Meet the 25 POWER WOMEN of Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs aka COWE. Their stories are inspiring and impactful and are bound to motivate more women to embrace entrepreneurship. We give you a glimpse of what went into their ventures to be able to stand as beacons of hope in the startup and entrepreneurship scenario.
COWE – Telangana Chapter was launched on November 22, 2017, to concentrate and focus on providing training in various skills to needy women throughout Telangana district areas. COWE Telangana Chapter, Hyderabad, has been concentrating on conducting EDPs, ESDPs, seminars, workshops, COWE marts, awareness programs, national and international exhibitions for the benefit of women entrepreneurs and members. More than 3000 Women have been trained and benefitted through our programs. More than 30 women availed loans to set up their businesses through COWE. We at COWE strive to empower women through entrepreneurship by imparting relevant training, counselling and handholding to enhance their skills and to continuously improve our services to the members through knowledge sharing and advocacy. We have ISO – 9001-2015- Compliance certification.
COWE India started its journey in Hyderabad – Telangana (previously undivided AP) in 2004 with six successful first-generation women entrepreneurs as directors. With government support and guidance, COWE India focused on empowering women through promoting entrepreneurship and crossed the 15-year milestone. It is a not-for-profit organization registered under the Companies Act. COWE India has statutory MOA, AOA, and Bye Laws. It is one of the leading women business associations which works towards enhancing the spirit of women entrepreneurship.
COWE India has been concentrating on conducting EDPs, ESDPs, seminars, national and international exhibitions for women entrepreneurs and members. Since its inception, thousands of women have benefitted through its 200 programmes which have impacted the lives of more than 10,000 women through our training programmes.
Aluri Lalitha, President, COWE Telangana chapter
Managing Director of Balaji Scan Pvt. Ltd., broke the glass ceiling years back by helming a company in the male-dominated printing industry. Her company is now one of the largest offset printing press in Hyderabad for the past 26 years. Trying to scale up in highly unorganised industry like printing press was tough, but with deep knowledge and understanding of the technology, combined with hands on work experience on the shop floor, she transformed her dreams into reality. She implemented LEAN Manufacturing in her Unit.
Her success can be attributed to the fact that she listened to her customers' queries and provided solutions and practical suggestion to achieve results. Lalitha’s aim is to form a printing cluster in Hyderabad which will be an advantage to SSI printing units. She joined COWE in 2005 and served in various posts and now she is the president of COWE-Telangana Chapter under her dynamic leadership various new programme was introduced. 123 new members joined and more than 1000 rural women empowered through various skill training. Her mission is to spread COWE activities in all Telangana districts and to setup rural business centres.
Aarathy Sampathy Social entrepreneur
Aarathy Sampathy, in her mid-seventies, is a social entrepreneur and a grandmother, who chairs Siva Sivani group of institutions. Her entrepreneurial journey was a result of a “burning desire” to provide valued education to children and youth.
It was a humble beginning with just five students, and today 50 years later, the group of institutions has over 4,000 students, and thousands have graduated with varied specialisations. She takes all major decisions, including policy-making related to the administration. She says that her association with COWE provided her with excellent experience in communicating and sharing the experience with many motivated women entrepreneurs.
Dr Bora Geetha Reddy Entrepreneur
A double doctorate, a multi-talented professional and a first-generation entrepreneur from an orthodox family, Dr Bora Geetha Reddy is the founder and CEO of Yashmi Solutions, a five-year-old company with services in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. She is a digital media professional, recruiter, a legal counsellor and an astrologer too.
She is determined to provide all variety of services at pne place. She plays a pivotal role in COWE. A recipient of the Woman of Excellence Award in 2019, she chose to be an entrepreneur because it makes her feel empowered, imparts an authority beyond measure and appeals to the leader in her. In the next five years, she wants to be a top businesswoman.
Jyothi Dama IT professional
The managing director of Tanya IT solutions which handles crucial e-governance projects, Jyothi Dama was born in a political family with radical views was interested in social service and wanted to become an entrepreneur and contribute back to society.
A post-graduate degree holder started her career as a faculty in Sri Chaitanya CA Academy. In 2015, she started Tanya IT Solutions which dealt with many prestigious government projects like ration cards, Aadhar and epic cards, installation and maintenance of LED street lighting in many states. The firm with 300 employees in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka states.
