NITI Aayog
azadi ka amrit mahotsav

21 inspirational women from Karnataka win NITI Aayog’s Fifth Edition of Women Transforming India Awards

75 Women honoured in the 75th year of India’s Independence

Posted On: 23 MAR 2022 5:03PM by PIB Delhi

Women have consistently been playing a key role in transforming India into a ‘Sashakt Aur Samarth Bharat’. In recognition of the remarkable achievements of these women across diverse sectors NITI Aayog has instituted Women Transforming India Awards.

This year, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, the WTI Awards were conferred on 75 women achievers. Of these 75 Awardees 21 women from the state of Karnataka were honoured. Click here to know more about the other awardees.

  1. Alina Alam, Bengaluru, Mitti Social Initiatives Foundation


Mitti Café is a chain of cafes that provide experiential training and employment to adults with physical, intellectual and psychiatric disability. It was founded by Alina Alam, as an outreach initiative to create awareness about inclusivity and disability rights. With over 16 cafes all over India, hundreds of adults with special needs have served over 5 million meals in a span of four years. They are enabling and empowering people with special abilities; by making them economically independent, confident, and providing a life of dignity.

Mitti Café is harnessing the abundant potential of persons with special abilities by

engaging them in productive activities.


  1. Neha Satak, Bengaluru, Astrome Technologies Pvt. Ltd.


Neha Satak is a serial entrepreneur and a researcher who wants to beam the internet from space using satellites that carry Astrome transponders. Her deep tech startup is accelerating the deployment of 5G and backhaul telecommunication infrastructure through its patented millimetre wave E-band radios and satellite communication products. Astrome has received multiple awards for its impact on Telecom infrastructure in India and the global markets. It is an example of the research and corporate worlds coming together to support entrepreneurs.

Incubated at India’s premier R&D school, the Indian Institute of Science, Astrome is

supported by organizations like CISCO, Analog Devices and IESA.


  1. Hardika Shah, Bengaluru, Kinara Capital


Hardika Shah turned her vision of supporting underserved entrepreneurs by launching Kinara Capital to disrupt small business lending in India. Under her vision and leadership, Kinara is advancing financial inclusion in the MSME sector. It has led to an impact of INR 700 crores in incremental income generation and supported 250,000+ jobs in local economies. With AI/ML data-driven credit decision, it offers collateral-free business loans to MSMEs. Their flagship “myKinara” app promises 24-hour disbursements while “HerVikas” program provides an automatic discount to women entrepreneurs.

Giving fast and flexible loans without collaterals to small business entrepreneurs

in India, Kinara Capital transforms lives, livelihoods and local economies.


  1. Jo Aggarwal, Bengaluru, Touchkin eServices Private Limited (Wysa)


Jo Aggarwal launched the chatbot ‘Wysa’ in 2016 after her own struggle with depression. She realised the power of Cognitive Behavior Training, a skill to be learnt. The name ‘Wysa’ comes from Eliza, which was the first such chatbot ever created. Five years and 700 iterations later, Wysa has helped over 4 million people, most of whom had no other mental health     support. The hundreds and thousands of stories of transformation that people have shared after talking to Wysa, have been personally the most meaningful learning for the team.         

Wysa is giving mental health support and transforming lives by leveraging technology 

and establishing one to one connects.          


  1. Victoria Joslin D’Souza, Bengaluru, Swachha Eco Solutions Pvt. Ltd.


Set up in 2008 by Mrs Victoria Joslin D’Souza, Swachha is on a mission to make a difference in the ever changing landscape of waste management. They have an MOU with the Municipal Corporation of Bengaluru (BBMP) to set-up Karnataka’s First Dry Waste Processing Center. This has led to a collection drive of dry waste for more than 54 wards of Bengaluru for recycling. The team at Swaccha ensures that they never lose track of the trends, regulations and compliance related to waste management industry. The have successfully diverted 28,871 tons of waste from landfill so far.

Swachha promises a clean,green and sustainable future for everyone.


  1. Anuradha Parekh, Bengaluru, Vikara Services Pvt. Ltd. (The Better India)


Anuradha Parekh has influenced millions of Indians to a be part of the solution rather than remain part of the problem. Her initiative ‘The Better India’ has provided access to information, awareness and hope – empowering readers to become changemakers in their own ways. It shares stories that have positively influenced government policies,

brought farmers out of poverty, helped urban slum schools get funded, brought water and sanitation in villages, to name a few. She has challenged the media landscape in the country and changed the narrative from one of despair and demotivation to one that is

inspiring and action-oriented.

The Better India is changing mindsets from one that considers itself part of the problem to one that wants to be a part of the solution.


  1. Chayaa Nanjappa, Mandya, Nectar Fresh


Chayaa Nanjappa is a rural social entrepreneur & her brand Nectar Fresh has been empowering tribals, rural communities and small farmers for the past 13 years. Today, Nectar Fresh is synonymous with the word ‘quality’ & has become a preferred brand for the quality conscious markets. It has invested in the local communities, training them to manufacture products of international standards. As a farm gate processing unit, it has helped numerous farmers avoid the spoilage of their produce. Chayaa’s initiative of supporting local farmers & local manufacturers of packaging materials helped them immensely while bringing down costs for Nectar Fresh.

