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Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Indian woman entrepreneur who, as chairman and managing director of Biocon India Group, led a pioneering enterprise that utilized India’s homegrown scientific talent to make breakthroughs in clinical research.

Kiran attained her knowledge of brewery from Melbourne in 1975 and returned to India. However, she could not find a job in India as she was told that she could not be hired as a master brewer in India because “It’s a man’s work”. She was also well aware of the cultural norms that often limited the social mobility of women. Thus, she started looking for job opportunities outside India.

After a brief period as a trainee manager at Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland, to learn more about the business, Kiran returned to India. She started Biocon India in 1978 in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru with a seed capital of Rs. 10,000. Although it was a joint venture, Indian laws restricted foreign ownership to only 30% of the company, which meant that 70% of the company belonged to Kiran.

Kiran spearheaded Biocon’s evolution from an industrial enzyme manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical. In 2005 Kiran also received the Padma Bhushan Award, one of India’s highest civilian honours, for her pioneering work in industrial biotechnology.

Biocon Limited is a globally recognized, innovation-led organization that is enabling access to high quality, advanced therapies for diseases that are chronic, where medical needs are largely unmet and treatment costs are high.

  • Education: Master Brewer

  • Prior Work experience: Trainee Manager

*This profile was covered by: Top Business Tycoon