As the country starts looking at a new financial year in April 2022, we at Her Circle are gearing up for a very special monthone where we celebrate the financial successes of Indias women entrepreneurs. Whether they run small businesses or big ones, these women have overcome immense challenges to chart their own course towards success and empowerment. Of course, there have been quite a few inspiring pathbreakers among Indian women entrepreneurs, who bravely led the way by becoming the role models we all need. Interested in knowing more about these women? Read on.Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, BioconShe started Biocon India with a seed capital of ₹10,000 in 1978, and the company grew from there to make Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw a Padma Shri awardee and a pioneer in the still male-dominated field of biotechnology. Mazumdar-Shaw has earned many accolades for her contributions as a businesswoman, including the Indian Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, the Othmer Gold Medal in 2014, and the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021. In 2019, she was ranked 68th in the Forbes Most Powerful Women In The World list. Biocon has continued to grow under her leadership, and its subsidiary, Biocon Biologics, is all set to file for an IPO in the next two years.Divya Gokulnath, ByjusShe studied Biotechnology in college and started teaching mathematics, English and logical reasoning in 2008, inspired by her own teacher Byju Raveendran. This career trajectory led to the creation of Byjus, the popular online education platform, which Gokulnation co-founded with her husband in 2011. In 2015, Gokulnath launched an online app with video lessons, many of them featuring herself. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gokulnath helped Byjus grow further by adding 13.5 million users between March and April 2020. A supporter of women in STEM, Gokulnath also helps mentor women entrepreneurs.Ritu Dalmia, Diva, Riga FoodShe started her first restaurant, MezzaLuna in Delhis Hauz Khas village, at the age of 22 in 1993and from there, she went on to not only become one of the most well-known chefs and restaurateurs in India but also an iconic member of the Indian LGBTQIA+ community. She started Diva, her celebrated Italian restaurant, in 2000 with partner Gita Bhalla, and now runs multiple businesses across Delhi. She also opened up a restaurant in Milan and another one recently at Mumbais Jio World Drive. This incredible entrepreneur, who identifies as lesbian, was one of the six people from the LGBTQIA+ community to file a petition with the Supreme Court challenging Section 377. Her contribution to the landmark 2018 repeal of the oppressive section is therefore noteworthy.Pooja Dhingra, Le15 PatisserieShe left a prospective career in law in 2004 to hone her incredible culinary skills as Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and Cesar Ritz in Switzerlandand returned to Mumbai to set up her first store in 2010 in order to create Parisian-style dessert experiences for an Indian audience. Expanding her enterprise in 2016, she went from employing two staffers to 42 by 2014. She hopes to expand her business further, taking Le15 across India.Namrata Asthana, Blue Tokai Coffee RoasterShe worked as a manager at PepsiCo before partnering with Matt Chitharanjan and Shivan Sahi to start a business based on a drink we all lovecoffee! Founded in 2012, Asthanas Blue Tokai sources premium coffee beans from some of the best estates in India, roasts them as per customer demands, then sells them to leading cafes, restaurants and hotels across the country. While they started off as coffee sellers online and through B2B partnerships, the company was able to expand and establish their own cafes in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Recently, the company raised ₹17 crore to expand further. Asthanas venture is clearly all set to dominate the coffee industry in India.Vineeta Singh, Sugar CosmeticsShe graduated from IIT Madras with a degree in electrical engineering, and from IIM Ahmedabad with an MBA, before starting Sugar Cosmetics. Vineeta Singh launched Sugar in 2015, a time when the Indian beauty market was dominated by international brands. And yet, Singhs brand was able to make a mark because its range of products is tailor-made for Indian women. She not only made her business a success, with a distribution network across 120 Indian cities, but also became the judge of Shark Tank India, a reality show that promotes entrepreneurship. Given that Singh always supports and highlights Indian women entrepreneurs, her life is truly inspiring.Priti Rathi Gupta, LXMEShe pitched a business idea at the Harvard Business School, and then took that idea to launch LXME, Indias first financial planning app that caters specifically to women. In an age where women are quickly learning to take charge of their finances, Guptas idea clearly struck gold! The app allows women to invest their money independently, fearlessly, and with all the financial literacy they need to make wise choices for themselves. Gupta believes that women are good investors, but often rely on husbands, brothers and fathers to invest their money. This is exactly the type of thinking that is making a big difference for women today, giving us all more opportunities.Richa Kar, ZivameShe worked for SAP Retail and Spencers, and while working for the former, she worked with Victoria's Secret, the renowned lingerie brand. It was then that Richa Kar realised that Indian women have had a long battle with discomfort around lingerieeven her own mother felt uncomfortable with the subject. But given that lingerie is not just intimate, but a necessity, Kar launched Zivame in 2011 to help women overcome their inhibitions around lingerie. Since then, Zivame has grown as a lingerie brand, transforming the lingerie shopping experience of an entire generation of women. Even though Kar has moved on from her role in Zivame, the fact remains that her role was critical in creating