Komala Devi Founder, Brihat Venica Herbal Products
The founder of Venica Herbal Products, Komala Devi has always been a big believer in herbs and it was a natural transition to build a business venture around herbal products. Her company is into the manufacturing of hair and skin care products including hair oil and hair packs since 2015.
“All our products are licensed by AYUSH Department, Telangana Government and that means they are 100 percent herbal and organic.” A professional beauty consultant, electrolysis specialist and cosmetologist for the last 30 years, she has treated many customers. She underwent training in Canada. A movie and TV actor besides being a dubbing artiste, Komala believes “Your hair is own crown.”
Deepika Joshi Founder, Ideaovator
Pandramisi Deepika Joshi is the founder of Ideaovator Soutions Pvt Ltd and ICSL. Deepika has about 13 years of experience in IT industry and has worked on several e-governance & IT projects. She has a passion for environment protection and conducted several programmes on environment and sustainability. Her company offers technology-enabled sustainability solutions and is working on Industry 4.0, Waste Management and Circular Economy Consulting. A few significant products of the company are Smart Keychains and Smart ID cards that work as an SOS device and is helpful for women safety and tracking. Eco-kart is a unique e-commerce platform for eco-friendly products.
Anuradha Karati Entrepreneur
Hard work and determination are her mantras. Anuradha Karati started off as an accountant and is now an entrepreneur. She now successfully provides a wide range of services like risk & claims management and tailor-made insurance solutions through ‘One Stop Solutions’ with a huge client base which includes pharma companies, Engineering industries, hospitals, schools and HNI’s.
Recently her company also ventured into promoting real estate ventures. She is also a part of All-India Committee for General Insurance GIAFI as it’s National Treasurer and the only woman in the managing committee and she is also a proud executive member in COWE.
Vysetty Sunitha Rani Entrepreneur
Vysetty Sunitha Rani started her life as an entrepreneur when she stepped into the shoes of a director for her husband Sridhar’s company ‘Think Grey Ads Pvt Ltd.
She focused on the financial management of the company and has been credited for making it a top advertising company. Sunitha has always been a believer in creating eco-friendly products and she stepped into jute bag manufacturing ‘Just Green Leaf’ in 2018. “The challenge is to motivate people to use jute bags by making them available within a reasonable price,” she says. Her dream is to make more products such as soft luggage, greeting cards, moulded door panels and other innumerable useful consumer products.
Sravani Potluri Chief Architect
The principal architect of IN-EX (Inspire Nature Expression), Sravani Potluri is into cutting edge architecture, interiors, landscape and project management. A Masters in architecture from the University of Liverpool, the UK, she said she decided to come back to India and start her own firm despite getting plum offers abroad. As a woman, Sravani says she has encountered numerous hurdles during her journey. These included various social, business and mental obstacles. “Women entrepreneurs have unique and powerful perspectives to offer every industry and walking in that power means walking with confidence – not arrogance or fear. She says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Pearl Ganta Media professional
Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ur Vision Communications, Pearl Ganta is the power woman in media and entertainment. “The media is a great tool to help bring a paradigm shift in issues that matter to humanity. In 1997, people didn’t really respect women in media especially as a director, but my husband Alex Ganta and my parents encouraged me to follow my passion,” she says. Her 18-year-old company is a full-service production house that produces media content for television, radio, social media, or print. In the next five years, she will be focussing on dishing out edutainment products which would promote self-belief, equality and wellbeing in the society.
Pragya Nagori & Mridu Nagori Ecopreneurs and Ideapreneurs
Pragya Nagori and Mridu Nagori, co-founders of Oorja - Nurture Nature with O!OORJA are into eco-friendly and handcrafted products. It all started in 2006 when the duo was less than five years and as part of Nanhi Pari programme in their colony, creating marvellous from the discarded. They are soon coming up with a start-up O!Oorja, as an e-commerce platform for the eco-friendly product manufacturers and buyers. “Our products are beautifying parks, traffic islands, colony benches, etc, made using eco-bricks reusing non-biodegradable products and plastic,” they say. They spread the word about climate through nukkad naataks and band performances,
Soudhamini P, National President
Soudhamini started their entrepreneurial adventure into automobile repainting services and later invented the automobile paint system with heat technology that cut turnaround time by 80%.
