Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was always inclined towards studies and education. She pursued B.Sc in Zoology from Bangalore University. With a thirst to study further, she went to Australia for post-graduation. She studied at Ballarat University in Melbourne and got the qualification of a Master Brewer. In 1974, she got her first job and started working as a trainee brewer with Carlton and United Beverages. She worked there for four years post which her life took a new turn.
In 1978, Mazumdar Shaw joined Biocon Biochemicals Limited, Ireland as a trainee manager. Soon after joining them, she started the Indian arm of the company in the same year. She rented a garage space in Bangalore and with an initial investment of Rs. 10,000 she commenced her entrepreneurial journey. Initially, she did face issues like banks would not trust her idea and loans were a problem since biotechnology was a new field and women entrepreneurs back then were rare. Some would even ask her father to be guarantor. She also faced issues in recruiting and convincing people to join her startup. Her first employee was a retired garage mechanic. Uninterrupted power, superior quality water, sterile labs, imported research equipment, and workers with advanced scientific skills were not easily available. She still did not give up and continued to work hard.
Biocon started as an industrial enzyme manufacturer and commenced exporting to USA and Europe. Within the first year, Mazumdar Shaw’s venture started churning profits. They had enough money to buy a 20-acre property. She focused on discovery of novel enzymes and novel techniques for development of solid substrate fermentation technology through research and development and that took the company’s operations to a new dimension. Post this, there was no turning back. In 1987, Narayan Vaghul of ICICI ventures supported creation of a venture capital fund of USD 250,000. In 1989, they became the first Indian biotech company to receive US funding for proprietary technology.
In 2004, Biocon went for an IPO which was oversubscribed 33 times. This was advised to her by Infosys head honcho Narayan Murthy. It was the second Indian company to cross the 1 billion mark on the first day of listing. This raised capital helped her in creation of affordable innovation. They focused on cost-effective techniques and low-cost alternatives for drugs too.
Apart from Biocon, Mazumdar Shaw has been involved with several philanthropic activities. She has a CSR wing called Biocoin Foundation that focuses on health, education and infrastructure in rural areas. She supports the Arogya Raksha Yojana and also established Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre in Bangalore. Quite a journey for an entrepreneur who began her journey as a trainee and is now the 92nd Most Powerful Woman in the World.
If you too have entrepreneurial dreams or wish to have a venture like the ones listed above, you need to have faith in your Chatur Idea. You will always wonder who will fund this idea and from where will you find investors. In that case, you can participate in the #BeAChatur Contest and not only be mentored, but also stand a chance to win a whopping Rs.10 Lac funding for your dream startup idea.