At a time when female entrepreneurs weren’t approved off and just a minuscule number of them existed, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw became a groundbreaking businesswoman in India. To top it off, she was making it in the rare field of biotechnology, which was definitely a male-dominated line of business. Born on 23rd March 1953 in Pune City, India, she grew up dreaming of becoming a doctor. Her father was as a brewer in the liquor industry and it always brought upon her a small sense of shame. In 1968, she graduated from Bishop Cotton’s Girl’s High School in Bangalore where the family were now living.
When it was time for her to go to college, she decided to take on medicine but was forced to forego her dream since her father firmly refused to pay for her college fees. Distraught, she decided to study Zoology instead in 1973. A journey of self-discovery and the need for peace with her father’s profession, she graduated from Ballarat College in Melbourne, Australia with credentials as a Master Brewer herself in 1975.
Her education in this field led her to work for Carlton and United Beverages for 4 years as a trainee brewer. Later, a chance encounter with someone from Biocon Biochemicals Ltd. led her to join the Ireland-based company in 1979. Later that same year, she founded Biocon India, with just 10,000 rupees in the beginning. In 1998, after meeting Scottish businessman and Indophile, John Shaw, they fell in love and got married. When Biocon India, got an IPO (Initial Public Offering) in 2004, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw became the richest woman in India. But, there were many struggles, as Indians weren’t used to a female businesswoman and leader, so hiring employees became a problem. Despite this challenge, she never gave up and instead pressed on in the business.
In 2007, her husband John was diagnosed with renal cell cancer in its early stages and could get the necessary care needed. She then set up a cancer care centre in Bangalore during the ordeal. Today, her net worth is $2.2 billion as of 2017 and she has been heaped with countless awards and titles of honour for her philanthropical work and her contribution to biotechnology.