Economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950), explained the term ‘entrepreneurs’, as used for people who “are not necessarily motivated by profit but regard it as a standard for measuring achievement or success. They greatly value self-reliance, strive for distinction through excellence, are highly optimistic (otherwise nothing would be undertaken), and always favor challenges of medium risk (neither too easy, nor ruinous).”
Dr. Akansha Jain writes about how “the new generation women across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship. Yes, there is a section among women who believe in short-cuts but at the same time there is no dearth of women who are confident ,believe in themselves and have enormous fire in their bellies to take on the best in the business and beat them at their own game.”
In India too, we have a pool of women with relentless zeal and significant business sense. All these women can easily be regarded as role models for all individuals. The top 10 Indian female entrepreneurs we should all know about :
1. Indra Nooyi –
The current chairman and CFO of the second largest food and beverage business, PepsiCo, was born in Chennai, and pursued her BSc from Madras Christian College (in 1974), and a Post-Graduatuation in Management (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (in 1976). Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001. Nooyi has directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade and led PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of its restaurants into Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands. Nooyi also took the lead in the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, and merger with Quaker Oats Company, which also brought Gatorade to PepsiCo.
In 2006 she became the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 44-year history. In 2009, Nooyi was considered one of “The TopGun CEOs” by Brendan Wood International, an advisory agency. In 2010 she was named Number : 1 on Fortune’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women” and Number : 6 on Forbes’ list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. After five years on top, PepsiCo’s Indian American chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has been pushed to the second spot as most powerful woman in US business by Kraft’s CEO, Irene Rosenfeld. She serves as a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships, and has served as Chairperson of the U.S.-India Business Council.
2. Naina Lal Kidwai –
The first woman from India to graduate from Harvard Business School in 1982, and also the first woman to channel the functioning of a foreign bank in India, Kidwai, apart from being a banker, holds the following positions of Non-executive director on the board of Nestle SA, Chairwoman, City of London’s Advisory Council for India, Global Advisor, Harvard Business School, Member of the governing board of NCAER, audit advisory board of controller and Auditor General of India, Member of the National Executive committee of CII and FCCI, and the National Advisory board member for AISEC India.
Celebrated with the Padmashri Award, listed in Fortune Global list of top women in Business, Ranked 12th in the Wall Street Journal (2006), listed as one of the top 15 Global Influentials (2002), she is also a dedicated home-maker with great love for Indian Classical music, and is a flawless example of a complete woman.
3. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw –
The CMD of Biocon, Shaw, is the founder Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited. Born in Bangalore, Shaw completed her Bachelors in Zoology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University. She later did her post-graduation in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University. She worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne. She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company.
Today Biocon under Shaw’s leadership has established itself as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology. Kiran is also a member of the board of governors of the prestigious Indian School of Business and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. Kiran received the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India.
4. Chanda Kochar –
Currently the MD & CEO of India’s largest private bank ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochar was born in Rajasthan. She got her Masters Degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, and also received the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies as well as the J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy. Chanda Kochhar is married to Deepak Kochhar, a wind energy entrepreneur and her Business schoolmate.
5. Indu Jain –
A humanist, an Indian women entrepreneur, spiritualist, educationalist and patron of art and culture, Indu Jain is also the founder President of the Ladies Wing of FICCI and Bhartiya Jnanpith Trust which hosts India’s most prestigious and highest literary award (Jnanpith Award). She was ranked 317 richest person in the World and India’s top 20 richest person.
This 75 year old Indian women entrepreneur handles the philanthropic genre of the Times Foundation. She is the Chairperson of India’s biggest media group, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd which also owns the Times Group.
6. Simone Tata –
Born and brought up in Geneva, Switzerland and graduated from Geneva, she married Naval H. Tata after meeting him and falling in love with him, on one of her tourist visits to India. They married in 1955 and she settled down in Bombay permanently. She joined the Board of Lakme Ltd in 1961 and was appointed as the Managing Director in 1964. This was followed by taking over as Chairman of the Board in 1982. From small beginnings, Lakme blossomed to be the leading cosmetic company in India. It also exports to several foreign countries.
