Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: Woman entrepreneur behind the success of Biocon Ltd

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd

The Success Story of Kiran Mazumdar shaw – Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is an Indian Women Entrepreneur who is Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India.

Kiran Mazumdar was born in Pune, Maharashtra state on 23 March 1953 to Bengali parents. Her father’s name is Rasendra Mazumdar. Her father was the head brewmaster at United Breweries. Kiran completed her study from Bangalore’s Bishop Cotton Girl’s High School.

Kiran studied biology and zoology. She obtained her zoology graduation degree from Bangalore University in 1973. Kiran hoped to go to medical school, but could not receive a scholarship.

She attended a women’s college, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, offering pre-university courses as an affiliate of Bangalore University. Kiran Mazumdar then went to Melbourne University in Australia to study malting and brewing at Ballarat College.

in 1975, she received the degree of a master brewer. Mazumdar was the only woman enrolled in the brewing course and topped in her class.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw worked at Kolkata based Jupiter Breweries Limited, as a technical consultant and at Standard Maltings Corporation, Baroda as a technical manager between 1975 and 1977.

Kiran also worked in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne as a trainee brewer and at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia as a trainee maltster. She was offered a position in Scotland.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the former chairperson of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Kiran is listed as the 65th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

Mazumdar is the chairperson and managing director of a biotechnology company, Biocon Limited based in Bangalore, India. Kiran was awarded for outstanding contributions to the progress of chemistry and science and won Othmer Gold Medal for in 2014.

Kiran is listed on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw had earlier featured on the lists of the most powerful women in the world at 77th in 2016 & 2017 and 71st positions respectively.

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 form 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 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 a 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 her journey as a trainee in industrial enzyme manufacturing company and is now the 92nd Most Powerful Woman in the World.