blog led her to create a platform for startup stories and resources.

Despite facing challenges in a small town to become a successful business woman in India, Shradha persevered and overcame her need for validation and approval. Her dedication to empowering women entrepreneurs has earned her investments from big names like Ratan Tata, T.V Mohandas Pai, and Vani Kola.

Through her podcast 'Inner Reels,' Shradha continues to inspire and motivate women to break free from societal stereotypes and pursue their dreams without fear. One can't help but admire the impressive accomplishments of the top women entrepreneurs in India, and Shradha is no exception.

Vandana Luthra's success story is nothing short of remarkable. Ranked #26 on Forbes Asia's 2016 list of 50 Power Businesswomen, Vandana's journey began when she realized the untapped potential of India's beauty and wellness industry during her travels to Germany with her father.

After gaining expertise in skincare, beauty, and nutrition in Europe, Vandana returned to India to set up a health and wellness outlet. Despite facing scepticism in an environment with hardly any women entrepreneurs, Vandana's determination led her to establish the first VLCC centre in New Delhi in 1989 with a bank loan.

Today, VLCC is a thriving business with operations in 326 locations across 13 countries and over 4,000 employees. Vandana's vision to empower women through education led to the creation of the VLCC Institute of Nutrition and Beauty, which trains more than 11,000 students annually.

Her hard work and dedication have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Padma Shri in 2013. Vandana firmly believes that women have exceptional business abilities and can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Over the years, we have witnessed a steady growth of women entrepreneurs in India who have made their mark in various domains and industries. They have shattered the glass ceiling and proven that women can lead and succeed in business.

Through their inspiring stories, we have learned that entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. It requires grit, resilience, and the ability to face obstacles head-on. These women have proven that success is not achieved overnight and often comes with many failures and setbacks along the way. However, their relentless determination to keep going sets them apart.

In addition to having a solid vision and sound business acumen, we have also learned that image management and superior soft skills are crucial for success in today's competitive world. With the right image, a successful business woman in India can establish their brand and reputation. At the same time, superior soft skills can help her communicate effectively, present herself better, and negotiate to win.

Despite their many challenges, women entrepreneurs have also shown us that women supporting women is critical to their success. Through mentorship, networking, and community building, women entrepreneurs can uplift each other and create a supportive ecosystem that fosters growth and success.

Moreover, we have seen how women entrepreneurs can bring a unique perspective and a fresh approach to the business world. They can identify gaps in the market, develop innovative solutions, and create businesses that cater to the needs of women consumers. By doing so, they bring about change and pave the way for more women to enter the entrepreneurial space.

The stories of these successful women entrepreneurs in India have taught us that entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. It takes hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks. However, with the right mindset, skills, and support, women entrepreneurs can overcome challenges and make their mark in the business world. So let's continue supporting and uplifting women entrepreneurs, for they are the key to a thriving and inclusive economy.

If you want to discover more inspirational stories of Indian businesswomen, look no further than Induben Khakhrawala from Ahmedabad. While she may not be in the fashion industry, her story is just as inspiring. And if you're interested, there are plenty of outstanding Indian businesswomen who are cooking up a storm in the fashion world and making a name for themselves. Unlock your own entrepreneurial potential by exploring the inspiring stories of these trailblazing women entrepreneurs.

Photo: Instagram/Nykaa, Richa Kar