In 1989, Simone was also appointed as a Director of Tata Industries Ltd, which is Asia’s largest private sector group, with over ninety-one companies in various sectors. Simone has been responsible for setting up a chain of successful department stores under the brand name of Westside. Starting from one single store in Bangalore in 1998, it now operates sixteen stores located in major cities around India and plans to double its coverage by 2005. Apart from her business activities, Simone is connected with several social organisations to which she devotes much time.
7. Neelam Dhawan –
A woman with ‘never-say-die’ spirit, Neelam Dhawan is presently the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP), India. She is an iconic figure in Indian IT industry . An inspiration for women working in IT sector, she dared to enter the IT world in early 1980s when there were just a handful of women in this industry. At the start of her career she yearned to be a part of major players in the FMCG space such as Asian Paints and Hindustan Lever.
Unfortunately, these organizations did not want a woman to be a part of their marketing and sales efforts and hence she was rejected at the time. But a determined Neelam refused to give up and fought back with laurels galore. Before joining HP, India as Managing Director (MD) , Neelam was Managing Director (MD) of Microsoft, India. She had successful and rewarding stints with other leading players like IBM and HCL.
8. Mallika Srinivasan –
The current Director of TAFE (Tractor and Farm Equipment), Mallika has an MBA from Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania. She joined TAFE in 1986 and has since been responsible for accelerating turnover from 85 crores to 2900 crores within a span of two decades. Her innovative business ideas and excellent leadership qualities have won her laurels from every quarter. She was awarded ‘Businesswoman of the year 2006’ award by ET.
She led the company’s growth to its present status with revenues of US $1.6 billion with diverse interests in tractors, farm machinery, diesel engines, engineering plastics, hydraulic pumps and cylinders, batteries, automobile franchises and plantations. Under her leadership, TAFE has not only been a consistently profit generating company but also one of the most profitable tractor companies in the world. In 2011, she was voted Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young; awarded the Woman Leader of the Year award by Forbes India; recognized by Forbes Asia as one of the Top 50 Asian Power Businesswomen, ranked second among India’s Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune India and named among the six Most Powerful Women of India Inc. by Business Today.
9. Priya Paul –
Chairperson of the Apeejay Park Hotels, Priya joined the family business at the age of 22 and worked under her father as Marketing Manager at the Park Hotel, Delhi. After the death of Surrendra Paul, she succeeded him in 1990 as the Chairperson of the Hospitality Division of the Apeejay Surendra Group. Her contribution to the hospitality industry has got recognition from the government of India which conferred on her Padma Sri award in 2012.
By 1995 Paul had mapped out a vision of the properties as a collection of luxury boutique hotels combining five-star service with contemporary design and sought-after public spaces acting as local meeting places. “Our hotels are not just places for travelers to lay their heads, but happening meeting places in the city that they are in. If you are a guest at our hotels, you are engaging in a local hub”, she said.
10. Sulajja Firodia Motwani –
The Joint Managing Director of Kinetic Engineering Ltd, she is the in charge of the company’s overall business developmental activities. With her strong determination and courage, she has been able to establish a niche for the firm in the business world. The company has witnessed tremendous expansion during her tenure. Throughout her studies, she has been a rank holder. Prior to joining Kinetic Company, Sulajja worked for a period of four years with a well known investment analytics company, BARRA International, based in California. She has been an active participant in setting the operations of the company in India.
“India Today”, a well known magazine honored her by presenting her with the title of business “Face of the Millennium”. It ranked her among the top twenty five business entrepreneurs of the country. She was presented with the Society Young Achiever’s Award for Business in the year 2002. The same year, she was chosen as the “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. In the year 2003, the Institute of Marketing and Management bestowed her with the award for excellent performance as the woman CEO. She also received the Young Super Achiever Award from the leading magazine “Business Today” in 2003.