In the late nineties, when India became the outsourcing capital of technology for the world, she had chosen to start with medical back-office services companies based in India and USA. They also have a Software Service Unit for Electronic Health Records and Practice Management System.
Though the medical back office services were fading away in India, their company is sustaining with great value and vision in developing and implementing value-based medical software to the doctors and groups in US. Currently, her company, Vision 2K India LLP, is serving over 400 medical groups and Individual Providers and supports over 600 employees.
Soudhamini takes new vertical initiatives initiates and follows up until stabilized. She has received “Best Women Entrepreneur” award from the Association of Lady Entrepreneurs in 2003, and the “The Red cross Society” award twice from the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and once for Revolutionary Contribution to the Surface Painting Industry.
Namita Banka, Entrepreneur
Namita Banka, the MD of Banka Bioloo Limited has always been at the forefront of sanitation entrepreneurs and with a reason. The problem of poor sanitation and lack of clean toilets for women in public spaces made her start her own venture.
An environmentalist, who had turned her passion into an entrepreneurship journey, she is proud to state that her company “converts shit into reusable water and gas” and develop solutions around sanitation. “I am pretty much attached to the idea of developing people like me,” so I am working with COWE on that segment.” She is going to dedicate her time and effort in helping a select group of 20-25 women entrepreneurs, and help them scale their business.
Radha and Harsha Kiran Businesswomen
Manchala Ashok jewellers owners Radha Kiran and Harsha Kiran, the sister duo behind the brand Manchala Ashok Jewellers which specialises in light-weight 916 KDM gold jewellery, believe that the quality and variety of their products have put them where they are now. “We hail from a family with a 35-year-old business and hence starting our brand in 2010 was a natural transition,” they say.
While Radha Kiran is a double postgraduate and a gold medalist in designing, Harsha Kiran is an MBA who has worked in Germany for two years. “We are popular for our Pachi jewellery, Kundan, polki, temple, diamonds and bridal jewellery designs and we can also arrange for giveaway gifts for kitty parties,” they say.
Madhavi Venkat, Proprietor, Mugdha Designs
Mugdha Madhavi Venkat is the proprietor of Mugdha Designs and a first-generation entrepreneur. Mother of a 20-year-old girl, she says, “Just a thought can’t work out itself, it needs a vision, hard work and support to get what one really wants.” And this is what I believe has happened to me as well.
Being independent and helping the poor are the thoughts that inspired me in life. Being a woman I always aim at contributing my part for women empowerment. I am a double post-graduate and PG diploma holder in fashion designing fom SV University in Tirupati. With this experience I started my own business in 2007 with the distribution of fabric products and then promoting eco-friendly products.
Dr Babita Mukyhara Chief Technology Officer
Dr Babita Mukyhara, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of KCS Pride Products LLP which deals with zero-maintenance water softener used for domestic and agricultural sector, says that she was drawn towards entrepreneurship as she feels that entrepreneurs are driven with the need to succeed and control their own destiny. “Entrepreneurship makes you contribute directly to society. My dream is to help farmers for their societal benefits,” she says.
She attributes her success during her growth phase to the support rendered by B Krishna Murthy, the CEO of the company who guided her startup. What’s her big five-year plan? “To expand my business beyond the national borders,” she says.
Kotrike Vijaya Gupta Entrepreneur
The story of Kotrike Vijaya Gupta’s venture Royal Gifts dates back 15 years ago on the auspicious occasion of Varalaxmi Pooja. In an effort to break away from the practice of giving out mundane return gifts to the visiting devotees, Vijaya gave away Agarbatti Storage boxes as keepsakes.
This unique gift was an instant hit with her friends and soon requests poured in for help procuring more such gifts, thus started the journey of Royal Gifts.
Today, there are more than 150 items to its catalogue including creative hand-made articles. “We have traditional return gifts for all occasions including pujas, weddings, birthdays, house warming, baby showers to memorialise your happiness,” she adds.
Usha Yanamandra Image Consultant
Life is all about being able to bounce back, believes Usha Yanamandra, an internationally-certified image consultant, certified career mentor, trainer. A proud member of COWE, with 20 years of diverse cross-industry work experience having travelled across 16 countries, the Founder and CEO of UR Consulting and Training enjoys “*Making You Future Ready*” by offering a bouquet of services.
