Born on 23rd March 1953; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited – India’s largest listed biotechnology company based in Bangalore and is also the present chairperson of IIM-Bangalore.
As of September 2014; with a net worth of $1.2 Billion, she is India’s #81st richest person and the world’s #92nd most powerful Woman.
Other than that; she is an honorary member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade & Industry in India and the US-India CEO Forum.
Being a member of the Governing Council of Ministry of the Corporate Affairs, National Foundation for Corporate Governance, Government of India, and an active member of the Union Commerce Ministry-instituted committee to advise the government on India’s export promotion strategy; Kiran plays highly important roles for the betterment of the nation as a whole.
As a businesswoman, Kiran is a huge admirer of Indra Nooyi, because of the methods & approach used by her to transform Pepsi into a ‘healthy’ fast food organization
Personally; Kiran married to Scotsman John, Shaw holds a soft corner for art and has huge collections of paintings and other artworks. She is also fond of writing and has written several books like “Ale & Arty”- the story of Beer.
How Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon India?
She met the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, Leslie Auchincloss at Express Hotel in Baroda, Gujarat, India. Mazumdar worked as a trainee manager at Ireland’s Biocon Biochemicals Limited, Auchincloss’s company manufactured enzymes for use in the textile industries, food-packaging, and brewing.
Leslie Auchincloss was searching for an Indian entrepreneur to help establish an Indian subsidiary. Soon after that Kiran set up Biocon India, in collaboration with the same Irish Company.
Mazumdar Shaw started Biocon with an initial investment of just Rs 10000 from a rented garage space in Bangalore in 1978. In the beginning, Kiran had to face a lot of credibility challenges because of her untested business model.
Banks were not keen to give her a loan because women entrepreneurship was quite rare and biotechnology was a new field and some required her father to be a guarantor.
Kiran also faced the technological challenges to build a biotech business in a country with poor infrastructure. At the time, in India superior quality water, Uninterrupted power, sterile labs, workers, and imported research equipment with advanced scientific skills were not easily available.
She had a difficult time finding a workplace. She was however determined to overcome all entrepreneurial barriers and make her venture a huge success. She also had to face the challenges of convincing people to join her organization. Her first employee of Biocon was a retired garage mechanic.
Within a year, Biocon India was able to produce industrial enzymes and export them to Europe and the U.S. Biocon India is the first Indian company to manufacture enzymes and export them to Europe and the U.S.
For taking the company operations to new dimensions, Kiran always gave importance to research and development tasks. Within a few years, the business started turning out to be a profitable company.
Biocon wants to be one of the top 10 biotechnology companies in the world. Biocon India went for IPO in 2004 which was oversubscribed 33 times. Apart from Biocon India, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has been involved with several social philanthropic activities.
She established Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre in Bangalore. She is a founder of Biocoin Foundation, a CSR wing that focuses on education, health, and infrastructure in rural areas.
Kiran also supports the Arogya Raksha Yojana, a comprehensive health insurance plan that offers people of rural India affordable access to high-quality healthcare. Quite a journey for women entrepreneurs who began their journey as a trainee in an industrial enzyme manufacturing company and is now the 92nd Most Powerful Woman in the World.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Success
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw says self-confidence is an important factor in entrepreneurship.
“A can-do attitude” is essential because obstacles and difficulties are inevitable. “I’ve had many failures in terms of technological business and even research failures,” she explains.
“I believe that entrepreneurship is about being able to face failure, manage failure and succeed after failing.”
The key is to be able to tell the difference between total failure and setbacks which can be overcome.
“I think in my particular case, I’ve seen that failures are not absolute. That you can build and modify those failures to succeed.”