Nectar Fresh, a market leader in quality products, is creating an enviable presence

through strict adherence to strong business ethics. They adhere to their core values of

supporting small farmers and empowering tribal and rural communities.


  1. Richa Singh, Bengaluru, YourDOST Health Solutions Pvt. Ltd.


A personal loss of losing a friend to suicide in Richa’s engineering days gave birth to the idea of building a tech-based anonymous solution. Her company, YourDOST, is one of India’s largest emotional wellness platforms. Through its holistic approach, it provides intervention at individual, team, and leadership levels to create an empathetic and high-performing culture. The technology platform provides access to 900+ psychologists and coaches for 1 on 1 counselling, self-help tools, training, assessments etc.

YourDOST is on the mission to build a happier and healthier India, one smile to many more smiles at a time.


  1. Pooja Sharma Goyal, Bengaluru, Building Blocks Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd


Building Blocks Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd., has been instrumental in empowering

children and schools to innovate using next generation technology skills. As a Co-founder, Pooja has been a long-time champion for experiential learning that inspires children to become problem solvers, builders and makers who are fearless when it comes to seeking solutions to solve complex real-world problems. Their kits and courses under the brand name Avishkaar help children between 5-18 years learn critical 21st century skills like Computational Thinking, Mechanical Design and Design Thinking. They are building a powerful virtual robotics platform that will enable every child in India to learn these critical technology skills.

Team Avishkaar believes every young curious child has an innovator hidden within them and they support in creating the next generation of innovators.


  1. Neelam Chhiber, Bengaluru, Indus Tree Crafts Foundation


Working on the socio-economic transformation of women from the most vulnerable communities, Neelam Chibber co-founded Indus Tree. Their work is redefining Indian and global artisanal manufacturing systems as being pivotal to the next Regenerative Economy. It strategizes an experiential model to create a self-owned ecosystem for sustainable livelihoods. This model has tripled artisanal incomes in non-farm occupations by leveraging their skills and integrating them in the creative sector. Their outreach has extended to 500,000 lives across India and Africa and built cumulative

markets of 58 Million USD across IKEA, Future Group, FabIndia etc.

Indus Tree envisions a world in which millions of producers rise out of poverty by building sustainable livelihoods within regenerative production practices.


  1. Suchetha Bhat, Bengaluru, Dream a Dream


Suchetha joined Dream a Dream as a volunteer in 2007. Over the years, she has driven the scale and strategic direction of the organization. Today, as the CEO of Dream a Dream, she leads with an unparalleled depth of understanding of a young person’s journey. They have helped introduce new holistic curriculums, transform teacher training/learning practices, change pedagogical approaches to learning, redesign core curriculum frameworks and inspired the ecosystem to shift mind sets towards ‘For Every Child, A Thriving Life’ as the core purpose of education. This has helped reach over 3 million children in India.

Dream a Dream is working to shift the narrative from an academics focused education

model to a personalized, contextualized model. It works towards ensuring equity, dignity and inclusion.


  1. Mayura Balasubramanian, Bengaluru, Craftizen Foundation


Mayura has expertise across the entire handicrafts value chain from sourcing, grassroots capacity building, and design development to improving operational efficiency and enabling marketing across multiple channels. Her company, Craftizen skills disadvantaged sections of society who do not have access to mainstream income-earning, including adults with intellectual disability and underprivileged women in urban, rural & tribal areas. They provide support across the crafts value chain.

Craftizen has developed 250+ unique designs from over 30 different craft skills,

impacting over 2,500 beneficiaries across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata

and Lucknow. Craftizen has a range of initiatives, including CSR programs

for craft-based livelihoods, customised merchandise solutions, workshops and

employee engagement.

Craftizen envisions preserving and evolving Indian craft and artisanal skills so that they remain an integral part of our cultural fabric.


  1. Akshita Sachdeva, Bengaluru, Trestle Labs Pvt. Ltd.


Akshita Sachdeva, in her company, Trestle Lab, is building assistive technology solutions that help visually impaired people listen, translate and digitize any kind of printed, handwritten and digital content across 60+ global languages. Their flagship innovative product, Kibo comprises three products - Kibo mobile app, Kibo XS Device and Kibo Desk web software to cater to the lifestyle, learning and earning aspects of the users’ life.

Launched in July 2019, their products make schools, colleges, universities, and workplaces inclusive and empower 65,000+ blind and visually impaired individuals with enhanced academic and workplace productivity.


Trestle Lab is empowering the visually impaired by giving them the right to choose

what they want to access, read and learn, and when, without being dependent on what

the world can make accessible for them.


  1. Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Bengaluru, LabourNet Services India Pvt. Ltd.


