The status of women has significantly changed in Indian society and for the better. Many talented and powerful women have emerged and introduced fantastic business ideas to the world, enjoying great success today.
Want to know the names of the women who are making an impact? Here is the list of 10 Indian ladies who started from nothing and are enjoying noteworthy success today:
1. Gunavathy Chandrasekaran
Gunavathy turned her passion into a business. She is a 41-year old entrepreneur who sells quilled artwork from jewelry, greeting cards, miniature figures, and so much more under the brand name Guna’s Quilling. Her story is truly inspiring.
Also known as Guna, Gunavathy belongs to Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She successfully survived a polio attack at the age of 2 but was left with a limp. Because of her disability, her parents married her by 16. Guna found her solace in hand-made artwork. She determined to become finally independent. Over the years, she taught herself how to make scraps of paper into beautiful artwork and slowly pick pace.
Today, she is known as the award-winning micro-entrepreneur from Chinnalapatti. Her craftsmanship is awed by so many. It was in 2003 when she found quilling art to be her calling. One of her friend’s daughters gifted her quilling earrings, which got her attention, and Guna immediately took lessons from the Internet.
She started experimenting with earrings, miniature pieces, and wall art. Unfortunately, her art didn’t sell right away. Her brother’s friend ordered 40 pieces of wall art to support her. These pieces were given away with Guna’s name. People started to appreciate her work, and she received orders slowly. Her family also helped her set up a stall at a jute fair in Muduari. The response she received there was overwhelming. That’s when she decided to start her own brand. Today, this inspiring lady is part of a UK-based quilling club called Quilling Guild. She has also trained more than 2000 artisans to pursue their own careers in quilling.
Lesson: Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your passion, not even disability.
2. Godavari Satpute
Coming all the way from Nari, Maharashtra, Godavari runs a paper lamp making business that was fromed in 2009. By the age of 38, she managed to run her own manufacturing unit offering employment to several women in her village.
Before she got this crazy idea, Godavar and her family were barely making ends meet. Her husband lost his job, and the family didn’t have enough money to feed their children. She spotted paper lamps in a local market and decided to make them at home and sell them.
Initially, she faced a lot of difficulty in finding investors for her business. She managed to borrow money from her relatives without interest, which laid the foundation for her business. She approached Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust for further aid. The trust also enlightened her with entrepreneurial guidance to take her business to the next level.
Her paper lamp company is registered by the name Godavari Akashkandil. In 2013, they managed to make a revenue of Rs. 30 lakh. Godavari is on the mission to make women financially independent. She has also appointed a doctor for the community that anyone can approach in a medical emergency. In 2013, she bagged the women entrepreneur of the year award by Youth International Business.
Lesson: One small good gesture can lead to several good things.
3. Sobita Tamuli
Sobita hails from the Telana Village, Assam. She started her business back in 2002 when she was just 18 years old. At that time, she was married and had no formal education. She manufactures and sells and organic manure and traditional Assamese japis under the name Seuji. It’s all women’s group. Her recipe for manure is simple. It consists of cow dung, earthworm, a banana plant, and some fallen leaves. All these raw materials are available locally. Her manure is highly popular among farmers for its popularity.
She started with making manure and eventually ventured into japi making as well. Japis are conical hats featuring wide rims. Her company doesn’t involve middlemen. Instead, her community’s females are her helpers since her mission was to attract visitors to small markets. Now, she is all set to penetrate the agar bati market. Sobita is a living example of the saying that simple opportunities can change your life forever.
Lesson: With hard work and determination, you can achieve anything, even if the odds are against you.
4. Pabiben Rabari
Yes, she is the lady who introduced the world to Pabi Bags. Pabiben started embroidery from an early age and invented a new art of embroidery called Hari Jari.
Pabiben was one of the three daughters of a widowed mother. She could not go to school and hence was drawn to traditional embroidery, which she learned from her mother. In her community, every girl had to learn embroidery to make clothes for her dowry. And if a girl couldn’t learn it, she couldn’t get married. In the 1990s, her community decided to end this harsh tradition. To keep the art alive, Pabiben invented a new art that involved machine application of ready-made elements. She called it Hari Jari.
The first accessory she made from this embroidery was a shopping bag, which was an instant hit. Eventually, her business picked up the pace, and she earned her husband’s support. She was the first one in her community to launch an e-commerce site called Pabiben.com. Her art has also been featured in many Bollywood and Hollywood movies. Through her business, she created employment opportunities for women in her village.
Lesson: With pure intentions, you can win anything.
5. Anita Gupta
Anita Gupta is the lady who witnessed the injustice women in her community go through every day, and that inspired her to form Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra. She was very young when her grandfather bought a girl to bear his children. He used to beat that girl brutally. Anita thought to herself that her parents would never have sold her if this girl wasn’t poor or educated. Hence, she was determined to bring change.
