In this exclusive conversation, originally recorded as part of YourStory’s ‘Women on A Mission’ series, Biocon Founder and Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw talks about her early life, narrates how as a first-generation woman entrepreneur she went about building a world leading biotechnology company in India, and how her father motivated her throughout this inspirational journey.

Given her love for science, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw pursued a degree in Zoology Hons. from Bangalore University and graduated with a top rank. It was then that her father drew her attention towards brewing which was the oldest form of biotechnology practiced by humans. He suggested to her that she should probably look at brewing as a prospective career. Encouraged by her father, she decided to pursue a career path that was unique for women in India, and set out for her Masters degree in Brewingfrom Ballarat College, Melbourne University in Australia, which turned out to be life-changing event.

Starting out, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw first worked as a trainee brewer in Bangalore but was told that she would never become a brewmaster in India because that was regarded as men’s work. However, this is not what she wanted from life, her heart was set on being in the driving seat as the Master Brewer.  During this challenging time, her father motivated her to keep at it and not give up on her dream. So, she began to look for work abroad and very quickly landed a very interesting role at a brewery in Scotland. However before she could make that move, she had a chance meeting with an Irish entrepreneur. As the founder of Biocon Biochemicals, which produced enzymes for use in brewing and other industries, he was in India looking for a partner. He persuaded her to give up her job in Scotland and replace it with a dream of being a biotechnologist entrepreneur in India.

When Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw began her entrepreneurial journey, she was just 25 years old. She neither had any prior business background or access to capital. Starting off  with a small personal investment of Rs 10,000, she went on to build a innovation-led biopharmaceutical conompany developing research-driven cutting-edge biotherapies.

In this podcast, you can listen to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw talk about her nearly five-decade journey of growing Biocon into a well-recognized, multi-billion-dollar biopharmaceutical enterprise that is making a difference to global healthcare by expanding access to affordable medicines for millions of patients across the world.

The interview first appeared on YourStory’s YouTube Channel on 27 Apr 2022.

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