The list of #50 women from India to follow on Twitter (click link to see the list) allowed me to find and highlight some wonderful women on Twitter. Women who were leading their niche, as recommended by other twitter users. The incredible response generated by the list (shared more than 3000 times in 4 days) made me realize how important it is to create such list that enable more connections, greater inspiration and fantastic role models for women and men.
One such person on our list of 50 women to follow was Sarika (Founder of www.bizdivas.in). She is an award winning entrepreneur herself and helps mentor and guide other women who wish to launch their business. A woman with a passion on a topic is all we needed to create another list !
I requested her to create a #WOWfactor list of ‘active’ Indian women entrepreneurs to follow on twitter. Her filters are better than mine. After all it is her niche ! We are hoping that others will recommend more women so that the list become the WOW factor list of #50 women entrepreneurs from India to folllow on twitter.
Here are some women she recommended to us. I would love to hear ‘your’ recommendations on who else should we follow and why. Do provide twitter handles and a brief background. They should be living and working in India.
Help us highlight Indian women entrepreneurs on twitter to the global community on twitter.
Marrianne Williamson once said ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ‘
In the past few decades women have taken rapid strides in every field one could imagine. Women have held the highest offices in the country and have served with dignity and success. They have persevered in the roughest and most demanding of professions and achieved results which have surprised the whole world.
India has many women Entrepreneurs who have proved their mettle and have taken the whole country by storm. These pioneer women have proved their mettle by rising to the top of their game.
Gone are the days when women, even when accepted in the world of commerce, would be stereotyped into a few professions. Women have been successful in the entertainment and fashion industries for a long time. But today, the likes of Kiran Majumdar Shaw (CEO of Biocon, India), Neelam Dhawan (MD, Microsoft, India), Niana Lal Kidwai (head of HSBC in India) and others of their ilk rub shoulders with men in board rooms and are continuously proving that women are and can be as successful as men.
When I was asked to compile this list, a whole gamut of names came to my mind not all were on twitter though. Twitter itself has so many that choosing a few was very difficult so I decided to focus on those who very active on twitter and were well known even outside twitter. I am hoping that this blog will invite people to comment and add to this list so that it grows to the 50 women entrepreneurs from India to follow on twitter !
I hope you find inspiration in my curation and help spread the word so our list grows longer each day. Here are some names to get you started:
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur. She is the Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon Limited a biotechnology company based in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was born on March 23, 1953 in Bangalore, India.
Mazumdar-Shaw completed her schooling from the city’s Bishop Cotton Girl’s High School (1968). She wanted to join medical school but instead took up biology and completed her BSc Zoology Honors course from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University (1973). She later did her post-graduation in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University (1975).
She worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia. She also worked for some time as a technical consultant at Jupiter Breweries Limited, Calcutta and as a technical manager at Standard Maltings Corporation, Baroda between 1975 and 1977.
She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzyme manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company with a well-balanced business portfolio of products and a research focus on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune diseases. She also established two subsidiaries: Syngene (1994) to provide development support services for discovery research and Clinigene (2000) to cater to clinical development services.
Her pioneering work in the sector has earned her several awards, including the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India. She was recently named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is on the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women and the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list She is also a member of the board of governors of the prestigious Indian School of Business and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad.
Ekta Jeetendra Kapoor (b. 7 June 1975) is an Indian TV and film producer. She is the Joint Managing Director and Creative Director of Balaji Telefilms, her production company. Ekta Kapoor is the daughter of Jeetendra and Shobha Kapoor and the sister of Tusshar Kapoor who is also a Bollywood actor. She did her schooling at Bombay Scottish School, Mahim and attended college at Mithibai College.
She has produced numerous soap opera, television series and movies. Her most popular television series include Hum Paanch, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Kahiin To Hoga, Kaahin Kissii Roz, Kkusum, Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai, Kasamh Se andBandini . She is currently producing Pavitra Rishta, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, Parichay, Kya Huaa Tera Vaada & Gumrah End Of Innocence.
