A woman’s place

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is among the most successful woman in India. The head of a leading biotechnology company, the 55-year-old is a high-earning entrepreneur.
But 30 year ago, when Mazandur-Shaw founded Biocon in a garage in Bangalore, it was a different story.”I couldn’t find people to work for me-not even women”,she told the Financial Times.
Biocon started out producing enzymes used in the brewing industry.”Banks didn’t know what biotech was”,she remembers. People said,”What are enzymes? We’ve never heard of such products”.
Finally, Mazumdar-Shaw found a bank that was willing to take a chance on her. It was an intelligent move:Boicon is now worth over $1billion.”I still bank with them”,she says.
The company’s product range has also expanded. In addition to producing enzymes for brewing, baking and textiles, Biocon now makes statins, drugs that lower cholesterol. It also has a business unit that does clinical search and testing for other pharmaceutical companies.
Today, Biocon employs 3,000 people and has overseas offices in the US, Britain and the United Arab Emirates. Last year, it acquired a 70 per cent interest in the German pharmaceutical company AxiCorp.
Mazumdar-Shaw says that discrimination against her ended in the 1990s, when Biocon became successful.”I tell young women not to give up. When you overcome challenges it makes you more confident”,she comments.



A woman’s place