Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw - How She Became India’s Biotech Queen

Manav Makhija Manav Makhija
Feb 3, 2022 6 min read
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw - How She Became India’s Biotech Queen

India is among the top 12 biotechnology destinations in the world, comprising around 600 biotech companies. In this article, you are going to find information about such a person who has made wealth all on his own, with sheer hard work and perseverance.

Kiran Mazumdar is the executive chairperson and the founder of one of the most prominent biopharmaceutical companies around the globe, Biocon Limited. Kiran is a person who is an inspiration to thousands of women out there who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Know more about the journey of this amazing and inspiring woman and her thoughts on budget 2022 in this article.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Biography
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Personal Life
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Education
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Early Career
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Expansion of Biocon
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Philanthropy
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Awards & Recognitions
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - FAQ

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Biography

Name Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Year of Birth 23 March 1953
Nationality Indian
Education Graduate degree in brewing from the University of Ballarat, Melbourne
Profession Entrepreneur, Brewmaster
Title Executive Chairperson – Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited
Net Worth 370 crores USD
Spouse John Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Personal Life

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was born in Banglore on 23rd March 1953, in a middle-class family. At the United Breweries, Kiran’s father was a brewmaster. She wanted and insisted her parents become a Brewmaster and study fermentation.

Since childhood, she aspired to become a doctor but couldn’t get a scholarship. At the age of 44, Kiran got married to John Shaw in the year 1989. John was working as the chairman at Madura Coats but left the job to join Biocon with Kiran.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Education

Kiran initially wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps. She studied at Bangalore’s Bishop Cotton Girl’s high school. In 1973 she graduated from Bangalore’s University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology.

Kiran wanted to pursue medical college but was unable to get any scholarship in any medical college. She went on to study malting and brewing at Ballarat College, Melbourne University in Australia from where she got a master's degree in the year 1975. Kiran was the only woman who opted for the brewing course and with her intelligence, she topped in her class.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Early Career

Kiran Mazumdar completed her training in Carlton and United Breweries. After coming back to India, she joined Jupiter Breweries in Calcutta as a technical consultant, and after gaining some experience there she worked as a Technical Manager at Standard Maltings Corporation situated in Baroda. She opted to further her career in Bangalore or Delhi but was told that "it's a man's profession" and that woman would not be employed as a master brewer in India.

She started looking for work overseas and was given a position in Scotland. Leslie Auchincloss, the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland met Mazumdar before she could relocate. His firm produced enzymes used in the brewing, food packaging, and textile sectors.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw with Leslie Auchincloss
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw with Leslie Auchincloss

He was searching for an Indian entrepreneur to assist in the formation of a subsidiary in India. Kiran worked with the firm, and this was a life-changing opportunity for her. Leslie prepared her to work as a manager at his firm. Kiran went to India and began working for Biocon in a leased garage in Bangalore with an initial investment of 10,000 INR after she had a better understanding of the company's operations and sales.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Expansion of Biocon

Kiran started with Biocon in 1978, she faced many challenges because of her youth, gender, and her untested business model. No bank wanted to lend her money, thus funding was a big issue.

After getting her first funding she started with her first factory which was in a nearby 3000 sq. ft shed. The extraction of papain (a papaya enzyme used to tenderize the meat) and isinglass were the company's first efforts (obtained from tropical catfish and used to clarify beer).

Biocon India was the first Indian firm to make enzymes and ship them to the United States and Europe within a year of its founding. Kiran invested her first year's profits in a 20-acre property, with plans to grow in the future. Kiran transformed Biocon India from an enzyme manufacturing firm to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company because of her unique thinking and ideas.

In 1984 Kiran discovered some new dimensions. At Biocon, a research and development team was created to focus on the development of innovative solid substrate fermentation methods. Biocon Pharmaceuticals was the first Indian biotech business to obtain funding from the United States for unique technology.

Kiran started looking for alternative opportunities which were cost-effective as well low-cost. She had also proposed that drug companies be cost-sensitive in marketing to developing countries so that people can afford the drugs they need.

Kiran and her husband John have always seen the need to provide people with the best they can, thus increasing and supplying affordable vaccines and medicines in India and helping society to overcome their medical requirements.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Philanthropy

With the great success of her company, Biocon has allowed Kiran to donate and be the support of the people who need help but do not have the resources. Kiran is a firm believer in sharing and cares about people hence giving at least half of her wealth to philanthropic work. This was when she joined The Giving Pledge movement in the year 2015.  

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw The Giving Pledge
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw The Giving Pledge

With the support of her husband John, she started up with Mazumdar Shaw Foundation in India to help the needful. The key sectors of the foundation are Education, Healthcare, Art & Culture, and a Healthy Environment. The Foundation is involved in numerous health and education outreach programs to benefit the economically weaker sections of Indian society.

Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center
Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center

Mazumdar Shaw foundation has also established a 1400 bed cancer care center in Bangalore, in collaboration with Devi Shetty. Her goal is to create a world-class cancer center with affordable treatment.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Awards & Recognitions

  • Kiran has received Padma Shri in the year 1989 and Padma Bhushan in the year 2005.
  • Recipient of EY World Entrepreneur of the Year (2020) and EY Entrepreneur of the Year India Award (2019).
  • Recipient of Order of Australia (2020).
  • Recipient of ICMR’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare (2019).
  • Recipient of AWSM Award for Excellence (2017).
  • Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour (2016).
  • Recipient of Othmer Gold Medal (2014).
  • Recipient of Global Economy Prize for Business (2014).
  • Ranked among the world’s 16 Most Powerful Women in Leadership in 2021 by CEO Magazine.

Kiran is also fond of writing books and she loves reading novels. She has written and has got published two books: ‘Ale and Arty’ and ‘India’s Innovation Challenge for Inclusive Development. Kiran Mazumdar also shared her thoughts on budget 2022, She stated that overall, it is a fairly decent budget.

Conclusion

The second richest self-made woman in India is the star and pride of the nation. Nobody knew about Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw but now she is one of the most influential women in the country. She has shown the world that a woman can do everything and is a living inspiration for young woman entrepreneurs.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - FAQ

Who is the husband of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw?

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is married to John Shaw.

How old is Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw?

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was born on 23 March 1953 and is 68 years old.

What is the net worth of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw?

The net worth of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is 370 crores USD as of 2022.

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