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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

    Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, India's first biotechnology entrepreneur, and the chairperson and managing director of Biocon India group is truly a trendsetter. Starting out in a relatively unknown field she worked hard, non-stoppingly for nearly 25 years to create a name for herself. Today at 50 she is the richest Indian woman.

    Born in Bangalore, she had her early education in Bishop Cotton Girls School and then in Mount Carmel College. Wanting to do something different, she went to Ballarat College, Melbourne, specialising in Malting and Brewing Technology. She wanted to become India's first woman brew master.

    She started Biocon in 1978 collaborating with an Irish firm and floated two joint ventures, Biochemizyme and Biocon-Quest India Ltd. She always says that her inspiration for Biocon was, a chance meeting with the founder of Biocon International, Leslie Auchincloss. Her goal to do something different has led her to 15 patents for new enzymes in recent years. Her vision has transformed Biocon from an industrial- enzyme company into an integrated biopharmaceutical company. Today it is one of the leaders in India's biotech industry. Biocon has several 'firsts' to its credit. It will soon be the world's first company to manufacture human insulin from the yeast organism, Pichia pastoris, she reckons.

    Ms. Mazumdar says, "In India biotechnology is the new sunrise industry after IT". She feels, for India, Biotechnology would provide far-reaching benefits to the needs in food and nutrition, human healthcare, industrial and environmental solutions. It is rightly referred to as the "Technology of Hope". Hope for our hungry millions through high yielding, high nutrition food crops, golden rice, golden wheat and many more. Hope for our diseased populations through vaccines. Hope for our environment through cleaner and greener biotechnologies based on enzymes and bioremediation. Hope for the betterment of Indian women economy as it provides endless opportunities to discover and develop new products. Hope for India's women, as it is not gender based.

    Biotechnology is about acquiring knowledge at several levels to generate wealth. Kiran Mazumdar had started Biocon with a small capital, but with a dedicated team of highly qualifled professionals. They came to work with her for a pittance but today they are at enviable positions. May be they visualized the potential and had a lot of faith.

    Ms. Mazumdar won a number of awards and held important positions. She has been the Vice-President, Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE). She was awarded the Rotary Award for Best Model Employer, National Award for Best Small Industry and most noteworthy, the Padmashri in 1989 from the Government of India.

    In addition to all this, there is another side of Kiran Mazumdar, which many do not know. She has been a vocal supporter of civic amenities, roads and cleanliness in the city of Bangalore. She has contributed one crore rupees to the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), which is starting the Swacha Bangalore programme. She also has a keen interest in local arts and does some writing too.

    Kiran Mazumdar has shown the value of the desire to achieve something, however difficult or unknown it may be. She has poved that the will to struggle and hard work can surely take one to the peaks. In her own words, "Success is only pleasurable when you struggle for it".

What is Biotechnology?

Dictionary defines that it is the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other applications, especially the genetic manipulation of micro-organism for the production of antibiotics, hormones, etc.

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