the lingerie brand that women slip into with such ease now.Asma Said Khan, Darjeeling ExpressShe started by hosting suppers for a dozen people at a time, charging 35 per head, and went on to create a thriving restaurant run by homecooks coming from immigrant South Asian backgrounds. Her business, a 56-seater restaurant in Soho in 2017, gained immense popularity when Khans story was shared in Netflixs Chefs Table in 2019. Her restaurant had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but Khan and her team of incredible women bounced back by the years end, when Darjeeling Express reopened as a 120-seater space in Covent Garden. The author of two popular cookbooks is certainly making a mark for Indian food, globally.Falguni Nayar, NykaaIn 2021, she became the wealthiest woman billionaire in Indiaone of the two self-made women billionaires India has currentlyafter her unique company went public. With a net worth of $6.5 billion, Falguni Nayars entrepreneurial venture, Nykaa, is one of the most successful businesses in India. Nayar launched Nykaa in 2012 at the age of 50 with her own money. The beauty and fashion e-commerce platform is expected to continue to rise under Kayars guidance.Anita DongreIn 1999, she launched AND, a line of contemporary Western wear for womenher first among many ventures over the years that brought Anita Dongre acclaim and appreciation in equal amounts. In 2015, Dongre rebranded herself as House of Anita Dongre, which now consists of AND, Global Desi, her label Anita Dongre, Anita Dongre Grassroot, and Pink City (a jadau jewellery brand). A proponent of sustainable fashion and women artisans, Dongres voice and work are both truly inspiring.Shubhra Chadda, ChumbakShe gave up a stable job and sold the house she shared with her husband so that the both of them could start Chumbak, a lifestyle brand that has some of the funkiest pieces to colour up your life with. Shubhra Chadda was on a break from work after her first child was born, in 2009, and a year later, Chumbak was born. Her company got a single-brand retail licence in 2017, after which Chumbak had stores across the 11 cities, and their revenues surged by 20.6 per cent. The company continues to grow under Chaddas leadership.Tanvi Malik Shivani Poddar, FabAlley, IndyaThey were regular, nine-to-five job holders living on a tight budget every month, when they realised that they could do something together to give working women more affordable, quality shopping options. So, in 2012, Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar founded High Street Essentials, a contemporary Indian fashion house, and FabAlley in 2015, the fashion houses online-only brand. FabAlley caters to millennial Indian women with affordably priced options, and now the site sees over 1.5 million active users. In 2016, the duo launched two more brands, Indya and Curve, and large format stores. The brand, hemled by two powerful women, is clearly going places and taking women along with them.Upasana Taku, MobiKwikShe left a corporate job to follow through her mission to make payment acceptance for retailers in India easier. With a background in working with PayPal in the Silicon Valley, Upasana Taku partnered with Bipin Preet Singh to start MobiKwik. After starting the company with a small team in 2009, Taku helped MobiKwik grow to a team of 200. Her achievements went beyond that of course, and over the years, MobiKwik has become a brand to watch out for. With 13 years of experienceseven of those as an entrepreneur in IndiaTaku is an entrepreneur who is leading the way in her field now.Vani Kola, Kalaari CapitalAfter a 22-year-old career in Silicon Valley, where she was a serial entrepreneur, she returned to India in 2006. Thats when Vani Kola started her first venture capital firm in India, called Indo-US Venture Partners, with Vinod Dham. In 2012, the firm was rebranded as Kalaari Capital, where Kola is the managing director. Under her guidance, Kalaari Capital grew from $150 million funds tp $650 million in assets by 2017. She has led investments in e-commerce, mobile services, education and healthcare, including Dream11, Urban Ladder, Snapdeal and Myntra.Aditi Gupta, MenstrupediaShe, like many women in India, understood that the stigmas, lack of education and awareness attached to menstruation was holding us all back. Thats why, in 2012, Aditi Gupta partnered with her husband, Tuhin Paul, to start Menstrupedia. Gupta collated information from doctors and young girls and women to create a comic book, a user-friendly guide to menstruation, menstrual hygiene, puberty and myths around it all. She even helped start the Touch The Pickle movement, and was listed in Forbes Indias 30 Under 30 list. Menstrupedia now receives one lakh visitors every month, and Guptas comic books are now being used by people across India to spread more awareness about menstrual health.Kirti Poonia and Manorath Dhillon, OkhaiShe joined the Okhai Centre for Empowermentwhich was launched in 2008 by the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Developmentand realised that the products created by the women artisans there deserved more. So, in 2015, Kirti Poonia turned the NGO into an e-commerce business which now reaches millions of women across India. Whats more, it celebrates the work done by hundreds of artisans and helps them get their dues too. In 2021, Poonia stepped down as the head of Okhai, and since then, Manorath Dhillon has taken over the reins of the company. The good work that Okhai does continues under the aegis of another powerful woman.Vandana Luthra, VLCCShe is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in India. Vandana Luthra started VLCC Health Care Ltd in 1989, at a time when women entrepreneurs were hard to come by in the world, let alone India. VLCC now operates in 326 lovations in 153 cities, across 13 South Asian countries. Luthra is now also the chairperson of the Skill and Council for the Beauty and Wellness Sector (BWSSC), and was appointed as the head of this beauty and wellness sector for the first time.