Contrary to popular belief, enterprising women are not an exception. In fact, far from it. Although early startups saw mostly men riding on the twin steeds of technology and sudden success to set up diverse companies, women entrepreneurs in India have since carried the torch of entrepreneurship with resolve and quiet efficiency.
Many of them shoulder the enterprising spirit, and the awesome responsibility that comes with it, with the same, understated application and brilliance as—to name one great woman—Marie Curie, the pioneering scientist. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained,” said Curie more than a century ago. It holds true of women in developing countries to this day.
There are hundreds of startups begun by women in India. Many are running successfully, though, as is the nature of new efforts, some have gone under or changed the nature of their businesses. The successes have encouraged a new generation of women to sell their vision in the marketplace of ideas. Enthusiastic investors have backed their dreams with funds.
Outlook takes a look at women’s startups, inspecting a slice of the most interesting or zany attempts in entrepreneurship, to give an insight into a phenomenon which has sprung into sudden life. Here we celebrate the energy of a woman who, when she hit rock bottom in her life, assured herself that the only way out was up, setting out to start an all-women delivery fleet.
We marvel at the scientific temper of someone who took her knowledge to deliver an affordable and efficient system to detect breast cancer. We salute the equanimity of one who was adamant that physical handicap did not mean people could not enjoy their holidays like the able-bodied. And we support the courage of a woman who challenged a conservative society by setting up a lingerie business. Read about the life and achievements of them and more women of substance in the following pages.