Meet India's Ice Cream Lady, Mrs Bector Who Built A Rs 6000 Cr Company Amid Death Threats To Husband

Rajni Bector is the Founder of Mrs. Bector's, which is worth Rs. 6,600 crore. From being born in Karachi to dominating India's FMCG sector, here's everything you need to know about her inspiring life.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Meet India's Ice Cream Lady, Mrs Bector Who Built A Rs 6000 Cr Company Amid Death Threats To Husband

Over the decades, we have seen so many women entrepreneurs in India, who have not only transformed the sectors they were working in but also inspired so many students in business schools across the world. Whether we talk about the inspiring stories of businesswomen like Kiran Majmudar, Savitri Jindal, Falguni Nayar, Upasana Taku, Ghazal Alagh, Adhuna Bhabani, Vandana Luthra, Swati Bhargava, Radhika Ghai Agarwal, and the list goes on.

Women entrepreneurs in India: Women-led startups have risen to 18 per cent during 2017-2021

In the past two decades, we have seen a surge of women entrepreneurs coming to the forefront and breaking traditional gender stereotypes with their respective success in their businesses. From e-commerce, fintech, edutech, FMCG, retail, automobile, and IT to real estate and infrastructure, women entrepreneurs are making their presence felt in almost every major business sector of India. According to the report of WISER (Women in India's Startup Ecosystem Report), women-led startups have jumped up to 18 per cent in India from 2017 to 2021.

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As per ET BFSI, India's startup ecosystem is the third-largest globally, and women empower a staggering 50 per cent of it. Not only this, MSCI ESG's report also shows that companies with women in leadership positions have achieved an annual return of 10.1 per cent on equity compared to 7.4 per cent for those without. It's so inspiring to see so many women turning towards entrepreneurship and shaping a new India. However, today, we are going to talk about Rajni Bector, who has been a source of inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

Meet Ice Cream Lady of India, Rajni Bector, who is the Founder of Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited

Rajni Bector received the prestigious Padma Shri Award from the government of India back in January 2021 for her inspirational journey as an entrepreneur. For the unversed, Rajni started an in-house baking and ice-cream shop with a modest investment of Rs. 20,000, which is now renowned by the name of Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited. Yes! Rajni Bector is the lady, who is behind one of India's oldest and most-loved brands in the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) sector.

India's famous brands like Cremica and English Oven were also founded by Rajni Bector under her parent company, Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited. Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited's market capitalisation touched the mammoth mark of Rs. 6681 crores in 2023. Rajni's entrepreneurial journey is a response to all the young entrepreneurs out there who are under the misconception that to start a business, you need money more than motivation.

Rajni Bector's birth, partition story, studying at Delhi University and marriage at 17

It was in 1940 when Rajni Bector was born into a reputed family in Karachi (now in Pakistan). While her father was an accountant general, so many of her family members and relatives were working in government departments. Although their connections in the government helped them cross into India without major injuries, but a young Rajni had seen trains filled with dead bodies and not passengers.

The family reached Punjab initially but shifted their base to Delhi, where she completed her schooling and graduation. At the age of 17 in 1957, when Rajni was pursuing her graduation from Delhi Univesity's Miranda House, she got married to a Ludhiana-based businessman, Dharamvir Bector. After her marriage, she completed her graduation and then shifted to Ludhiana, where her husband was running his family business of fertilisers and grains.

Rajni Bector's entrepreneurial journey: Installed an ice cream unit at home for Rs. 20,000

After a few years of their marriage, Rajni Bector and Dharamvir Bector welcomed three sons, Akshay Bector, Anoop Bector, and Ajay Bector. The children were studying in boarding school, and it was when Rajni decided to explore her passion for baking. She did a baking course from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), after which she started implementing her learnings into food items. From experimenting with ice creams, cookies, and salads to deserts, she started inviting relatives, friends and children to her home to taste her delicacies.

In an old interview with a news portal, Rajni Bector revealed that Brijmohan Munjal of Hero Motocorp, the Pahwa family of Avon Cycles, the local MLA of Ludhiana, and Dr. SC Jain of Punjab Agricultural University encouraged her to start a business of her own. These were some of the few people who boosted Rajni Bector's confidence and made her believe in her skills, which were quite rare back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Rajni Bector founded Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities and Cremica in 1978

As a result, Rajni Bector took her in-house bakery business to the next level by setting up a small cream unit in the backyard in 1978 at a cost of Rs. 20,000. While Rajni was focused on the quality of her products, it was her husband, Dharamvir Bector, who knew the importance of branding. Hence, he told her to choose a name for her products. Selecting a name was a manageable hurdle for Rajni, as she used to make many cream products; thus, she went for the name 'Cremica', which came from her phrase, 'Cream Ka'.

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Rajni Bector's ice cream business was giving tough competition to Kwality, and even her bakery business took a massive jump in 1989, as they were baking 50,000 loaves in a single day. Due to the immense success of their company, they incorporated Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities into a private limited company in 1995. It was a massive moment for Mrs. Bector's brands, Cremica and English Oven.

Rajni Bector joined hands with McDonald's in 1996, and it changed everything

McDonald's entered the Indian market in the late 90s, and back then, they were searching for suppliers for their buns. Rajni Bector's company, Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited, caught McDonald's attention, and after multiple trials, the American company selected them as its permanent bun supplier.

In 1996, Rajni Bector partnered with McDonald's, which increased the company's revenue to a new level. To meet the massive demand for buns and bread, Rajni Bector opened its own manufacturing unit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. In the coming years, Rajni Bector established several manufacturing units in different parts of the country and launched an IPO in 2020.

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Rajni Bector's husband received death threats, and an abduction attempt was made on her eldest son

Everything was going perfectly fine for the Bector family. While Rajni Bector's bakery was growing, her husband, Dharamvir Bector's family business was also doing satisfactorily. However, it was the year 1984 when the Bector family received a series of death threats during the anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of the Former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

Things took a violent turn when some people tried to abduct Rajni and Dharamvir's elder son, Akshay Bector. It was a challenging year for the Bector family, and it was in 1990 when Akshay entered into his mother's business.

Currently, while Akshay is reportedly handling Mrs. Bector's and English Oven, Anoop and Ajay are running Cremica. Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Limited is one of the biggest companies in India, and when we look back at its roots, it's astonishing to witness the level it has reached today.

What are your thoughts on Rajni Bector's inspirational entrepreneurial journey from an in-house bakery to becoming one of India's most loved brands?

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