She branched out into Bollywood movie production in 2001 beginning with Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta . Kucch To Hai and Krishna Cottagebased on supernatural themes followed in 2003 and 2004. Kyaa Kool Hai Hum starring her brother Tusshar Kapoor proved to be her breakout hit and went on to become one of the highest earners of 2005. She then went on to co-produce Shootout at Lokhandwala with Sanjay Gupta which became her a profitable venture at the box office. Mission Istanbul and EMI – Liya Hai Toh Chukana Parega in collaboration with Sunil Shetty followed. The years 2010 and 2011 proved to be important for her with critical and commercial success such as Love Sex aur Dhokha, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Shor in the City, Ragini MMS and The Dirty Picture. Her upcoming productions include Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum, Lootera, Shootout at Wadala, Once Upon a Time Again, Ek Thi Daayan, Gippie, Milan Talkies & Ragini MMS 2
“And clearly, our grandfather is our inspiration. First, he set up a successful textile business (The Leela Lace) right from scratch and then he began the hospitality venture when he was 64 years old. There’s no stopping him,” Aishwarya says. A brand that is dedicated to luxury, the sisters have added a breath of fresh air to the workplace. With Aishwarya capitalizing on her talent in the bakery department, she is constantly innovating by organizing pastry exhibitions and gourmet pet food in the food and beverage division. Pets-a family fetish-are the driving force behind a lot of work they do. Sahachari foundation, founded by Lakshmi Nair, their mother, is a charitable organization that works towards promoting art and culture. It is through this foundation that Aishwarya launched her bakery brand, Docle, a part of whose proceeds, still go to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While Amruda boasts of owning two cats, Aishwarya goes on to tell us about her Yorkshire terrier and two turtles. “We also had a rabbit, but he was stolen while our house was being renovated. Can you believe that?” adds Aishwarya with shock. “The Sahachari foundation is very close to my heart. And the way the girls are taking my work forward, I’m hoping to hand over the reigns to them after me,” says Lakshmi, a devoted lover of the arts. “I always had a creative flair. And my family recognized it at the right time and channelled it towards food and beverage,” says Aishwarya, who picked up her skill for baking at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York City, where she worked soon after her specialized course in culinary arts management at the Culinary Institute of America, New York. If you think she has her hands deep in the dough, there’s still more. Also responsible for wine acquisition for the group, she hosts exclusive wine tastings in all the seven operating properties in India. She is also working with two international fine dining brands, Megu and Le Cirque, both of which launched in The Leela Palace, New Delhi.
Swati A. Piramal is the Vice Chairperson of Piramal Life Sciences Limited and Director of Piramal Healthcare Limited.
Dr. Piramal received one of India’s highest civilian honour’s, the Padmashri award, by the President of India, Ms. Pratibha Patil on 4th April, 2012 She has been nominated as one of the 25 Most Powerful Business Women in India eight times and is now a member of the Hall of Fame of the Most Powerful Women. She was the first woman in 90 years to head the Apex Chamber of Commerce ASSOCHAM in 2009 – 10. She has contributed towards innovations in Public Health Services and other projects. She has been a part of public policy related to health care which led to major policy changes that help reduce the spread of life-threatening diseases.
Dr. Swati Piramal also serves on Indian government public policy expert committees for trade, planning, environment, arts, women’s entrepreneurship, national integration and regional development.Holding the board positions in several healthcare,financial, manufacturing and service companies she also serves on the boards of Indian and international academic institutions. Dr. Piramal is a member of many Indian and foreign business councils, and has received numerous Indian and international awards.
Dr. Swati Piramal has been elected as a member of the most prestigious and the oldest boards in the world – The Harvard Board Of Overseers. She is one of the five new Overseers elected to the board for a six-year term. The Harvard Board Of Overseers is more than 350 years old. President John F. Kennedy served on the board in 1957.
Rajshree Pathy, is an eminent entrepreneur from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. She is the Chairperson and Managing Director of the Rajshree Group of Companies and Founder of India Design Forum. The Rajshree group has varied interests – Food and Agro business, Energy, Real Estate, Travel, Health and Hospitality and Arts. She also promotes performing arts and contemporary art movement in Coimbatore through the Contemplate Art Gallery and COCCA. Rajshree Pathy is the daughter of famous industrialist Shri G. Varadaraj, of PSG Families engaged in Charities and Educational Institutions for more than a century. Her father was also a former Rajya Sabha MP. She is married to S.Pathy, Chairman & Managing director of Lakshmi Mills. Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals Ltd. is a company with interests across integrated fields such as Sugar, Distillery, Power Co-Generation and Biotechnology. The range of products includes White Crystal Sugar, Alcohol, Organic Manure, Bio-products and Power. A specialty Demerara Sugar is marketed under the brand name RSCL Sugar Brown. RSCL with its Corporate office in Coimbatore, has three modern sugar-manufacturing units located in Tamil Nadu one at Varadaraj Nagar, Theni District, the second at Mundiampakkam, Villupuram District and the third at Gingee, Villupuram District. RSCL also has a Sugar factory located at Zaheerabad, Medak District in Andhra Pradesh.
Radhika Roy is an Indian media baron and co Chairperson and Managing Director, NDTV. Radhika Roy has over ten years of experience in print journalism, with leading publications such as “Indian Express” and “India Today”. In the mid-80s, she co-founded NDTV. Radhika has won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Information, Communication and Entertainment in the year 2003.
