Ananya Birla – Hold On

Ananya was born and raised in Mumbai but went to Oxford University and has lived in the UK for a number of years.

Ananya is an amazingly talented musician but more importantly, at just 17 launched Svatantra – a microfinance organization that helps empower rural women and make them economically independent.

Svatantra means ‘freedom’ in Hindi and the organization gives microloans to women entrepreneurs in rural India to support them with their businesses. Today, Svatantra has 140,000 customers and is one of the fastest-growing microfinance organizations in India. The key aim is to encourage entrepreneurship, self-sufficiency, and financial literacy and inclusion.

Since then, Ananya started Curocarte, a design and interiors e-commerce platform and Mpower, a mental health initiative that works towards dispelling the stigma associated with mental health illnesses in India where there has been very little to date. Ananya has been named as one of Forbes Asia’s Women to Watch, amongst the ‘Top 50 Power women of 2016’ by Verve Magazine and Miss Vogue’s 28 Geniuses under 28, as well as being a recipient of the CNBC Young Business Women Award.