Top women entrepreneurs of rural India


Women Entrepreneurs are not a very rare term that can’t be heard of instead it’s very common but the women entrepreneurs of rural India are the real deal now. The women entrepreneurs of rural India may not have all your fancy offices, funded and registered start-ups but what they have in abundance is the courage to start something on their own. Although these women entrepreneurs were constrained by society and burdened by the responsibilities but they have significantly contributed to the economy of the country and also their homes. Reports also say that if the women’s participation matches that of the males in the economic activities then India’s GDP will rise by 27%.

The concept of women entrepreneurs of rural India is a comparatively new concept rather than the women entrepreneurs of urban India. And so the government and various NGOs have been working hard towards helping them. And some of the top women entrepreneurs of rural India are as follows:

  • Navalben Dalsangbhai Chaudhary – Navalben Dalsangbhai Chaudhary a 62-year-old lady from Gujrat broke all the records when she recently sold milk worth Rs. 1.10 crore in 2020, earning a profit of Rs. 3.50 lakhs per month. While in the year 2019 she sold milk worth Rs. 87.95 lakhs and which just increased in the year 2020 amidst a pandemic going on. And this makes her not only a women entrepreneur of rural India but also an example to look forward to not only in her town but also across the country. And this story of Navalben brought many more stories of milk sellers with an income of more than 70 lakhs per annum. Like Malvi Kanuben Rawatbhai sold milk worth Rs. 73.56 lakhs whereas Chavda Hansaben Himmat Singh sold milk worth Rs. 72.19 lakhs per annum.
  • Gunavathy Chandrashekharan – Gunavathy Chandrashekharan a 41- year old woman from Tamil Nadu living up to the meaning of her name that is ‘Gunavathy’ which in Hindi means, ‘one with the skills’. And well, when Gunavathy started her quilling work and making beautiful masterpieces by turning paper scarps in beautiful artworks. Although she had started it only as a passion but she slowly gained pace and then she turned it into a full-time business with Guna’s Quilling. And then in the year 2015, she was invited by the British Council to address a gathering as a successful entrepreneur who also later became a part of the Quilling Guild, a UK-based group for quilling experts.
  • Anita Devi – Anita Devi who is a lady in her late 40s is popularly known as the ‘Mushroom Lady of Bihar’ who started growing mushrooms as a way of earning for her family in the year 2010. But with time and progress she succeeded and today she runs the ‘Madhopur farmer’s Producers Company’. Although she has succeeded today as a female entrepreneur but the way up here has not been easy and she had to face a lot of challenges thrown at her by the society but that did not stop her from working hard towards the development of her family and other women. She works with many NGOs and SHG’s (Self Help Groups)to help women across the state of Bihar.
  • Godavari Satpute – Godavari Satpute a 38-year old woman from the state of Maharashtra is famous for her paper lamp manufacturing business which she started in the year 2009 when her family was going through a huge economic crisis as her husband lost his job. But a walk through the local bazaar brought Godavari a million-dollar idea and that was to make paper lamps and with her husband’s support she eventually started Godavari AkashKanndila and it was a hit. Later she was even awarded the ‘Women entrepreneur of the year’ at the Youth International Business Awards 2013. Now Godavari employs many other women and helps them became financially and individually strong and independent.
  • Sobita Tamuli – Sobita Tamuli a 35-year-old woman from Assam runs an all-women self-help group that manufactures organic manure and makes traditional Assamese Japis (conical-shaped wide-rimmed Assamese hats) called the ‘Seuji’. Sobita started this business when she was married off as a teenager back in 2002 along with help of the other females in her neighborhood. Sobita’s priority while doing business is leaving the middle man out and also doing everything from scratch.

The list of women entrepreneurs whether belonging to rural or urban India seems to be never-ending with the emerging of new opportunities for them daily. Although the women mentioned above are worth mentioning for their contribution to the society and towards the development of women in the society. But like already mentioned there many and many of them who have been coming forward and making significant contributions towards the development of women and the nation like Pabiben Rabari an entrepreneur from Gujrat who runs an enterprise that empowers women artisans known as ‘pabiben.com’. This all-women company makes bags, files, quilts, dhurries, cushion covers, and many more. Not only that it also employs a special craft form invented by Pabiben – ‘Hari Jari’(which is a machine application of readymade elements).

Then we have the amazing Anita Gupta originally hailing from Gujrat who founded the NGO ‘Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra’ which encourages women from a small town for formal education and employment training. The NGO has successfully trained nearly 25,000 women in almost 400 skills and has also formed around 300 self-help groups around Bihar. 

Saloni Malhotra, founder of the country’s first-ever rural BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) where Saloni employs the inexperienced and the untrained youth of rural India. This Desi Crew provided support services and back-office in the rural areas of India in the state of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. She has also been awarded the young entrepreneur of the year in the year 2007. It is not only Saloni who has taken such an initiative to help the youth of India but we also have Ela Bhatt the founder of Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) who plays an important role in helping women of rural India in becoming self-reliant and helping them get full-time employment. Followed by Chetna Gala Sinha the founder of Maan Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank which is a microfinance bank run by the women for the women. She encourages rural women for learning entrepreneur skills and she also provides them with lands and means of production so that they easily earn a living and become financially independent. 

Although all the women mentioned above are the perfect examples for the development of women in India but as a nation, we still have a long way to go to overcome all the problems faced by women and promote women's entrepreneurship. And the most important thing that one can learn from all these stories is the immense courage that these ladies showed while going through a crisis or being rebellious enough to break the stereotypes and all the constraints of forced upon them by the society. And they are also sharing their success with other women by providing them opportunities to become self–independent and reliant. While simultaneously contributing to the economic growth of the nation. And if this process continues where one woman helps the other to overcome difficult situations, soon all the beautiful women out will be able to overcome all darkness of the ongoing pandemic and economic problems of the world.



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