A Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry survey found that 12% of startups have been forced to shut due to COVID-19. It’s not all sad news though. According to the central government, 52,000 new companies opened in India during the pandemic. That’s what we would like to focus on today, in particular – success stories of women entrepreneurship in India.
A report by Bain & Company found that pre-pandemic, India had an estimated 13.5 – 15.5 million women-owned enterprises. These enterprises employed anywhere between 22-27 million people the report said. Despite the economic slowdown, the report found that 54% of women entrepreneurs quickly shifted their business model.
The economic slowdown though, hasn’t lasted long. With everyone stuck at home, there has been a huge rise in demand for everything from food to digital services over the last few months. That’s where these enterprising women came in, they saw an opportunity and decided to take it.
Thanks to them, millions of Indians now have access to better products and services. Not only are these made in India, but they are also economical and flexible to the unique needs of our country. We’ve got you some stories of women entrepreneurship in India who emerged successful in these troubling times!
Lizzie Chapman, Zestmoney
Founded in 2015, Zestmoney has been helping millions of Indians access to credit and financing for the first time. During the pandemic, the company has seen a huge growth in its ‘buy now, pay later” scheme for electric vehicles (EVs), as people opt for more personal vehicles over public transit.
The growth, most notably in tier 2, 3 and 4 cities is a sign of how popular EVs have become in India. Lizzie and her team have given many people access to these vehicles for the first time, which will no doubt help India become a greener cleaner country.
Rakhi Khera, Abiti Bella Enterprises
A great example of women entrepreneurship in India, Rakhi’s western and maternity fashion store Abiti Bella Enterprises was roaring before the lockdown. Then, as the nation went indoors, her income dried up. Instead of giving up, Rakhi pivoted to manufacture Enklose – a reusable and washable overall.
While it isn’t a substitute for PPE, Enklose has already become popular with society workers, beauty salons and hotels. Through the power of Facebook, WhatsApp and word-of-mouth, Rakhi has already sold 1,000 kits in Gurugram. She is currently in talks with large hotel and salon chains to expand her reach.
Shalini Raj, Journey Weavers
Started in 2015, Journey Weavers was meant to address Shalini Raj’s wanderlust. However, with travel effectively shutting down due to the pandemic, Shalini quickly realised she needed to pivot. What better market to target than weddings?
Now, the company is the place to go to organise weddings. From obtaining government permission to organising caterers and gifts, Journey Weavers does every little thing. It’s not the only thing though. The company plans to enter the corporate gifting space, to help stay afloat. Now that’s a great example of women entrepreneurship in India.
Vaishali Chinnayya, Nimble Vision
Since early 2019, Vaishali Chinnayya and her husband have been running Nimble Vision. The company creates and sells Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to monitor water consumption. However, the couple saw an opportunity during the pandemic and decided to take it.
Ni-Varak is a contactless thermometer that can provide readings on a mobile phone app. The phone also takes the photo of the person and stores the user data locally and updates the remote server, which is synced to the app and Web dashboards.
Suhani Mohan, Saral Designs
Struck by the plight of low-income women’s struggles, Suhani and Kartik founded Saral Designs. The mission was simple – to provide affordable menstrual hygiene products. They created and sold a machine – SWACCH – that could be used for sanitary napkin production. That made napkins cheap and accessible to women who couldn’t afford branded products.
When COVID struck, Shani repurposed the SWACCH 4.0 machine to produce masks. The easy-to-use machines have made mask production faster, easier and more accessible. Till date, Saral has distributed over a million masks through Mahindra and Mahindra’s CSR unit. Costing between ₹4 and ₹10, the masks have become integral for frontline workers in Mumbai and beyond.
Chitrangada Gupta, Boju’s Kitchen
Pandemic or not, we can’t give up our love for food. Food businesses have been thriving, and Boju’s Kitchen is no different. Started by Chitrangada Gupta and her grandmother Maiyya, the business was a result of the latter being stuck in Delhi due to the lockdown.
An ideal example of women entrepreneurship in India, the duo has been selling hot home-made momos in Delhi since July. Available for a very reasonable price, these delicious momos have taken the city by storm. And all it took them was an investment of ₹2,000.
This is just a small sample, all over the country, there are plenty more examples of women entrepreneurship in India. It is great to see women leading the way, refusing to be held back by the pandemic. As highlighted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2020 Report “women are generally more purpose-driven than men. Women starting a business are more likely to agree with the motivation of making a difference to the world.”
We at Onsurity want to congratulate not just these five, but all the women out there making a difference. Your courage and determination encourage us, as a team, to
How do we do that? It’s simple, we have partnered with other companies to provide a digital-first healthcare plan available as a subscription. You can read more about our plan TeamSure by Onsurity here. Head to our home page to sign up and give your employees the healthcare they deserve.