Anita was in her 20s when she decided to take a bold step and end gender violence. With her brother’s help, she founded her NGO to empower women in the rural area, educate them, and train them for employment.
In 1993, women were not ready to step out of their house since their lives revolved around household duties. In 2000, Anita finally received a senior IAS officer’s support, and the rest was history. The NGO gas created 300 self-help groups to promote livelihood, vocational training, health amps, and adult education. The organization has successfully trained 20,000, rural women.
Lesson: Anita’s story gives the powerful lesson that once you are determined towards a mission, and you keep taking steps, you will get there, eventually. Just don’t stop.
6. Chinu Kala
Chinu deserves to be on the list of women who started from scratch. She was 15 when she had left her parent’s house in Mumbai because of some family disputes. Kala had no choice but to sell knives and coasters from one door to another with an uncertain future. Struggling to make money, she had to survive one a single meal a day.
She started exploring other job opportunities. After getting married in 2004, she enrolled in the Gladrags Mrs. India Pageant and reached the finals. From there, she entered the modeling industry. She started her own merchandising company named Fonte Corporate Solutions. After several practical business lessons, she realized there’s a massive gap in the Indian jewelry market despite the presence of several unique designs. She closed her firm and founded a jewelry business in 2014 by the name Rubans accessories.
After a successful response from customers, she eventually rented a space for her shop in Forum Mall. It took 2 years of hard work and struggled to find a space in the mall. She had a month to arrange the deposit for the store. Fortunately, she received a great response and was able to pay the deposit.
Lesson: Don’t stop till you get what you want.
Lalfakzuali was returned to her parent’s house when her husband divorced her, and she had to lose everything she had worked for. Luckily, she was able to take custody of her son. The moment she stepped back to her father’s place, she was determined to earn a living.
Her family used to create shawls and puans from bright colored yarn. When her parents passed away, Lalfakzuali and her sisters decided to continue the weaving business. Lalfakzuali was in charge of the weaving, and her sisters managed the sales.
Lalfakzuali was determined to educate her son. Even though they had no money, they decided to expand their business and buy another loom. She was able to find investing through Milaap, a funding platform, and now she owns five looms.
Lesson: When one door shuts, there’s another one with a great surprise waiting for you.
8. Babita Devi
Babita is a VLSC entrepreneur in a village of Jharkhand. This woman introduced her business to her village in 2013. She gathers rice, grains and pulses from her community members and sells them to the block market. She buys the produce from the farmers at their doorsteps, which has helped them save transport money.
Since the middleman is eliminated from the process, both the producers and Babita makes good money to feed their families. Babita Devi earns up to one lakh per month, which is sufficient to provide for her family and take care of children’s education expenses.
Over the years, she has built a reputation in the community, and everyone values her for her contributions. She went through a lot of challenges to earn the trust of the community. Being a female with no education, people wouldn’t treat her well. Now that she is trusted, the people of her village appreciate her efforts. She is raising three children. Her eldest daughter is getting a nursing degree from Hyderabad. Babita Devi wants her children to get a good education, flourish, and do well for their community.
Lesson: Don’t stop to appease people, keep on following your dreams.
9. Mridula Jain
Mridula was born to a conservative family, and she got married at a young age. She expressed the desire to study with her husband, who supported her dreams. She earned a master’s degree in English literature and joined a school after completing her degree. While she was studying, she birthed two sons as well.
Managing home and school was getting difficult, which forced her to quit her job and raise her sons. Meanwhile, she was tutoring kids from home as well.
Who would have thought a lady in her 70s would get a chance to pursue her dreams. A conversation with her nephew inspired her to make shawls. She introduced shawls with a pattern called phulkari. This design caught the attention of buyers immediately, and her business picked up the pace.
She started small in Ludhiana with a small handloom enterprise, which is now a leading manufacturer in India known for its scarves, stoles, and shawls. Now, Mridula is sponsored by the government to travel to Europe, explore the wool industry abroad, and teach the locals the best practices. She also negotiated with the government to import power looms for faster production.
Lesson: When opportunity knocks at your door, grab it and become who you always desired to be.
10. Manisha Bhati
Manisha Bhati from Pune was working in a bank when she decided entrepreneurship is her calling. She noticed that most people lack the soft skills to sell themselves, and there wasn’t a platform that could help them groom. This gave her the idea of starting her counseling company.
She had the idea, but no money. She wasn’t even able to find investors or get a bank loan. Instead of asking her aging father to support her, she told her jewelry to fund the idea. With the help of her colleague, she was able to start Dreamhunt. The company holds one-on-one counseling sessions to help people groom and get professional training to excel in their careers.
Lesson: You are bigger than who you think you are.