Self-made Indian entrepreneurs who continue to be an Inspiration


Writer & Blogger

The business world requires taking risks. It is often believed that success belongs to those who dare. In addition to that, there is so much perseverance and hard work involved in getting to the top. Way before the Indian start-up boom that includes a lot of online business, there have been individuals who followed their passion and made their dreams come true, beyond all odds. With this article, we would like to throw some light on a few first generation Indian entrepreneurs whose life stories inspire us to work harder and do better.

Devi Prasad Shetty

Courtesy: Outlook Business

Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty is a renowned Indian philanthropist and cardiac surgeon. Born in a small town in Karnataka in May, 1953,  Shetty was the second-youngest of nine siblings. He decided to become a heart surgeon and performed numerous feats including our country’s first neonatal cardiac surgery on a nine-day old baby. He also did the first video-assisted open heart surgery. He is best known as the founder of Narayana Hruduyalaya hospital chain (2001) and for making life-saving cardiac surgeries affordable for millions of Indians bridged by the economies of scale. 

Dhirubai Ambani

Courtesy: Outlook 

Known as the top businessman of the 20th century and respected innovative and pioneering genius, Dhirubhai Ambani was an inspirational leader. His success story has fuelled the fire for a generation of Indian entrepreneurs, progressive companies and business leaders. The founder of the Reliance empire, Ambani’s father was a poor school teacher in Chorvad, Gujarat. His career started by working initially as a labourer and a gas station attendant in Yemen. He then became a yarn and spice trader in Mumbai, following which he set up his first cloth mill in Ahmedabad in 1966. There are indeed controversies surrounding Ambani’s rise to the top; especially the way he made the license permit system work to his favour. At the time of his death, Ambani was ranked as the 138th-richest person in the world and left behind an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion.

Kalpana Saroj


Here is a woman who has often been described as the ‘original slumdog millionaire’; a compliment which is as backhanded as it is demeaning. Born in a poverty stricken family and largely subjected to inhuman abuse, she rose above it all and overcame every hurdle to become one of the most sought after entrepreneurs in India. Saroj was married off forcefully at the age of 12, and she dropped out of school at 14. She then left her husband after enduring physical and verbal abuse. Post her training as a tailor in Mumbai, she was granted a loan from the government to expand her business. This was a time before online business was the real deal, one can only imagine how much bigger businesses could be if the internet scene was stronger then.  Today, Saroj manages a $112 million empire that is constantly growing. 

Karsanbhai Patel 


Dr. Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel founded Nirma group which is presently worth more than Rs. 3550 crore.  Nirma mainly deals in detergents, soaps, cosmetics, and salt. Karsanbhai Patel knew how to market his products to make it a hit with the consumers. He started his entrepreneurial journey by preparing detergent in his own backyard and sold it from door-to-door, post his office hours in Ahmedabad.This was a time before online business was the real deal, one can only imagine how much bigger businesses could be if the internet scene was stronger then. Karsanbhai Patel launched the low-priced Nirma brand in 1969, naming it after his late daughter Nirupama. The good quality and its low price made Nirma a favourite among middle and lower middle-class families. As per Forbes, Patel’s current net worth is estimated to be $2.9 billion.

Radhakishan Damani 

Courtesy: Forbes

Damani is the founder of retailer Avenue Supermarts and has been reported to become India’s second-richest person with a networth of a whopping $17.8 billion. He decided to enter the retail industry in 2002 and set up the first D-Mart store in Mumbai. Damani shot to fame after the success of Avenue Supermart’s IPO. He also holds a stake in other firms such as India Cement. Damani is rather reclusive and rarely gets seen at social gatherings. He is all the more restrained when it comes to funding charity projects or supporting social causes. 

Taking inspiration from these personalities, you may even want to start working on building your empire, be it online business or even an offline one. There are different firms that can help you achieve your goals with the right marketing strategy, Nuclay is a fine example. It is so important to remember that hard work is never overrated; if you can dream it, never doubt your ability to achieve it. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep Reading

AI in Business: Integrating AI Chatbots into Business Workflows

AI in Business: Integrating AI Chatbots into Business Workflows

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, efficiency and customer engagement are paramount. Companies are…

Applications of AI Agents in Various Industries

Applications of AI Agents in Various Industries

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming industries across the globe, revolutionizing how businesses operate and deliver…

AI Agents vs. LLM Chatbots: Key Differences and Similarities

AI Agents vs. LLM Chatbots: Key Differences and Similarities

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved tremendously over the past decade, branching into various specialized domains…

Get in touch

Gurugram Office

Dehradun Office

Scroll to Top