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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Lessons In Entrepreneurship In conversation with Prathibha Sastry, Shaw shared insights into her 41-year old entrepreneurial journey that started accidentally, the changing business landscape in India and how technology today is agnostic.

By Prathibha Sastry

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Prathibha Sastry

Biocon is unarguably one of the biggest names in the Indian biotechnology sector. From a company that started in a garage more than four decades ago to becoming the second homegrown company to have a market capitalization of more than $1 billion on day one of its initial public offering (IPO), the company has grown from strength to strength under the leadership of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

In conversation with Prathibha Sastry, Shaw shared insights into her long entrepreneurial journey that started accidentally, the changing business landscape in India and how technology today is agnostic.

The Inflection Point

Responding to whether she ever thought about building such a massive company, Shaw said there's always an inflection point for a company when the entrepreneur realizes the true potential of what they have built.

For Shaw, that moment came when she re-engineered the business from being a producer of enzymes to a biopharmaceutical company and eventually went public in 2004. Biocon was the first Indian biotech company to have an IPO.

"It was a Eureka moment because I hadn't realized the value of what we had created over two decades," she said.

Building a Company

Shaw said while building Biocon during its formative years, the idea was to build a credible, profitable business.

"That part of my journey was about building a company with people, with technology, with markets," she added.

Leadership About Empowering

On leadership, Shaw believes leadership is not about controlling, it is about empowering.

"I still don't find most of our leaders understanding that, they still want to control," she said.

She said she has always followed the "mantra' of being problem solvers, and not task-doers.

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Entrepreneurship and entertainment have been the key themes in my work life. In a career spanning over 20 years, I have launched a film magazine, hosted a film-based radio talk show and co-founded a mobile app based on the Indian entertainment industry.

Currently building a Content Brand The PS Show. The PS Show brings together Entrepreneurial, Adventurous and Innovative women and men together. It's a platform that is building the NEXT.Women. Its to build a Culture of Continued Consciousness for Women Globally..

Prior to this I was heading the Operations at Microsoft Ventures in India and consider my time extremely rewarding. A pioneer in creating travel with a purpose within the Startup ecosystem, I  launched DigitalDesh for a Hyderabad based startup. It saw me lead a team of four, on a journey by road, along the length of India, covering 24 cities and towns in a period of 30 days. This allowed me to know more about the burgeoning innovation and startup ecosystem and bring out a report on the same and contribute to a Coffeetable Book

I was also involved in building the "Hardware Innovation Ecosystem" in India through the platform Innofest (an iSPIRT initiative).

Recipient of the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur- India 2008-09 and have represented the country at the International Young Creative Entrepreneurs Program held in London in October, 2008. 

I have written for newspapers like Bangalore Mirror and others. I have also been a contributing author on books like Indian Cinema and Women Entrepreneurs.

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