10 Popular Women-Owned Businesses in India

It has become increasingly common to find women making their presence felt in media, banking, education, manufacturing, financial services and many other fields. And, of course, you cannot ignore the Indian businesswoman who is here to stay in what has traditionally been a male-dominated field.

Here is a list of the top 10 Indian businesswomen who have carved a unique place for themselves in their own respective space by their talent, hard work, and determination.

Mallika Srinivasan – Successful Entrepreneur
Mallika Srinivasan is the Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Director of Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE), a Chennai based tractor and farm equipment manufacturer, which is the largest of its kind in India. TAFE also runs hospitals and schools. An MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, she serves as a member of Executive Board at the Indian School of Business as well. She has been responsible for accelerating the profit of the company from Rs. 85 crore to Rs.2900 crore within 20 years. She was honored with the Businesswoman of the Year award in 2006 by The Economic Times.

Dr. Swati A. Piramal – India’s leading scientist and industrialist
Dr. Swati.A. Piramal is the Vice Chairperson of Piramal Life Sciences Limited and Director of Piramal Health Care Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company that aims to bring affordable drugs to society. Dr. Piramal, an M.B.B.S graduate from Mumbai University and an alumnus of the Harvard School of Public Health, is one of India’s leading scientists and industrialists, and is involved in healthcare, focusing on public health and innovation. Her involvement in public policies related to healthcare has led to major policy changes that have had a positive impact on the health care. She is the first woman to be elected as President of ASSOCHAM, India’s Apex Chamber of Commerce. She has received France’s highest honor – “Chavalier de l’orde National du Merite (Knight of the order of Merit) in 2006 for medicine and trade. She was conferred the Padmashri award by President of India in 2012 and is a member of the Hall of Fame for the most powerful women. She has also been nominated as one of the 25 most powerful businesswomen in India eight times.

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – India’s Biotech Queen
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon, the biotechnology company delivering bio-pharmaceutical solutions. She started her venture in a Bangalore garage with an initial capital of Rs. 10,000. Now her company is worth well over $ 1.2 billion and has the largest statin, insulin and perfusion-based antibody facilities in Asia. She was India’s richest woman in 2004 and was awarded the Padmabhushan for her services and contributions to biotechnology in 2005.

Preetha Reddy – Queen of Healthcare
Reddy is the Managing Director of the Apollo Hospitals Group, one of the largest healthcare groups in Asia. She has been appointed by her father Dr. Reddy to head the group after him. Preetha, with no MBBS or management degree, has proven herself as a great administrator and launched her first solo project, the Apollo Pediatric Hospital in Chennai. Today, Preetha Reddy has 45 hospitals under her able management. She was responsible for getting five hospitals of the Apollo group accredited with the Joint Commission International accreditation. The fact that she is the first woman advisor on healthcare to the Government of India, speaks volumes of her business skills and acumen.

Sulajja Firodia Motwani – A Woman who means business
Motwani is the Joint Managing Director of Kinetic Engineering, Director of Kinetic Motor Company, and Kinetic Marketing Services. An MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, she singlehandedly designed and developed the marketing strategies for growing the Kinetic Company. The company has witnessed tremendous expansion during her tenure from a mere moped manufacturer, to a major manufacturer of two wheelers including mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles. She was awarded the Young Achiever’s Award for Business in 2002, Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2002, and was named the “Face of the Millennium” by India Today. She also finds a place among the 25 business leaders of the next century in an industrialists’ poll by Fortune India.

Priya Paul – The First Lady of boutique hotels
Priya Paul took charge of the Appeejay Park Hotels that was founded by her father, Surendra Paul. She is currently the Chairperson of the Appeejay Park Hotels. She is a founding member of the World Travel and Tourism Council – India Initiative, a Trustee of the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), and Chairperson of South Asia Women’s Fund and a member of Harvard Business Schools’ India Advisory Board. She was awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India (1999-2000), nominated as the Businessperson of the Year(2002-2003). She was conferred with the Padmashri by the Government of India in 2012.

Ekta Kapoor – the woman who changed the face of Indian television
Ekta Kapoor owns Balaji Telefilms, the most popular production house in India. Balaji Telefilms is considered as one of the most powerful women-owned businesses in India. Ekta Kapoor, daughter of yesteryear actor Jeetendra, is the Joint Managing Director and Creative Director of Balaji Telefilms, her home production company. She has had a huge successful run in the small screen, producing a host of television shows. She won the Hall of Fame award at the 6th Indian Telly awards (2006) for her contribution to the Indian television industry. She is now making a splash in the film industry as well. The Dirty Picture, co-produced by Ekta Kapoor and her mom Shobha Kapoor, has received critical acclaim and has set the box-office on fire.

Shahnaz Hussain – The Beauty Specialist
Hussain is the CEO of Shahnaz Herbals Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of herbal and Ayurvedic cosmetics. The Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world. She started her journey with a small herbal clinic in her own home, and created her own herbal treatments. She introduced a new concept of “care and cure.” She received the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur Award from the US-based Success Group in 1996. She also has the Arch of Europe Gold Star Award for Quality, the Golden America Award, and the Indian Government Awards for Export Excellence in her awards kitty. She was also honored with the prestigious Quality Excellence and Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur 2002 by Global Quality Management, in London. She was also awarded the Padmashri by the Government of India in 2006.

Ritu Nanda – Indian Insurance Tycoon
Ritu Nanda is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Escolife IT Services, a high technology platform that provides insurance services worldwide. She is also the CEO of the RNIS College of Insurance and Management. Having more than 55,000 clients, she finds a place amongst the top 1,000 insurance professionals in the world. She has been awarded the Brand Ambassador and the Best Insurance Advisor of the Decade awards from the Life Insurance Corporation of India, the largest life insurance company of India. She has her name listed in the Guinness Book of Records for selling 17,000 pension policies in one day.

Anu Aga – Businesswoman and social worker
Anu Aga, currently the Chairperson of Teach for India, was the ex-chairman of Thermax Ltd., the Rs. 3246 crore energy and environment engineering major. As its Chairperson, Aga helped the company make a niche in international markets and converted it into a key player in energy and environment projects. She stepped down from this position in October 2004 to pursue her desire for social work. She selected her daughter, Meher Pudumjee to replace her. Aga continues to be involved with Thermax as a member of the Thermax Board of Directors. Aga has contributed a lot for the education for the underprivileged and has given a number of inspirational talks on women empowerment, and corporate social responsibility. She was awarded the Padmashri for Social Work by the Government of India in 2010 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament, in 2012. She is a member of the National Advisory Council that advises the government on issues concerning the underprivileged masses of India.


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