Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, born on 23 March 1953 in Bangalore is an Indian entrepreneur. She is the Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon Ltd. In 2004, she became India's richest woman. She was educated at the Bishop Cotton Girls School and Mount Carmel College at Bangalore. After obtaining a B.Sc. Honours degree in Zoology from Bangalore University in 1973, she joined the Ballarat University in Melbourne, Australia and qualified as a master brewer in 1975 to become India's first woman Brew master. Her father encouraged her in this profession, as he himself was a master brewer in India. Her professional career started with the position of trainee brewer in Carlton & United Beverages in 1974. During 1975-77, she worked in technical positions in Kolkata and Vadodara. In 1978, she joined as Trainee Manager with Biocon Biochemicals Limited in Ireland. Collaborating with the same Irish firm, she founded Biocon India with a capital of Rs. 10,000/- in her garage in 1978. The initial operation was to extract an enzyme from papaya. Her application for loans was turned down by banks on three counts - biotechnology was a new word yet; the company lacked assets and most importantly, women entrepreneurs were still a rarity. On account of the last reason, she faced problems in recruiting as well.
Over the years, the company grew under her stewardship and is today the biggest biopharmaceutical firm in India. In 2004, Biocon went for an IPO and the issue was over-subscribed by over 30 times. Post-IPO, Shaw held close to 40% of the stock of the company and was regarded as India's richest woman with an estimated worth of Rs. 2,100 crore. She is a civic activist, especially with respect to municipal administration in Bangalore. She is also an art collector. She has authored 'Ale and Arty,' a Coffee table book about brewing beer illustrated by paintings of some of India's renowned artists. Famous brewing families and beer firms are the subject of the book. In 1998, she married John Shaw, an expatriate manager and Indophile from Scotland at Madura Coats. John Shaw resigned as the managing director of Madura Coats the same year and joined Biocon as its Director for International Business and the Vice Chairman of the Board.