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Entrepreneurship. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (1953- ) is an Indian entrepreneur who is the chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India. ⁠

⁠In 2007, along with Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Health, she helped establish the 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center at the Narayana Health City campus in Boommasandra, Bangalore. In 2014, she was awarded the Othmer Gold Medal, for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. ⁠

⁠She is on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list, and as of 2014, she has been listed as the 92nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.⁠


Before Mazumdar could move, she met Leslie Auchincloss, the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland. Auchincloss's company produced enzymes for use in the brewing, food-packaging and textile industries. Auchincloss was looking for an Indian entrepreneur to help establish an Indian subsidiary. Mazumdar agreed to undertake the job on the condition that if she did not wish to continue later six months she would be given a brewmaster's position comparable to the one she was giving up.

Philantropic Activities.

In 2004, Mazumdar-Shaw started a corporate social responsibility wing at Biocon, the Biocon Foundation. The Foundation focuses on health, education and infrastructure, especially in rural areas of Karnataka which lack healthcare facilities.

Mazumdar-Shaw dislikes the term "philanthropy", believing that it often provides temporary fixes rather than addressing the root cause or the underlying situation. She prefers the term "compassionate capitalist", believing that properly applied business models can provide an ongoing foundation for sustainable social progress. "Innovation and commerce are as powerful tools for creating social progress as they are for driving technological advancement... when they are put to use for social progress, the implementation is a lot cheaper, a lot more people benefit, and the effect is more lasting." In 2015, she joined The Giving Pledge, promising that at least half of her wealth will be dedicated to philanthropy.


India does not have organized health care programs such as socialised medicine or government-backed health insurance. Rural areas may have only one doctor for every two thousand people: it is estimated that 70 million people do not have the money to pay for a doctor's visit or for medicine. The Biocon Foundation is involved in numerous health and education outreach programs to benefit the economically weaker sections of Indian society.

Arogya Raksha Yojana

With Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital, Mazumdar-Shaw has supported the development of Arogya Raksha Yojana (Disease Protection Program/Health Help). Through this program Biocon Foundation establishes clinics to offer clinical care, generic medicines and basic tests for those who cannot afford them. As of 2010, seven clinics each served a population of 50,000 patients living within a radius of 10 km, treating in total more than 300,000 people per year. Clinics organize regular general health checks in remote villages by bringing in physicians and doctors from network hospitals. To improve early detection of cancer, they have trained young women as community health workers, using smart phones to send photographs of suspicious lesions to oncologists at the cancer center. Public health campaigns such as "Queen of Heart" educate people about specific health issues and promote early detection of problems such as cardiovascular diseases.

The clinics operate based on a model of micro-financed health insurance. Biocon provides low-cost drugs, making a negligible profit on a unit basis, but an overall profit on volume due to the participation of large numbers of people. Clinics also use a "subsidised convenience" pricing plan, under which more wealthy patrons pay full price in return for the convenience of scheduling their visits and procedures at desirable times, while poorer patients can obtain cheap or even free services by choosing less desirable times. Doctors and researchers look for opportunities to use cutting-edge technology in ways that will drive down costs and ensure quality of service.

Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Foundation

The death of her best friend, Nilima Rovshen, and the illnesses of her husband and her mother with cancer, have motivated Mazumdar-Shaw to support cancer research and treatment. In 2009, she established a 1,400-bed cancer care center, the Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Foundation, at the Narayana Health City campus in Bangalore, collaborating with Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya. In 2011, she added a center for advanced therapeutics with a bone marrow transplant unit and a research center. Her goal is to create a world-class cancer center.

Mazumdar Shaw Medical Foundation is a non-profit organization and has two arms to support its cause, which are Mazumdar Shaw Center for Translational Research and Mazumdar Shaw Cancer outreach program.


In collaboration with McMillan India Limited and teacher Prathima Rao, Mazumdar-Shaw has supported development and use of a basic mathematics textbook, introduced in Kannada schools in 2006.

She funded a multi-year research program by creating the Biocon Cell for Innovation Management with Prasad kaipa at the Indian School of Business in 2009.


Mazumdar-Shaw speaks about the importance of improving India's infrastructure, emphasizing the need to address issues such as efficient governance, job creation, and food, water, and health insecurity.

In Bangalore itself, Biocon, Infosys and other companies have had a significant impact on the city. These companies attract many scientists who would otherwise go overseas. Once a "pensioner's paradise", Bangalore is now called "the best urban working environment in India". Biocon Park, built in 2005 not far from Mazumdar-Shaw's original office, is a ninety-acre campus with five thousand employees. Outside the developed areas, however, there is still severe poverty.

Mazumdar-Shaw is a proponent of good government and infrastructure. She supported the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, an initiative of S. M. Krishna and Nandan Nilekani to improve the city's infrastructure and standard of living. Mazumdar-Shaw is part of the Bangalore City Connect Foundation, a non-profit trust for discussion of civic issues, involving both urban stakeholders and the government. Mazumdar-Shaw is actively engaged in urban reform, partnering with Jana Urban Space Foundation and local government to improve roads. She is also involved in the Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), which reviews and recommends candidates running in elections.

After the 2009 flood, Biocon, Infosys and Wipro all committed to rebuilding homes for flood victims in north Karnataka. Biocon committed to building 3,000 houses at a cost of Rs 30 crore.


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