On June 4 Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of India-based Biocon Limited, was named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 at a ground-breaking, virtual award ceremony. Kiran was picked from among 46 award winners from 41 countries and territories vying for the world title. In the award’s 20-year history, Kiran becomes the third EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner from India. She follows former Indian world title winners Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank (2014) and Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies Limited (2005). She also becomes the second woman to hold the title, following Olivia Lum of Hyflux Limited from Singapore in 2011.
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.
Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, says:
“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. She has built India’s largest biopharmaceutical company on a foundation of compassionate capitalism and putting patient needs before profits.”
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited, says:
“At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times, and that’s been my experience throughout my entrepreneurial journey. 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. It’s important that we use the platform of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurial pursuits. I’m truly honored to receive this prestigious award.”
Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:
“Entrepreneurs are the unstoppable visionaries who inspire innovation and fuel growth and prosperity by building remarkable companies and services. Kiran’s passion to develop low-cost, cutting-edge pharmaceutical alternatives has brought affordable health care to patient communities all around the world. Her drive to innovate has created huge growth for Biocon Limited and helped diversify the company’s portfolio of therapies for chronic diseases. Kiran is a truly inspiring EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner.”
Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader, says:
“With an exceptional record in creating long-term value, Kiran’s clear vision of making a difference to the lives of millions of people around the world make her a worthy EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. Her impact on improving global health access and affordability will endure for decades to come. She is a beacon for other entrepreneurs to follow.”
About Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited
A first-generation entrepreneur, Kiran graduated as a Master Brewer from a brewing school in Australia and returned to her native India in 1975 to find work as a brew master. After two years of unsuccessfully trying to overcome the hurdles of entering a male-dominated brewing industry, Kiran started Biocon Limited, producing bio-industrial enzymes in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru, India. A year later, Biocon became the first Indian company to export enzymes to the US and Europe.
Now, Biocon and its subsidiaries are the pioneers in areas less frequented by Indian pharmaceuticals companies, including fermentation-based small molecules, human insulin and insulin analogs, biosimilars for key antibody drugs, novel therapies, and high-end contract research services. With customers in over 120 countries, the company is a world leader in biosimilars and APIs for statins, immunosuppressants and other specialty molecules. In 2014, Biocon was India’s first biotech company to go public and only the second Indian company to pass the US$1b mark on its first day of listing. The company’s market capitalization is currently over US$4b.
Biocon is also leading the way on universal access to affordable life-saving medicine. For example, in September 2019, the company announced that it would supply rh-insulin at less than US$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.
Compassionate capitalism that addresses inequality is at the center of Kiran’s business and leadership philosophy. Founded in 2004, the Biocon Foundation provides basic health care, sanitation and early diagnosis and treatment of common cancers and non-communicable diseases to marginalized communities. Kiran has also been an angel investor for numerous successful health care startups in areas such as affordable breast cancer screening, chemotherapy determination, and low-cost warming devices for premature and low-birth-weight babies. The Mazumdar Shaw Center for Translational Research, a nonprofit research institute established by Kiran and dedicated to developing scientific breakthroughs for treating a wide range of human diseases, has also developed several advanced yet affordable cancer diagnostics. In 2016, Kiran signed The Giving Pledge, committing 75% of her wealth to philanthropy and giving back.
About the judging panel
The independent judging panel was chaired by Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 winner. Joining him were:
- Rosaleen Blair, CBE, Founder and Chair of Alexander Mann Solutions
- George Hongchoy, Executive Director and CEO of Link Asset Management Limited
- Hernan Kazah, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Kaszek Ventures
- Sipho Nkosi, Chairman of Sasol
- Emine Sabancı Kamışlı, Co-Founder and Vice Chairperson of Esas Holding
Broadcast coverage and high-resolution content are available here for download for broadcast and online use.