Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. She is the executive chairperson and founder of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India. Let us wish her a very Happy Birthday.

Kiran Mazumdar was born on 23 March 1953 in Bangalore, Karnataka state to Gujarati parents. After her formal education, her father who was a brewer at United Brewery suggested that she study fermentation science and train to be a brewmaster, a very non-traditional field for women. Mazumdar went to Ballarat College, Melbourne University in Australia to study malting and brewing. In 1974, she was the only woman enrolled in the brewing course and topped in her class. She earned her degree as a master brewer in 1975.

She worked in a few breweries in India but faced bias since she was a woman. She tried applying abroad and had secured a position in Scotland when she met Leslie Auchincloss, the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited of Cork, Ireland. Auchincloss’s company produced enzymes for use in the brewing, food packaging, and textile industries. Auchincloss was looking for a partner in India to help establish an Indian subsidiary to supply him with Papain. Mazumdar agreed to undertake the job. 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 Mazumdar Shaw.

Mazumdar spearheaded Biocon’s evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with a well-balanced business portfolio of products and a research focus on diabetes, oncology, and auto-immune diseases. In 1998, Kiran Mazumdar’s fiancée, Scotsman John Shaw, personally raised $2 million to purchase the outstanding Biocon shares. The couple got married in 1998, whereupon she became known as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Today, Biocon is one of the most prominent companies in India.

As of 2010, Mazumdar-Shaw was named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is on the 2011 Financial Times’ Top 50 Women in Business list. As of 2014, she was listed as the 92nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In 2015, she had risen to 85th in the Forbes ranking. She was voted Global Indian of the Year by Pharma Leaders Magazine in 2012.

She was placed #14th in the Hurun India Philanthropy List 2019 for a donation of ₹72 crores (US$9 million) and was ranked #2 in the list of Women Philanthropists of 2019, by the Hurun Report India Philanthropy List 2019.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the recipient of several international awards. Her work in the biotechnology sector has earned her numerous national awards, including the Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India.

Staff Reporter

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