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Bangalore ranks 40th amongst the top 50 Global cities for women entrepreneurs. So, here are 4 highly successful women entrepreneurs in Bangalore and their wonderful success stories.
Women entrepreneurship is on the rise in India with nearly 14% of the business establishments in the country being run by women. The rising number of women entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Kochi and several other cities bear witness to these changing trends.
An avid traveler and former marketer at NetApp, Shubhra Chadda always toyed with the idea of turning into an entrepreneur someday. Often, she brought home souvenirs that happened to be mostly fridge magnets, from the places she visited. Evaluating her collection of souvenirs one day, she realized, there was no India-centric magnet. That’s how the idea of ‘Chumbak’ came up. However, being quite young at that time and pursuing a corporate career, she decided to pursue it sometime later.
While on her maternity break, her husband pushed her to work on this idea and she decided to take it up. Being a complete novice in the field of retail and design, she had to start from scratch and it took her a year to understand the industry. To fund Chumbak, she even sold her house for Rs. 40 Lakh. On March 2010, she shipped her first order. Her first range of products included magnets, keychains and cushion covers. The response she received to her work was overwhelming and over the years, Chumbak has evolved into a lifestyle brand. She now has Chumbak flagship stores in Bengaluru and Delhi and 35 pop-up stores across India.
The Chairman and Managing Director of India’s largest biotechnology company – Biocon Limited, Kiran Mazumdar Shah pursued her graduation in zoology and biology from Bangalore University, aiming admission into a medical college. However, she couldn’t get a scholarship.
With not many options in hand, she decided to study fermentation science on her father’s suggestion and train to become a brewmaster. She studied Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College of Advanced Education in Australia and was the only woman who had enrolled for this course. After earning the degree of Master Brewer, she worked as a trainee Maltster and brewer in few firms in Australia. As there were no options for a woman to be a Master Brewer in India, she started exploring for jobs abroad and was offered a position in Scotland.
Just before moving to Scotland, she met Leslie Auchincloss – founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, who was looking for an Indian Entrepreneur for establishing a subsidiary in India. And that marked the beginning of Kiran’s entrepreneurial journey. She worked briefly as a Trainee Manager at Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland to understand the business details. Later, she started Biocon India in 1978, with a capital of Rs 10,000 from the garage of her rented house. Due to the untested business model, her gender, lack of credibility, she faced many challenges in the beginning. In fact, her first employee was a retired garage mechanic.
However, her efforts paid off as Biocon became the first company in India to be able to manufacture enzymes, and export them to United States and Europe within an year of its inception. Now, she is a billionaire entrepreneur and her company has evolved as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology.
Rashmi Daga, founder and CEO at FreshMenu, is another successful name among women entrepreneurs in Bangalore. An IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, she had worked across a wide range of companies, including IBM India, Johnson & Johnson Medical, TutorVista, BlueStone and Ola.
In 2014, she decided to quit her high profile job and become a food entrepreneur. The immense opportunity in the food industry and her own love for food made her choose it as her business arena. Before FreshMenu, she had also started an online curated art marketplace afday.com in 2011 but it was shutdown a year later.
Starting with a single kitchen setup in 2014, Freshmenu has now more than 25 fully functional kitchens across 4 cities in India, and is being backed by the biggest investors. Rather than having a central kitchen, Freshmenu has multiple satellite kitchens, each serving the area within its 5 kilometres. It has raised around Rs.72 crore in FY17 and aims at doubling its revenue in the coming years.
Richa Kar, Co-founder, Zivame, is amongst the most influential women entrepreneurs in Bangalore. An MBA and an IT graduate, she gained considerable understanding of the retail market while working for a few years with Spencers and SAP retail consulting. During her research on the lingerie market in India, she came across the fact that approximately 80% of women still wear wrong sized bras. Further, most women felt shy to speak about their preferences when it comes to the lingerie selection.
To make the lingerie shopping an easy and enjoyable experience for women, she came up with the idea of Zivame. However, convincing her family and friends to start this business was one of her biggest challenges. Another challenge was the category of her business as a lot of people feel uneasy while discussing innerwear. Nevertheless, within a few months of the launch of her business in 2011, she was ready with all the answers. Now, Zivame is a prominent online brand with a revenue of over 250 crores.
We hope these women entrepreneurs in Bangalore continue to inspire many others around them!
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