/Guest author

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Chairperson & MD, Biocon

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited. A first-generation entrepreneur, she launched Biocon in 1978 from her home garage. In in four decades, she has grown her company into a global giant making affordable, quality medicines for people everywhere. 


She holds a BSc Zoology (Hons) from Bangalore University,  and a Post-Graduate Diploma, Malting and Brewing from Ballarat Institute of Advanced Education in Melbourne, Australia. In addition, she hold several honorary doctorates from prestigious universities across the globe, including the University of Glasgow and Presidency University, Kolkata. 

She also serves as a board member of Infosys, Narayana Hrudalaya and United Breweries. 

The Biocon Story

Ms Mazumdar Shaw maintains she is an “accidental entrepreneur.” Inspired by her father who was Head Brewmaster at United Breweries, she studied malting and brewing in Australia, hoping to become a brewmaster herself.

After working as a brewer and maltster for several years, she was told she couldn’t become a master brewer because it was a “man’s job.” This prompted her move to Ireland where she was exposed to the enzymes industry - and after a stint as a manager there, she returned to India and launched Biocon at the age of 25 with a a seed capital of Rs. 10,000. 


In its initial days, Biocon was an enzyme supplier, but Shaw soon pivoted to biopharmaceuticals, which presented a much bigger opportunity. Over the years, Biocon has pioneered many innovations, from riding the wave in cancer care from chemotherapy to immunotherapy to establishing India’s first clinical research services organisation. 


Today, Biocon is a listed company changing patients’ lives in 120+ countries with generics, biosimilars, novel biologics and research services. 


Awards & Recognition

  • India’s first self-made woman billionaire 
  • Padma Shri recipient, 1989
  • Padma Bhushan recipient, 2005
  • 92nd most Powerful Woman in the World, Forbes, 2014
  • Elected as member of the United Nations National Academy of Engineering, 2019
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year India Award, 2019
  • EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2020


Ms Mazumdar Shaw shares the story of how she started and her strategic shift to the biopharma industry with Anand Daniel, partner at Accel, on the #INSIGHTSPodcast2019 series.

You can listen to the episode here.


“As you become more successful, the gender barrier disappears. The credibility barriers you face during your growing up years start disappearing when you start demonstrating success.”

-Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

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