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Over the past few years, we have seen many women entrepreneurs in Chennai invading new domains and forging their own empires.
Over the past few years, we have seen many women entrepreneurs in Chennai invading new domains and forging their empires. Be it healthcare, retail, logistics or brand building, women entrepreneurs are making their mark in every field.
Updated by Zeta Pereira on 20 May, 2022
Tamil Nadu leads the trend with a maximum number of women entrepreneurs in the country.
The journeys of these women entrepreneurs in Chennai are equally fascinating. Here are the success stories of 8 women entrepreneurs in Chennai, which I found truly inspiring and compelling:
From living in a rented place in a slum in Chennai to building a company with a turnover of Rs 22 crore, four verticals, and 4,000 employees, G.Sree Vidhya, the chairperson and managing director of Ravindra Services Pvt. Ltd (RSPL), is one of the first women entrepreneurs in Chennai and all over India, providing security services to corporate houses.
Divorced at a young age and a single parent to her daughter, she went through a slew of jobs and managed to pursue an MBA from Indira Gandhi National University (IGNOU), before venturing into the security and guarding services.
It all started when Sree’s business associate, mentor and friend, Ravindra Padmanabhan, offered her a job at his start-up company Oncole Cleaning, which offered cleaning services for domestic segments. With her vision and insight, Sree upgraded it to housekeeping for corporates and later leapt security services.
After her mentor passed away in 2001, she bought the company in 2003 naming it after her him Ravindra Services Pvt. Ltd.
Essentially seen as a male bastion; Sree found it hard getting accepted as a woman who ran security and guarding services. She would go on night rounds, armed with just pepper spray, to check if the guards were at the post.
Now, her company has 15 per cent of the workforce as women and renowned clients such as L&T group to her credit. Further, her business has expanded into facility management (housekeeping, plumbing, electrical); security division, temporary staffing, and a trading division for supplying cleaning chemicals and machines.
A woman entrepreneur in Chennai, Madhu Saran, became a collective voice of women entrepreneurs in India, after being chosen as the Women Entrepreneurship Day Global Ambassador of India at the United Nations Headquarters in 2016.
She owns 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.
Once a software engineer, Archana Stalin, through her social enterprise myHarvest is encouraging 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. Depending on the package chosen, their team visits the customer’s house once or twice, 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. Through MyHarvest, Archana is also organising gardening workshops in schools to make children realise the importance of nature. Her initiative called, ‘Reconnect with Nature’ has been implemented in 4-5 schools in Chennai.
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 a lot of time and resources on administrative work, distracting them from focussing solely on their business. 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.
The duo felt that a lot of women quit jobs during maternity or post-baby. Through Wsquare, they want to help a woman get back to work, network and build their careers. Their incubation initiative now also helps women entrepreneurs in Chennai access mentoring and potential funding.
Padmini Janaki has come a long way from a young girl sceptical about visiting a male gynaecologist to a young woman building a company for women’s health.
Today, she is the CEO and Founder of Mind and Mom, a healthcare company focusing on women’s health through their early reproductory years to menopause.
‘Mind and Mom’ is an AI-driven and data-driven company for women, delivering personalized fitness, nutrition, lifestyle and well-being programs to optimize the health of women through every milestone of womanhood.
Padmini has always been fascinated by looking at the healthcare industry and was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work in a company that dealt with customers in the healthcare segment. Her strong belief in feminism combined with the society she grew up looking at steered her mind to build ‘Mind and Mom’.
Ashwini Asokan is the Co-founder and CEO of ‘Mad Street Den’, an AI company, powering retail, education, healthcare, media, finance, etc., with its image recognition platforms, Vue.ai and Blox.ai. Her desire to find meaningful applications of AI that can change both industry and consumer lifestyles led to the establishment of this company.
At Mad Street Den, Ashwini and her team give the power of sight and learning to machines, teaching them to see and experience the world as humans do. Working across India, the US, UK, Europe, and Japan, her team has been known to build some of the most cutting-edge AI tech and products.
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, founded by her older brother.
Since taking charge of Zoho Mail, she had led the company on a growth trajectory with her unwavering focus while competing with tech giants like Microsoft and Google. As of April 2022, Radha’s net worth as per Forbes is Rs 129 thousand crores.
Swetha is an award-winning social reformer. She is the Founder-Director and CEO of Born2Win Social Welfare Trust, an organization for the empowerment of transgenders.
Through this welfare trust, she has successfully arranged for employment opportunities and secured funds for education, and vocational training for many Trans* people.
As a child, Swetha, born Sudhakar, recognised her feminine traits, 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 have never deterred her spirit. She chose to rise above them all when she formed the Born2Win trust with her like-minded colleagues.
I hope this spirit of women’s entrepreneurship keeps growing and inspiring multitudes in Chennai – and across the globe!
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An engineer by profession but a writer at heart, I try to seek happiness through my writing. I am an avid reader, a blogger, and I like to write about books and my reflections on read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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