From a rented garage to Forbes: Story of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Founder, Biocon)

Kiran Mazumdar

The company that was started in a rented garage 35 years ago in India, with a seed capital of Rs 10,000, whose net worth today is $2 billion (2017).

The answer is BIOCON. Founded by Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, a lady with great determination, whose name is synonymous with biotechnology in India. She started Biocon at the age of 25. 

Ms. Shaw completed her education as a post-graduate in Malting and Brewing from Melbourne University. In 1975, she returned to India only to take a job as a Technical Manager in Standard Maltings Corporation. But a certain conversation with her father set Kiran on a different life path. Her father told her, "I want you to use your knowledge to do something meaningful." This kept Kiran thinking. She was in a dilemma of choosing the right path or sticking to the regular salary cheques she was receiving at the end of each month. In the end, she left her job and ventured into biotechnology. Thus, Biocon was born. 

The journey from the garage was not a bed of roses. But in Kiran’s words, “Dreams are about believing in something so passionately that you somehow make them come true.” Right from the start, she had to face discrimination on account of her age and gender. But she braved it all to become one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs. Today, Biocon has two subsidiaries: Syngene, to provide development support services as an outsourcing firm and Clinigene, to cater to clinical development services. She features on the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women and the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list. 

What we can learn from her, is that you are never too young, or under-qualified to achieve greatness.


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Posted by Kumar Sambhav

Kumar manages the operations at The Testament. A perpetual learner, he finds inspiration in people, places and literature.

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