Radhika Roy married Prannoy Roy in 1972 and they have a daughter Tara RoyRadhika is the sister of a Rajya Sabha member and CPI (M) politician, Brinda Karat. A media titan in her native India, Radhika Roy is a former speech pathologist who pursued her dream of becoming a journalist and transformed a garage-startup production company into an internationally renowned news operation comprising three channels and over 1,000 employees. Widely recognized for her uncompromising devotion to journalistic and business ethics, Roy—cofounder, co-owner, and managing director of New Delhi Television (NDTV)—has consistently demonstrated that empires can be built without sacrificing principles. Together with her husband, Prannoy, she has galvanized Indian television, with such accomplishments as breaking the government’s hold on television news by founding the country’s first privately owned news channel. After persistent lobbying for airtime on the state’s public television broadcaster, Doordarshan, NDTV busted through with The World This Week, a weekly international news program produced by Radhika Roy. A combination of hard work, a strong product, and fortuitous timing helped the Roys build brand awareness, as the program covered such seminal international events as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the conflict in China’s Tiananmen Square. NDTV’s success attracted the attention of the Tata Group, one of India’s oldest and largest business conglomerates, which signed on to sponsor a daily news bulletin called News Tonight, making Roy the producer of India’s first privately produced nightly news show. In 2003, Roy launched NDTV24x7 (English language) and NDTV India (Hindi channel) to retain editorial control over the news they were producing. She espouses a bold business philosophy based on being unafraid to take chances, and has backed that up by repeatedly tackling the establishment: “We’ve taken risks, gone against the norm, and broken new ground.”
Farah Khan born 9 January 1965) is an Indian film director and choreographer. She is best known for her choreographic work in numerous Bollywood films. Khan has choreographed dance routines for more than a hundred songs in over 80 Hindi films. Khan has since become a noted Hindi film director as well. In addition Khan has worked on international projects such as Marigold: An Adventure in India, Monsoon Wedding and the Chinese film Perhaps Love.
Khan was studying sociology at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai when Michael Jackson’s Thriller was telecast. She was so inspired, that although she hadn’t danced before that, it soon became her vocation. She learned to dance basically on her own, and set up a dance group. When the top choreographer of the time, Saroj Khan walked out of the film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Farah got her break, and this was her first film to choreograph. This was followed by many more songs which became national hits. She met actor Shahrukh Khan on the set of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa and the two have since become good friends and started working together.
Khan’s father Kamran was a successful stunt filmmaker. Her mother Menaka is of Zoroastrian origin and is the sister of screenwriter Honey Irani and former child actor Daisy Irani. Farah’s brother is comedian, actor and film director Sajid Khan. When their parents’ marriage broke up, Farah and Sajid were shuttled between different homes. In May 2012 Farah Khan admitted to having had a tummy tuck. Film personalities Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar are Farah’s cousins.
Farah married Shirish Kunder, the editor of her film Main Hoon Na, on 9 December 2004. They have since worked together on each other’s films, such as Jaan-E-Mann, Om Shanti Om, and Tees Maar Khan. Farah gave birth to triplets on 11 February 2008; one son, Czar, and two daughters, Diva and Anya.
Not too many entrepreneurs can be said to be embodiments of their enterprise. But Vandana Luthra of New Delhi is certainly one. She is slim and svelte. She is, of course, beautiful in the classical Indian mold, and she carries herself with the grace that only comes with enormous self confidence.
It’s the sort of self confidence that is engendered, quite possibly, from the knowledge that one is entirely self made. And that Ms. Luthra certainly is. She’s the founder and mentor of the VLCC, India’s leading slimming, beauty and fitness brand, and one with seven outlets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and an eighth center scheduled to open in Al Ain in May. There are VLCC slimming, beauty and fitness centers in Muscat and Bahrain, and by next year there will be a total of some 28 across the Middle East.
The largest number of VLCC centers, of course, is in Ms. Luthra’s native India – 150 of them in 75 cities. She facilitates professional development through her vocational training school, the VLCC Institute of Beauty, Health & Management, which currently has 43 campuses in 35 cities.
“The entrepreneur as an educator – that would be a fair way to characterize me,” Ms. Luthra said. “Fitness and well-being are a matter of education, and for that you need skilled trainers.”
Her own training after graduating from Delhi University was in nutrition and cosmetology in Germany. Then Ms. Luthra took a series of specialized courses and modules in beauty care, fitness, food and nutrition and skin care in London, Munich and Paris.
And then she returned to her middle-class home in New Delhi, India’s capital, and started a neighborhood beauty parlor. It was an instant success, and it emboldened her – with the canny assistance of her swarthy but handsome husband Mukesh – to start VLCC.