Inspiring niyo women of India and their success stories! - series 1

Women can do-it-all! Whether it's a small business, multinational corporations or simply creating a niche for themselves in male-dominated industries, women have reached dizzying heights through struggle and perseverance.

Where every woman dreams of being independent and self-sufficient, Niyogin as an NBFC lends a strong support to these dreams of women entrepreneurs in the SME space in India.

With the changing tides, there are many stories which showcase the grit and confidence of today's Indian woman.

As we celebrate this new era of gender equality and mutual respect, let us look at a curated list of 6 inspiring Indian women who have set new benchmarks in their industries.

Kalpana Saroj

Chairman-Kamani Tubes | President-Bhartiya Mahila Bank

A heart-wrenching tale and a prime example of how SME funding can give wings to your business dreams. She availed business loans scheme for dalits offered by the Indian government. She heard an ad on the radio when she was recovering from traumas of child marriage, victim of abuse at the hands of her then-husband, discrimination and poverty.

She turned her life around investing the money in building a tailoring unit and building her empire from there step by step.

She is now the Chairman of Kamani and has a net worth of almost $112 million*

(*source credit:


Naina Lal Kidwai

Former Country-Head - HSBC, President -FICCI

Intelligent and born-leader are only some of the adjectives that describe Naina Lal Kidwai,

A chartered accountant and the first Indian woman to have an MBA degree from Harvard.

First woman to head a foreign bank. She was also the first ever woman president of FICCI.

An advocate of women empowerment, she wrote a book to chronicle the lesser-known women who have risen to power ‘30 CEOs in power’*

(*source credit:,


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Chairman - Biocon technologies

Non-traditional in true sense. Kiran became a “brewmaster” just like her father. Facing discrimination she turned to entrepreneurship. She built Biocon in India with only Rs 10,000* and challenges to build her now $3.2 billion* empire, not without challenges albeit.

She found it hard to get a loan being a woman and also building a team as no one wanted to work for lady boss.

(*source credit:,


Sindhutai Sapkal

Social worker

Abandoned by her family and husband Sindhutai had to resort to begging to survive. She came across other abandoned and orphaned children, she decided to adopt them eventually coming to be known as the “mother of orphans”. She has 1200* such adopted children, and her efforts continue to help the under-privileged.

 (*source credit:


Patricia Narayanan

Sandheepa chain of restaurants

Sole provider for her family, she started by selling snacks at Marina Beach in Chennai.

She and her son then went on to open a restaurant named after her late daughter Sandeepha.

The business grew and now she is a recipient of FICCI Woman of the year and Devi Award.

(*source credit:

Richa Kar


Engineering student turned entrepreneur. She founded

Zivame, an online lingerie store that is thoughtful enough to package deliverables discreetly without showing the product description or branding. In an industry cluttered with competition, Richa used her insights to make women comfortable in making purchases. A business decision aimed at making women's intimate wear more accessible was well appreciated by women audiences as well as the industry.

(*source credit:


Niyowomen is an initiative of niyogin to celebrate the women who have achieved wonders in their respective business fields, as an employee, social activities and entrepreneurs. This is the first blog in the multiple series, niyogin is an RBI registered public listed NBFC offering unsecured business loans to MSME's across India. 




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