2 minute read 4 Jun 2020
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Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon, is EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020

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EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

2 minute read 4 Jun 2020

This year’s winner is a trailblazer who turned a US$500 investment into one of Asia’s leading biotech companies.

For Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 1975 was a pivotal year. She had graduated from brewing school in Australia and had returned to India, ready to embark on a career as a master brewer. She quickly discovered that, despite her expertise, no one would hire a woman. Undeterred, she decided to create her own business and prove that “women should not be underestimated or denied opportunity just because of gender stereotypes.”

Since then, Kiran has been a trailblazer for businesswomen in India and around the world. Biocon, the company she founded in 1978 with just US$500, is now one of Asia’s leading biotech companies. It has become one of the largest employers in the region, with an 11,000-plus workforce, and is a pioneer of Bangalore’s technology hub. Kiran’s name has become synonymous with the biotech industry in India, and she is recognized as a global thought leader, appearing on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list and Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times.
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020

Kiran’s can-do attitude and determination have been the company’s driving force. When the banks refused to lend her money, Kiran developed a business model that would still enable her to grow. “It forced me to create a model that was based on revenues and profits, rather than venture capital,” she explains. That gave her the cash flow to fund the research and production of pharmaceutical drugs.

“At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems,” she says. “The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times, and that’s been my experience throughout my entrepreneurial journey.”

Under Kiran’s leadership, Biocon has evolved from manufacturing pharmaceuticals such as statins and immunosuppressants to discovering, developing and producing biologics to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes. Biocon has been consistently ranked as one of the highest R&D spenders in India.

Throughout Biocon’s incredible growth, Kiran has been driven by her ambition to create a business that would leverage science for the benefit of society. Biocon is leading efforts to provide affordable insulin for patients around the world by producing rh-insulin at less than US$0.10 per day, a third of current prices.

Kiran has been leading Biocon’s corporate social responsibility programs in health care, education, science, startups, and civic and social issues. She is the second Indian citizen to join the Giving Pledge global initiative and has received two of India’s highest civilian honors. However, Kiran is not ready to stop pursuing her goal “to develop affordable blockbuster drugs with the potential to benefit a billion patients.”

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Summary

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited in India, is the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020. Kiran is a trailblazer who turned a US$500 investment into one of Asia’s leading biotech companies. Throughout Biocon’s incredible growth, Kiran has been driven by her ambition to create a business that would leverage science for the benefit of society.

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EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization