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11 Dynamic Entrepreneurs of The Year 2023
A showcase of 11 dynamic visionaries who have not only disrupted industries but have also left an indelible mark on the global business landscape
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1. Pooja Shah, Founder, Masti Voyage and Wandertastic
Pooja Shah is the founder of boutique travel companies named Masti Voyage and Wandertastic. She is an MBA in finance by profession with more than a decade of experience in the insurance industry working in companies like HDFC Standard Life, ICICI Prudential, Tata AIG, etc., and she has even hosted a travel show for tata sky called "Ghoomne Chale". Pooja delved into the entrepreneurial world around 12 years back after the birth of her first child and has never looked back since then. The transition from being a corporate employee to opening her own company wasn't easy but surely was eventful. It then became seamless nonetheless due to her passion for travelling and customer service. With the motto of 'Dream, Achieve, Repeat', her brand caters to inbound and outbound travellers and is a master at curating unique itineraries for everyone. She believes in being with the customer from the first query call till the feedback is received after travel is completed!
2. Sharad Chhakara, Founder, The Greenleaf Co.
Sharad Chhakara is an accomplished MBA graduate with a diverse professional background, including notable stints at multinational corporations like HUL and Nestle.
However, a little excursion and a heartfelt talk with his wife had things moving for his entrepreneurial journey in motion. As he shared the poignant story of O. Henry’s The Last Leaf, the concept of the Greenleaf Co. was born in his mind. Sharad envisioned a business specialising in producing bath towels modelled after magnificent Turkish Towels because of his love for developing eco-friendly products. The brand purchases the best cotton from India as part of its constant dedication to quality and sustainability, guaranteeing both comfort and awareness of the environment.
The Greenleaf Co. has amassed a substantial and devoted consumer base across India since its founding in 2020. Every facet of the business's operations reflects Sharad's fervent belief in the power of environmentally beneficial decisions. By merging inspiration, sustainability, and a touch of storytelling, he strives to offer Indian consumers a towel range that embodies both environmental awareness and elegance.
3. Kosha Gala & Harshal Gala, Co-Founders, The RentalGram
Immerse yourself in a realm of serenity with affordable luxury staycations by The RentalGram, the brainchild of the dynamic power couple Kosha and Harshal Gala. With a wealth of experience in the hotel, tourism & media industries, they bring you exclusive villas that effortlessly blend opulence with exceptional hospitality, crafting unparalleled experiential getaways where every moment leaves an indelible mark. With Harshal's extensive hospitality & revenue expertise, a shared belief in creating unforgettable moments redefines travel as an opportunity to open your heart, expand your horizons, and ignite a vibrant zest for life. With his wanderlust taking him to over 22 countries across 3 captivating continents, Harshal believes that travel is not just about ticking off destinations on a map but is a journey to capture delightful experiences. Discover a new perspective on affordable luxury staycations as The Rentalgram awakens your senses, inviting you to embrace the world with renewed passion and create unforgettable memories that will ignite your soul.
4. Puja Shah & Kunal Shah, Co-Founders, Aurus & Moi Jewels
Puja and Kunal together founded Aurus & Moi, high-end luxurious jewellery brands. The duo is a classic left-brain right-brain combination with Puja driving design and Kunal driving digital and business.
Puja was introduced to art and design along with India's incredible heritage when she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. That, combined with her professional jewellery design training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, helped her create a delicate balance between current design and historical reference, firmly founded in Aurus and Moi.
Kunal is an engineer and has spent 20 years in general management scaling an industrial company which is today a multi-billion dollar enterprise. During this time, he gained cross-functional, international, and multi-dimensional experience creating and managing a large-scale firm. Kunal is a MENSA member, a devoted golfer, and an Asian Games roller skating representative for India.
Using their diverse backgrounds—Puja's journey over 20 years of growing a jewellery business and Kunal's general management experience to launching a self-funded jewellery business—seemed the ideal way to make the most of their complementary skills.
5. Nisarg Shah, Founder, Ebullient Automation
With an engineering degree in production and MBA in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship, Nisarg Shah is an ex-investment banker, having worked with companies like Edelweiss, Crisil, etc. With experience in various fields across the spectrum, he started a company which helps the country to save power with affordable solutions. He was felicitated by the mayor of Thane during his college days for a project about rainwater harvesting. Additionally, he is currently working with some MLAs and MPs to bring down the overall power consumption and hence reduce carbon emissions, save money and help India Go Green.
6. Sonal Saraf, Founder, Tasuvure by Sonal Saraf
Tasuvure is a luxurious fashion brand which flaunts modern Western ensembles and contemporary fusion wear with an artisanal allure and timeless appeal. With her label, TASUVURE BY SONAL SARAF, the fashionista and designer Sonal Saraf, who has a sharp eye for detail, good visualisation skills, an innate sense of style, and strong business acumen plans, to revolutionise the fashion industry with unique designs and silhouettes.
Tasuvure's (TSV) goal is to create Timeless, Stylish, and Versatile outfits for today's independent women. The innovative designs are produced from unique micro-pleated materials and have recognisable structural elements that are stunning and appealing.
7. Karina Dogra Jalan, Founder, Celesti Skin
Karina Dogra Jalan is the founder of a spiritually inclined skincare brand called Celesti Skin. She acquired the skills and expertise necessary to launch her own venture after finishing her undergraduate and graduate degrees in international management from Vienna, Austria. Karina's M.Sc. in management degree, which she took because she had a strong interest in luxury brand management, helped her come up with the idea for a high-end yet reasonably-priced skincare company.
Her time in Vienna helped her develop into a self-reliant businesswoman who manages all elements of her company, from operations and supply chain management to marketing and brand development. Her experience in marketing also comes from the fact that she is a renowned content creator and has an avid following on social media, where she promotes sustainable and valuable ventures along with her personal viewpoints.
Karina’s intention behind Celesti Skin was to create a platform where she could change the way people view skincare practices. She has established a community that promotes simple and deliberate skincare practises, fostering holistic and transparent living by incorporating the concepts of mindfulness and spirituality into it. To revolutionise the skincare industry, her ideas and beliefs have given birth to India’s first spiritual skincare platform that promotes skincare as a meditative practice and helps users connect with their inner desires. The second most important pillar of this venture is to also introduce simple and transparent formulations that shun the monolithic mindset of adopting a 10-step skincare routine.
Celesti Skin is an ideal example of what Karina is made up of – passion and self-awareness. Her spiritual experience and way of living are reflected in her business venture in its most authentic form.
8. Sanjana Nischal, Founder, Digital Kong
With a digital marketing certification from IIM Jammu, Sanjana Nischal embarked on her entrepreneurial journey 3.5 yrs ago with Digital Kong. What sets this Founder and CEO apart is her remarkable dedication and ambition, evident from the fact that she started working at the young age of 18.
Hailing from Jammu, she has swiftly risen to prominence by establishing Digital Kong as a leading 360-degree marketing solutions agency. Sanjana's innate ability to deliver exceptional results has attracted prestigious clients such as Lakshita, TrueBrowns, Iconic India & Raw Beauty.
Testament to her expertise and client-centric approach, Digital Kong boasts an impressive 80% client retention rate. Sanjana's passion, combined with her strong business acumen, continues to drive the success and growth of Digital Kong.
9. Charu Dudani & Akshay Dudani, Co-Founders, Divena
Divena is a premium ethnic wear brand with its roots based in the beautiful pink city of India, Jaipur. The power couple Charu Dudani and Akshay Dudani, the brand's founders, intended to make sustainable fashion available to everyone because the word "Divena" implies blessings for the diva in you. They started their journey in 2015 with the intention of sharing their passion for fashion and design since they believe that it shouldn't be limited to any one size or genre. With the hard work & passion of Mr Akshay Dudani, founder and CEO, and Mrs Charu Dudani, co-founder and fashion director, "Divena" was created. Charu has modelling and design experience and a passion for fashion and styling, while Akshay has great leadership qualities and business knowledge, making the two of them the ideal match for the brand's success. As a known luxury brand for ethnic clothing, Divena has made a reputation for itself today and received a lot of praise over time. Divena World also has a separate clothing line for men, called Millenial Men and is soon going to launch a personal care brand, "Cosse", & kids wear brand ", Divena Kids"!
10. Vruoshally V. Gangurde, Founder, Somadha Khadi
Vruoshally V. Gangurde, from Nashik, Maharashtra, took the initiative to establish a Khadi brand in Nashik. After completing her textile design studies at NIFT Bengaluru, she left her job to travel to rural areas and witness the struggles of rural women working to achieve financial independence. She founded Somadha Khadi Sanstha in 2018, provided charkhas and looms to rural women and taught them the art of making khadi. Somadha actively supports and extends assistance to women in need. This fuelled her determination to help them in any way she could and play her part in changing the narrative of their lives for the better. Additionally, they have started using azo-free colours and moving towards using natural dyes. Through these endeavours, they are committed to helping nature, farmers, artisans, weavers, spinners and all the workers that we can.
11. Abhivyakti Jaiswal, Founder, AHI Clothing
Abhivyakti Jaiswal, the founder of AHI Clothing, is an engineer with an MBA degree. Her journey in fashion began in the seventh grade, which was when she started designing her own clothes as a teenager. Abhivyakti's mother always kept her abreast of the most recent fashion trends, which planted the seed of her love for fashion and design as well as her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. She believed in doing something that she could put her heart and soul into, as one should only work with their soul to enjoy it. She then decided to create something with her own magic, which turned into reality with her clothing line, AHI Clothing. It's been a beautiful journey of two years for AHI Clothing as it garners love & appreciation from all over the world