Corporate styling, personal branding, men’s styling and personal shopping are the other services her firm offers. She is into lifeskills training to all age groups for the last 15 months. Her firm is part of Top 10 Most Promising Image Management Companies of 2020.
P Karthyayini Entrepreneur
P Karthyayini listened to the call of prime minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Startup India’ programme and his call to create jobs rather than seek them and the encouragement given by him to women entrepreneurs. She stepped into the startup scenario with her fashion textile venture Trisha Trends in Secunderabad.
A self-starter with a creative mind, Trisha Trends is into printing, dyeing, designing of saris, dress materials, home furnishing items such as curtains cushion covers, bed linen etc. “I have been successfully running the unit and delivering high-quality products at affordable prices within the buyer’s budget and to total customer satisfaction,” she says.
Rashmi Verma Entrepreneur
Rashmi Verma is the founder of Shubhda Collection that deals in women apparel. Based on her prior experience of running a home business and the fact that her husband started his own IT consulting business, her elder sister advised her to restart the business.
With family providing the initial seed capital, she went to Lucknow and partnered with a manufacturer for Lucknow chikan. She joined COWE shortly after starting and it was a great platform to meet enterprising women who had good advice to run and expand the business.
In the next five years, she sees herself looking at more Indian craftsmanship in clothing, mainly in saris, and trying to make them as popular as possible.
Dr N Geetha Nagasree Doctor
Dr N Geetha Nagasree is a senior consultant surgical oncologist at Care Hospitals, Hyderabad. She is the founder of Asvins Cancer Care Foundation. Reputed to be the first formally qualified lady surgical and gynaecological oncologist of the state, Dr Geetha Nagasree is an alumnus of Guntur Medical College, and completed her MD from National Institute, JIPMER, Pondicherry.
She finished her Super Specialty Degree MCh (Surgical Oncology) from Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre, Bengaluru. She received training and work experience in reputed Institutes like MNJ Institute of Oncology and RCC, Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Institute and Research Centre etc.
Kenisha Sabnani Entrepreneur
Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ‘Kenisha Styles’, Kenisha Sabnani set out to bring the luxury of a personal stylist in the online world since a decade. Ever since then, Kenisha Sabnani has lived and breathed this vision. Her passion towards etching new fashion trends has positioned her a global Stylist / Image Consultant in all countries she travelled so far.
The goal of her brand ‘Kenisha Styles’ is to serve as a one-stop solution to both Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) communities, pertaining to project a remarkable image to achieve high confidence and be the best version of oneself inside out.
Sharmila Jainn Founder, Metalika Industries
Sharmila Jainn is an entrepreneur who started her journey setting up a playschool and she ventured into the manufacturing of stainless steel utensil and commercial kitchen equipment and a five-decade industry.
She was state ranker in her early education and her marriage didn’t stop her from studying further. She completed her studies through correspondence and added a few certification courses in pre-school management and training. Sharmila started her entrepreneurial journey when she launched her preschool “Stepping Stones” in the year 2005. She has been running the school successfully for the last fifteen years now.
Neeraja Godavarthi Co-founder & ED, Ekasila Chemicals Ltd
is an entrepreneur, a musician, an Ikebana enthusiast who has composed world’s first song on Ikebana and released her music CD on Soundarya Lahari. She is an executive committee member in COWE. Neeraja joined her husband’s business, who himself was a first-generation entrepreneur. She drew inspiration from her husband’s entrepreneurial journey and decided to join the family business. Her work experience, in a private limited company, came handy in this. She started managing the finance and commercial matters of her company She did not experience any challenge in transitioning from her job to taking over a part of the family business.
Bhargavi Koripalli Founder of Scion Legal Group
She is a post-graduate in Corporate Law and a gold medallist from Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU). She is a practising advocate in High Court. The firm’s pragmatic and result-driven approach has made them a trusted advisor to various corporates and regional companies and startups.
The firm practice concentrates primarily on civil, criminal, IPR and corporate matters from preparing and negotiating agreements to successful deal closure. She serves as a member of various Internal Committees constituted under Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013, and provides probono service to senior citizens. She joined COWE to spread legal awareness among rural women.