Striving Towards Excellence: South Asian Women Entrepreneurs of Note

Mar/27/2023 / by Melanie Fourie
Women Entrepreneur
Image credits: Yan Krukau via Pexels

Women in India are increasingly taking the plunge into business ownership because of the thriving start-up culture the country has created. As a result, some Indian women who are currently limited to the stereotypical position of housewife are gaining the confidence to pursue their own interests and ideas. New studies, nevertheless, indicate that just 2 Indian towns are among the world’s 50 best places for women in the workplace.

Bengaluru, India’s equivalent of the Silicon Valley, came in at number 40, while Delhi landed in the bottom half at number 49. Dell, a major player in the technology industry, collaborated with the research company IHS Markit to undertake this poll. The rating is a measurement of a city’s capacity to recruit and assist women who seek to expand their enterprises, and it was compiled with feedback from female entrepreneurs in India, politicians, wealthy investors, the press, and educators.

Even while most women in India—especially in the country’s rural areas—aren’t exhorted to dream large, several have achieved more success than could be expected in such a restrictive environment.

By sharing their harrowing yet ultimately rewarding experiences, these superwomen are encouraging other women to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps. With the help of the Indian government and a growing start-up ecosystem, India is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading countries for new businesses. Almost half of India’s officially recognized start-ups are led by women. 

In 2021, the Indian government allocated more money toward the advancement of women and children. In FY21, it has budgeted more than Rs. 30,000 crores, or $3.97 billion. 

Measures Taken by the State to Boost Women’s Involvement in Business

The following checklist, derived from the research of the India Brand Equity Foundation, may be useful if you’re thinking of starting a firm.

The Dena Shakti Scheme

As a way to encourage more women to enter male-dominated industries like agriculture, retail, and manufacturing, this program was designed just for them. As part of the plan, borrowers may take out loans at a rate that is 0.25 percent less than the federal funds rate. The highest loan amount you may apply for is 20,000,000 INR ($26,468 USD).

The Women Entrepreneurship Platform 

In an effort to encourage more women to create their own businesses, NITI Aayog launched this flagship portal. The site offers a number of seminars and classes designed to help women get the confidence and skills they need to launch their own businesses.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank Business Loans 

It was established in 2017 as a way to assist low-income women in obtaining loans so that they may pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions. For female business owners, the initiative offers loans totalling over Rs. 20 crores (about $2.46 million). For loans of up to Rs. 1 crore (US$ 0.13 million), borrowers don’t need to provide any security.

Our list of 10 Successful Women Entrepreneurs Across South Asia 

1. Vandana Luthra, The Beauty and Fitness Guri Behind VLCC

VLCC was established by Vandana Luthra. Among those concerned with their appearance, wellness, and fitness, VLCC is a household name all over the world. Mrs. Luthra started up in the beauty and fitness industry in New Delhi in 1989. This establishment provided state-of-the-art skin and hair treatments in addition to weight control programs.

She received India’s highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, in 2013 for her outstanding contributions to India’s commercial sector. Awards such as the Enterprise Asia Women Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 and the Rajiv Gandhi Award in 2008 were bestowed upon her. Forbes Asia’s 2016 list of the 50 Power Businesswomen in Asia and the Pacific included her too!  From 2011 through 2016, Fortune magazine included her in their yearly ranking of India’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. She’s often deemed as one of most successful women in business in India! 

2. Sairee Chahal , the Creator of Sheroes

Founded in Bangladesh and India, SHEROES is an online platform for females that provides resources such as career guidance, job leads, coaching, legal help, and a complementary therapy hotline. Sairee Chahal is the organization’s creator. The community is active in nations like Bangladesh and India. During the height of the epidemic, the site saw a dramatic increase in its user base up to to 22 million.

Chahal has also shared his thoughts in the #OneSouthAsia Conversation initiative. In her speech at the convention, she brought up necessity new policies that would help and encourage women business owners. Women business entrepreneurs would benefit greatly, and the economies of the nations in issue would see significant expansion as a result. Chahal stressed the need of the government making changes to discriminatory laws and regulations, supporting enterprises run by women, and including diverse role models for young girls in textbooks.

The aforementioned women business owners in South Asia are not only using their own experiences to encourage other women to enter the digital marketplace, but are also taking concrete steps to improve their communities, such as lobbying for new legislation at regional conferences and offering free advice to other entrepreneurs on their online platforms. Their efforts, along with those of many other like-minded businesswomen, might help women in South Asia gain much-needed entry into the business world as a result of the digital economic growth caused by the epidemic.    

3. Rati Batra, Owner and CEO of YourHR

YourHR was founded by HR expert Rati Batra, whose background is in consulting. YourHR provides strategic advice     to other young businesses. YourHR is a full-service HR consulting firm that helps companies with all aspects of HRM. Her strengths are in human resources and expanding companies. 

She was a member of the Indian group that travelled to Bahrain for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2019. Additionally, Rati is aiming to create a community that supports and promotes the achievements of robust, self-reliant women business owners.

4. Maheen Adamjee , Digital Education Entrepreneur 

 Dot & Line was founded by Maheen Adamjee, who aimed to offer in-home teaching for kids in Pakistan.     After the epidemic struck, however, Adamjee rethought the company’s strategy to focus on online instruction. Dot & Line has developed into a widely used online tutoring marketplace connecting students all over the world with qualified instructors.

