Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an entrepreneur from India where she started Biocon, a large biotechnology company. She is the Managing Director and Chairman of the company because of which made her the wealthiest woman of her country.
Kiran was born on 23rd March 1953 in Bangalore, India. She completed her initial schooling from Bishop’s Cotton Girl’s High School in 1968. She had aspired being a doctor instead she ended up doing her BSc in Zoology with Honors from Mount Carmel College of the Bangalore University in 1973. Two years later she completed her post graduate studies from Ballarat College, Melbourne University qualifying as a master brewer. Kiran began her professional career working as a trainee brewer at Carlton & United Beverages. After working there for four years she switched her job to work at Biocon Biochemicals Limited which was based in Ireland. Later that year she founded Biocon in India with an initial capital of only 10,000 rupees. Business was not easy due to lack of funds. All the banks she turned to for loans were hesitant because biotechnology was not a familiar concept in India at that time. Another reason was her gender. A female entrepreneur was another rare idea for Indians and one bringing in a completely new field was even stranger. She even had difficulty hiring people to work for her.
Kiran was not discouraged from this lack of support. Instead she worked hard with whatever she had and built a company that is now recognized as one of the leading firms of the company. After Biocon got an IPO in 2004, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw became the richest woman in India. Because of her strong determination, Kiran steered her company towards growth and success. She made more than 2000 high value R&D licensing deals from 2005 to 2010. She helped Biocon to achieve global recognition and develop markets by acquisitions, in-licensing and partnerships. In 2007, Biocon was ranked by Med Ad News as one of the leading biotech companies worldwide and the 7th biggest biotechnology employer in the world. Kiran is responsible for Biocon’s innovative abilities, worldwide reliability and global scale in marketing and manufacturing activities. Kiran founded the Biocon Foundation which is a philanthropic organization carrying out environmental and health programs to help the weak parts of the society. In 2007, she also established a cancer care center in Bangalore.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has received many honors and accolades for her entrepreneurial achievements such as the prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth and Express Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit Award for Dynamic Entrepreneur in 2009. In 2004, she was deemed as the ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ by the Economic Times. Kiran received the ‘Veuve Clicquot Initiative for Economic Development for Asia and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences & Healthcare in 2002. Some of her other awards include the ‘Corporate Leadership Award’, honorary doctorates from Ballarat University, University of Abertay, University of Glasgow, Dundee and Heriot-Watt University. Kiran ranks on number 80 on Forbes list of 100 most powerful women(2012).