She Began Her Struggle from a Garage with Just Rs. 10,000 to Then Becoming India’s Richest Women


Listed in the Time’s Magazine’s 100 most influential people, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a strong inspirational woman who has been conferred many prestigious awards. She is the pioneering force behind the company Biocon which is India’s largest biotech company and presented India with a distinct identity among the global companies.

Kiran completed her bachelor’s degree study in zoology in Bangalore University and shifted to Australia for her further studies. She accomplished her master’s in brewing from the University of Ballarat. Her career began as she worked with an international company, Carlton and United Breweries.

Kiran then met with Leslie Auchinklos who was the founder of Ireland’s Biocon Biochemical Ltd Company. The company was basically into producing enzymes that were used in food packaging, brewing, and textile industries. Leslie had the intention to expand the company in India and was on the look-out for an Indian entrepreneur. So with the help of Kiran, he stepped into the biotechnology industry in India and Kiran worked as a manager trainee in Biocon Biochemical Ltd. It was all she wanted.

In 1978, Kiran then returned to her homeland. She learned the basics of business at Biocon Biochemical Ltd and she launched Biocon India. The initial capital she had was minimal of Rs. 10,000. She rented a garage in Bangalore for the joint venture. However, the Indian law at the time allowed foreign venture bodies to only have 30% of share in an Indian company. So Kiran single-handedly took care of all the risks and challenges.

In that era, biotechnology in India was a new field. Moreover, people hesitated about a female entrepreneur as the biased mentality thought that a female leader could not bring success to a company. It was dire as even the bank declined the company for any loans. Consequently, as her father became the guarantor of the company bank gave the company some amount of loan. However, the struggle did not end.

For the same sole reason, she suffered to expand her team. Her first employee was a retired garage mechanic. Simultaneously, she was able to set up the enzyme-producing factory by renting a 3,000 square ft space after receiving the financial help from the banks.

There were a number of technical challenges to be confronted as there was no permanent infrastructure for this biotech business. It was an extreme challenge to acquire high-quality water, get hold of uninterrupted power, get imported lab and research equipment etc. However, Kiran never stopped. A year later the establishment of Biocon, became the first biotech company in India to manufacture enzyme and export them to other countries like U.S and Europe.

Persistent Kiran starting from the garage was able to then make Biocon Asia’s largest insulin-producing company. Thus her fortitude made her one of the world’s influential people. The small firm that launched itself with a minimal capital now has an annual turnover of whopping Rs 3,500 crore and more.

Currently, Kiran is an independent director of a software company at Infosys. And her personal wealth reaches to Rs. 15,000 crore. She is a powerful and inspirational story to every women’s motivation.

(Photo Credit: Yourstory, Rediff, Hindustan Times)