Adamjee is a role model for entrepreneurs since he has used the COVID-19 outbreak not as a threat but as an advantage. She has subsequently communicated with over 5,000 women via her participation in the digital event series #OneSouthAsia Conversation, which serves as a forum for exploring strategies for fostering regional trade ties. Adamjee gave several nuggets of wisdom drawn from her anecdotal life at these conferences, particularly information pertaining to making the move from physical to digital service delivery.

She went on to say that women in Pakistan are discouraged from becoming entrepreneurs because of cultural and economic factors. Adamjee highlighted how women may now bypass traditional trade obstacles like tariffs and trade quotas to reach new customer groups across national borders because to the rise of the internet economy.

5. LogiNext’s Co-Founder,  Manisha Raisinghani

Manisha co-founded LogiNext, a company that provides SaaS businesses with tools for better logistical and field service management. At Carnegie Mellon, Manisha Raisinghani earned her Master of Science in Information Systems. After that, she joined the Warner Bros. data analytics unit for iTunes. Before founding LogiNext, she had previously worked for IBM in the United States.

LogiNext has received over $10M   in funding from investors including Alibaba-backed Paytm and the Indian Angel Network. LogiNext has grown rapidly and rapidly in recent years, and its 2020 growth is projected to be above 300%.

6. Deepica, Mutyala, CEO and Founder of Live Tinted

South Asian beauty industry entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala is the chief executive officer of Live Tinted, a platform for women of all backgrounds to discuss issues related to self-expression via makeup and fashion. A  2015 YouTube video of her using red lipstick to conceal dark rings underneath her eyes went viral and made her a household name. Only a few days after his first appearance, Mutyala was profiled on both The Dr. Oz and The Today Show. 

Live Tinted, an online platform and beauty product brand that investigates different beauty and offers products for “any shade in between,” was established and debuted in January 2018 by Deepica. The site highlights the experiences of those who are often marginalized in topics of beauty, heritage, and belonging by providing a venue for them to share their stories and be heard.    

7. NextGenJane Founder and Led by Ridhi Tariyal 

NextGen Jane is led by Ridhi Tariyal, who also helped start the company. During her time as a Blavatnik Fellow at Harvard, she founded the organization NextGen Jane. The concept is geared toward empowering women to take charge     of their reproductive health by developing novel and user-friendly tools for monitoring their genomic status. 

A majority of Ridhi’s professional life was spent in the medical field until she joined NextGen Jane. She began her health care profession with Bristol Myers Squibb, where she later managed big genomic research for the     Broad Institute in West Africa, and where she also engaged in a variety of entrepreneurial positions at companies.

8. Chief Executive Officer and Zum Co-Founder Ritu Narayan

Zum, a cutting-edge student transportation startup, was founded and is led by CEO Ritu Narayan, who has made it her life’s work to improve the lives of students, their clans, and their institutions of higher education by reinventing student mobility. 

Ritu’s unique blend of personal and professional experience makes her well-suited to revolutionize the     business as a mother of two who has raised them while juggling a tech career in Silicon Valley at top firms.   Zum is at the forefront of creating a secure, more effective, dependable, and viable student transport service for over 4,000 schools across the United States.

9. Leader of AliveCor, Priya Abani

In 2011, clinician and developer Dave Albert, MD, came up with the idea for AliveCor, a mobile gadget that     connects with a smartphone to provide an FDA-approved, medical-grade ECG wherever you are. 
Since its founding, AliveCor has strived to become a global leader in cardiovascular care. 

They’re adding new functionality to their online subscription service, KardiaCare, so that patients may monitor and control their cardiovascular health outside of physicians ‘business hours. Nearly 140,000 individuals are now using the initiative, which allows them to have their ECGs reviewed by cardiologists with board     certification sans leaving their homes.

Through collaborations with CROs and biopharma firms, they’re expanding disease and safety surveillance sollutions by enabling the remote acquisition of real-time, medical-grade electrocardiograms.

In 2019, Priya Abani was appointed CEO of AliveCor, where she oversees the company’s membership service for consumers that is powered by artificial intelligence in the field of cardiovascular health. Abani was General Manager of Alexa Voice Services at Amazon before she joined AliveCor. In that role, she oversaw the company’s voice-based technology’s production, engineering, developer experience, and technical enablement. She also contributed to Intel’s success in client enablement and solutions convergence during her time there.

10. Dr. Vani Kola, Founder of Kalaari Capital

Vani Kola created Kalaari Capital and serves as its MD. If you’re looking for a venture capital capital company in India, go no further than Kalaari Capital. More than thirty investments made by Kalaari under Vani’s leadership    have been very successful across industries like e-commerce, healthcare, and more. Snapdeal is just another of her thriving ventures. Several of the firms that are changing the face of business in India have Vani serving on their boards of directors too!

Several books have been written on Vani Kola, and Fortune India has named her one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business.” She is also involved in a number of groups that encourage female leadership and business ownership. So there you have it, a large dose of inspiration if you’ve been mulling over whether or not to start your own business!

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