Dr Gayatri Vasudevan, Co-founder and Chairperson of LabourNet is a true visionary. In the year 2021-22, when the pandemic was at its peak, LabourNet impacted the lives of 18,000 students who were motivated to enrol for short term courses. 27,000 adolescents benefitted from vocational training programs, and 500 students enrolled for B.Voc program. There were 19,000 certifications issued under RPL, 3,000 benefitted under their apprenticeship program, 2,000 entrepreneurs received trainings and over

6 lakh people got vaccinated against COVID-19.

With a mission to improve the incomes of individuals in the informal sector, LabourNet Services designs sustainable interventions with Education, Employability and Entrepreneurship at the core.


  1. Dr. Susmita Mohanty, Bengaluru, Earth2Orbit


Susmita Mohanty is the only space entrepreneur in the world to have started companies on three different continents: USA, Europe and India. Her Indian venture Earth2Orbit (E2O) is India’s first space start-up and has helped lead India’s foray into the nearly $420 billion global space market. E2O played a pivotal role in opening up the US launch market for the Indian PSLV rocket despite the 1998 US Embargo and a stringent export control regime. In 2019, Susmita was selected as one of BBC’s 100 Women laureates inspiring and influencing a female-led future. In 2017, she was featured on the cover

of Fortune Magazine. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council for Space Technologies.

Earth2Orbit is leading India’s foray into the global space marketplace by inspiring the new generation to dream and reach for the stars.


  1. Khushboo Awasthi, Bengaluru, Mantra Social Services


Mantra4Change, co-founded by Khushboo Awasthi is a not for profit organisation committed to creating an enriching learning experience for children in public schools. The team firmly believes that systemic transformation in education is impossible without collaboration at every level. Their mission is to enable education leaders to drive sustainable improvements in 1.5 Lac schools by 2025. Towards this, they design & implement programs with the Department of School Education across states, and have orchestrated an ecosystem of like-minded NGOs in order to scale the idea of systemic transformation.

Mantra is enabling an enriching learning experience for children, handholding the education leaders to drive continuous school improvements.


  1. Aditi Avasthi, Bengaluru, Indiavidual Learning Ltd. (Embibe)


Embibe is the world’s first edtech company that truly delivers learning and life outcomes. It has put the tech in teaching - leveraging AI and state of the art pedagogical frameworks to help every child experience true personalization. Over the last nine years, the founder, Ms. Aditi Avasthi’s commitment to open access has given Embibe unprecedented data to understand what truly works. The platform delivers personalized achievement journeys for every learner in their mother tongue at a price-point accessible to all. Embibe is living by its motto of - “Every Child Will Achieve”.

Embibe is a movement to deliver learning and life outcomes to students. It also empowers teachers to be their best.


  1. Malini Parmar, Bengaluru, Rekke Personal Care Pvt. Ltd. (


Malini Parmar co-founded Stonesoup for her passion on reducing waste impact on communities. As a not for profit company, that aims to create employment for women, started with eliminating sanitary waste. The team believes in an ecosystem approach where government, companies and NGOs need to work together to achieve Swachh Bharat. They have diverted 12 million pads from the landfill, and 10 tonnes of wet

waste is composted in their composters daily.

Stonesoup helps people achieve Zero waste homes that will create zero waste cities.


  1. Dr. Swapna Priya K, Bengaluru, Farms2fork Technologies Pvt. Ltd.


Dr Swapna Priya K is the Chief Operating Officer of an Agri tech company Farms2fork Technologies. She aims to build a low cost irrigation advisory model leveraging on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning combining onground sensors, satellite and weather data to detect low soil moisture and alert the farmers at a very low cost.

Their mission is to help Paddy, Sugarcane, Cotton, Grape, Pomegranate and Banana growing farmers to increase profit by upto 30% and save water by 50% with their customised irrigation solution powered by AI and Internet of Things (IoT).

Farms2fork is using artifical intelligence and machine learning to increase farm productivity.


  1. Rajoshi Ghosh, Bangaluru, Hasura


Hasura is an open source product that accelerates data access, by providing GraphQL or REST APIs with built in authorization on your data, instantly. Rajoshi is the co-founder of Hasura, which is the first opensource unicorn startup in India, and she is also the first woman founder of a unicorn startup in India. Hasura is one of the fastest growing open source projects in this space and has been downloaded over 450 million times by developers globally. Hasura enables developers to get an API to access data instantly so that they can build mission critical applications rapidly.

Hasura is on a mission to make data access fast, secure & scalable. Envisioning a world

where developers are enabled to build applications at the speed of thought.


  1. Sugandha Sukrutaraj, Bengaluru, AMBA


Ashoka Fellow, Sugandha Sukrutaraj founded a social enterprise, AMBA. It focuses on changing paradigms/mindsets about adults with Moderate/Severe Intellectual Disabilities, while discovering infinite functional possibilities. They are building an ecosystem to build, operate and sustain training and employment within 475 ACPCs (AMBA Certified Partner Centres). They are working towards building an ecosystem of learning and earning for these individuals using Information Technology, giving them the dignity and independence that they deserve.

AMBA works to maximize potential of community of adults with moderate to severe intellectual disability across India by economically empowering them.




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