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Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020, Biocon boss says she won it for her colleagues

She became the third Indian and second woman to win the Award.

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Last Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 10.34 AM IST
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Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon in 1978 with just $500, which now is one of Asia’s leading biotech companies with revenue worth $800 million in FY19. (Image: www.ey.com)
NEW DELHI: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon, has been named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 for her contribution in improving universal access to affordable life-saving medicine and transforming the world in one of its kind virtual entrepreneurship award ceremony.

The biotech boss was selected among 46 entrepreneurs from 41 countries and territories. She became the third Indian to win the Award after Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank in 2014 and Narayana Murthy of Infosys in 2005. She also becomes the second woman to hold the title, following Olivia Lum of Singapore's Hyflux Limited in 2011.


“Kiran is an inspirational entrepreneur who demonstrates that determination, perseverance and a willingness to innovate can create long-term value. The judging panel were impressed by her ability to build and sustain growth over the past 30 years and by her integrity and passion for philanthropy that has delivered huge global impact,” said Manny Stul, chairman and co-CEO of Moose Toys and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel.

Kiran, 67, founded Biocon, a bio-enzymes company, in 1978 with just two employees and US$500. Since its inception, Biocon has grown to employ more than 11,000 people and become one of the strongest innovation-driven biotechnology companies in Asia with revenues of US$800m for FY19. Biocon and its subsidiaries are making a lasting impact on global health care. Millions of people living with diabetes now have access to affordable insulin, while millions more who are battling cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other debilitating diseases now have access to affordable biosimilars.

Mazumdar-Shaw decided to break the glass ceiling when she discovered that no one would hire a woman as a master brewer. In order to prove that 'women should not be underestimated or denied opportunity just because of gender stereotypes', she founded Biocon in 1978 with just $500. The company has now become one of Asia’s leading biotech companies with an 11,000-plus workforce, a technology hub in Bangalore and revenue worth $800 million in FY19.

In September last year, Biocon announced that it would supply rh-insulin at less than $0.10 per day (for the average 40 units of insulin required per patient per day) to low- and middle-income countries — less than a third of current rh-insulin prices. The company has supplied more than 2 billion affordable doses of biosimilar insulins to patients globally in the last 15 years.

Biocon is also studying use of its existing novel biologic drug Itolizumab for treating some Covid-19 related health conditions in India and seeing positive results.

“Biocon and its subsidiaries are making a lasting impact on global healthcare. Millions of people living with diabetes now have access to affordable insulin, while millions more who are battling cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other debilitating diseases now have access to affordable biosimilars,” said EY.

Mazumdar-Shaw said at the core of entrepreneurship is about solving problems and the “greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times”.

“My business focus is global health care and the provision of universal access to life saving medicine; however, my responsibility as an entrepreneur is greater than simply delivering value to shareholders. Wealth creation can be a catalyst for change, and all entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the world around them and the communities in which they operate. Women also play a hugely important role in economic development, and for too long their contribution has been ignored,” said Mazumdar-Shaw.

The 67-year-old billionaire entrepreneur also took to Twitter to say that she won the award for her colleagues and her country.


Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation, said the award to Mazumdar-Shaw was well deserved.


The top boss also received appreciation from Ayushman Bharat CEO Dr Indu Bhushan, comedian Papa CJ, and actors Anupam Kher and Danish Sait, among others.

Mazumdar-Shaw has also featured in the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list and Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.

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