Written by Sara Gupta, a grade 7 student.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs and a global business leader. She is the founder of an Indian biotechnology company called Biocon.
You must read her incredible story because she defied many odds to become one of the richest women in India.
First, what’s Biocon?
Biocon is India’s largest biopharmaceutical company. Not only that, it has been ranked 5th in the category of global pharmaceutical and biotech companies, as of 2020. What started as a small company, today Biocon manufactures pharmaceutical ingredients that are sold in over 120 countries across the world.
About Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Her’s is an extraordinary story.
Growing up, she wanted to be a doctor but did not make it through the exam. At this point, she was told by her father to study the production of beer through fermentation. He had been a brewer too and thought that learning the science behind the production of beer through fermentation would help her.
Kiran took her father’s advice (even though she found it odd at first) and went to Australia to get certified as a master brewer.
However, after returning to India, Kiran struggled to find a job in a brewery – no one was willing to give a woman a job in what was seen as a male-dominated industry (people thought she would not be able to work in such a place)
It was rejection from companies that made her think about starting something on her own. This is when she happened to meet another entrepreneur who had wanted to start a business in India and asked her if she would join him.
Together, Biocon Biochemicals and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon India Ltd in 1978. After Kiran managed all of the legal permits, Biocon India started with a small group of 3 employees in her garage.
Even here she faced challenges. She had only Rs.10,000 in her bank and wanted a loan from a bank, but no bank would give it to her. Finally, after a lot of rejections, one bank gave her a small loan and this is when she started her journey.
In 1979, Biocon India became the first Indian company to successfully export enzymes internationally. Kiran then expanded her business to a 20-acre land in March 1980, which is now used as the company’s corporate office.
The company grew fast under Kiran’s leadership. After further developments and advancements in their research and technology, Biocon entered the biopharmaceuticals space in 1996. Finally, in 1998, Biocon became a privately owned entity by Kiran. By 2003, Biocon had formed several research organizations and multiple centers and had gotten over 100 patents for their multiple achievements and research projects.
Today, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is one of the richest women in India, with a net worth of ₹36,600 crores.
She is someone who has shown that nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have the grit and the determination. She faced many rejections and was told plainly that she would not be able to make it in a male-dominated sector. However, this did not deter her. It actually made her even more determined to prove that she would succeed.
A lesson that can be learned from Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s story is to never underestimate yourself for you never know the power you might contain until you put it to test. Starting off as a master brewer, she has become a billionaire entrepreneur with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards to honor her name. Furthermore, she has built a legacy with her tenacious efforts that can never be forgotten.
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