The states of Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep observe their Founder’s Day in November. In this connection, it is significant that the government of Punjab is committed to create a favourable ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the state; and, it was announced in Oct 2022 that woman entrepreneurs will be in focus – to make Chandigarh a startup hub. Then, with the state of Tamil Nadu displaying the largest number of women entrepreneurs, Lakshadweep has to track a faster trail.
Here are some prominent women entrepreneurs of Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep.
> Guninder Kaur, Boutique owner & Social entrepreneur
Punjab-based Guninder Kaur was born and brought up in the city of Karnal. After graduating in Home Science, her passion for music led her to qualify in Instrumental Music from D.A.V College for Women, Karnal. In her youth she did encounter challenges and she got married at an early age of 21; and tied up with a joint family’s responsibilities she couldn’t take up any profession. After 22 years of marriage, she got an opportunity to work, and her Boutique was launched.
Her boutique is involved with hand-painted and block printed women’s dresses and dress material, which reflects her passion for painting. Then in 2000-01 she entered the Women’s Largest Service Organisation – Inner Wheel in 2000-01.Totally devoted, currently she is associated with Inner Wheel Club District 307 as District Chairman.
> Ruby Marjara, Founder, Waves Knitwear
Ruby Marjara has her own knitwear label for women called Waves. She has a post-graduate degree in textile design, and being financially independent was critical for her. In keeping with Ludhiana’s conservative milieu, her family could not understand her strong desire to work; but her husband’s support and resilience opened up opportunities for her.
In 2000, when the family business hit a rough patch, she kept the family afloat. With survival at stake, she did different types of work — like organizing lifestyle exhibitions to selling life insurance. In 2004, she launched Waves; and in 2010, she started the Yellow Tree, a premium fashion and lifestyle biennial event that socialites of the city looked forward to. Then she took up Kilol’s franchise in 2018. So the road has been rough, but very eventful that led her to sureshot success.
> Radhika Arora, Founder, Maa Ka Pyaar
Missing the food cooked by her mother, steered Radhika Arora to start a business of her own. Rather than opting for the tiffin services, she started her food cart called Maa Ka Pyaar. Located in Mohali, the food cart offers delicious homemade dishes like – rajma chawal, kadhi chawal, chana, bhindi amongst other tasty options. It aims at making ma ke haath ka khana
approachable and affordable for people who stay outside their hometowns.
Incidentally, she quit her corporate job as an HR and invested around Rs one lakh to start her own business; and she even painted and decorated the food cart herself and started selling homemade food to professionals. Last but not least, her effort has born fruit, for everyone loves the food offered by her and everyone appreciates her innovative start-up too.
> Mausumi Acharyya, Founder, Advenio TecnoSys
Chandigarh-based Mausumi Acharyya is the founder of Advenio TecnoSys, a start-up that develops diagnostic software that aims at assisting medical professionals in getting an early diagnosis. Advenio uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning to develop
software to analyse many medical images and arrive at a quick final diagnosis.
Her qualifications are impressive – for this tech entrepreneur has a PhD in computer science and a post-doctorate degree in medical imaging. Through Advenio, she aims at democratising healthcare by providing rapid, affordable and reliable diagnoses of critical medical conditions
through clinical imaging. Significantly, her start-up was selected to represent India at the DLD
Tel Aviv Innovation Festival in Israel.
> Sunita Joshi, Founder, Logismith
Women in the field of logistics in India are, today, progressively striking success. In Chandigarh, 50-year-old Sunita Joshi founded Logismith in 2016 after her divorce. This logistics service company today helps Amazon India and BlueDart with last-mile delivery.She did face hurdles but soon overcame them. In the early phase, since she was a woman, she was frequently told she couldn’t make it on her own in the logistics sector. But she remained steadfast, and with her mother and close friends supporting her, she succeeded.
> Madhu Saran, Founder, STC Technologies & ABC Clinic
After being chosen as the Women Entrepreneurship Day Global Ambassador of India at the United Nations Headquarters in 2016, this woman entrepreneur from Chennai, Madhu Saran, became a collective voice of women entrepreneurs in India.
She founded – STC Technologies, a software testing firm and ABC Clinic, a chain of cosmetic clinics with centres in and around Chennai. She also runs an NGO – River, which aims at empowering women and has fuelled many entrepreneurial ventures in the city to support women entrepreneurs.One such venture is Mami’s House of Coffee on wheels (MHC) which endeavours to empower women from all walks of life with an alternative means of livelihood and provide the coffee lovers with freshly brewed coffee.
> Archana Stalin, Founder, myHarvest
Once a software engineer, Archana Stalin, through her social enterprise myHarvest encourages people to grow their pesticide-free food on their roof-tops and terraces. myHarvest offers customized packages to customers that are inclusive of soil, seeds, fertilisers, and other necessary equipment. Plus, depending on the package chosen, their team visits the customer’s house – to understand their requirements and provide them with a list of plants they can choose to grow.
They also guide them on how to use the tools and manage their garden besides providing online and offline support for their queries. She also organises gardening workshops in schools to make children realise the importance of nature. Her initiative is called, ‘Reconnect with Nature’.
> Vandhana Ramanathan and Jinal Patel, Co-founders, Wsquare
Chennai-based marketing professionals, Vandhana and Jinal had started working out of coffee shops, when they launched their digital marketing agency. Later, they realised the need for an office, which meant spending time and resources on administrative work. Through this personal experience, the duo came up with the solution and launched Wsquare, a women-only co-working space in Chennai that helps entrepreneurs and professionals focus on their work
(without having to worry too much about office-related or domestic chores).
The co-working space is designed for women from all walks of life, with a special focus on pregnant women and new mothers, who are unable to work from home or want to network. Since they felt that a lot of women quit jobs during maternity or post-baby, they wanted to help such women get back to work, network and build their careers – through Wsquare.
> Radha Vembu, Co-founder, Zoho Corporation
Radha Vembu is India’s third-richest self-made woman billionaire today. After graduating with a degree in industrial management from IIT-Madras, Radha joined Zoho Corporation (a software development company), originally known as AdventInc, that was founded by her older brother. Since taking charge of Zoho Mail, she had led the company on a growth trajectory with her consistent focus, while competing with tech giants like Microsoft and Google.
> Swetha Sudhakar, Founder-Director & CEO, Born2Win Social Welfare Trust
Swetha Sudhakar is an award-winning social reformer. She is the Founder-Director and CEO of Born2Win Social Welfare Trust, an organization that caters to the empowerment of transgenders. Through this welfare trust, she has successfully arranged for employment opportunities.
As a child, Swetha, born Sudhakar, recognised her feminine traits, and kept them hidden in a closet from her family and continued to lead a dual life for a long time. But conflicts in her personal life did not stop her and she chose to rise above all troubles, when she formed the Born2Win Trust with her like-minded colleagues.
> Chitra Gurnani Daga (CEO & Co-founder, Thrillophilia)
Every famous tourist place possesses its exclusive activities, for instance, scuba diving in Lakshadweep, yoga within Himachal Pradesh, etc. And this woman entrepreneur works around tourism in these amazing places.
Chitra Gurnani Daga, served in several multinational corporations like Infosys, and finally arrived at setting up a tour startup. It is known as Thrillophilia, which aimed to design a stage for tourists, where they can schedule a variety of interesting activities.
The idea was to build a stand for free migrants, including corporates, to schedule adventures in the areas they were touring – like yoga in Himachal Pradesh, scuba-diving in Lakshadweep, or skydiving in Tamil Nadu. Now, Thrillophilia offers higher than 5000 such adventures within India.