India’s richest woman is honoured by her alma mater in Australia

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw


By Rekha  Bhattacharjee

Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a most distinguished alumna of the University of Ballarat and a pioneer of the biotechnology industry in  India, was honoured by Federation University  Australia  in March with the unveiling of a road named after her at the Mt Helen Campus.

Kiran Mazumdar drive







Kiran Mazumdar-Drive














Kiran Ribbon-cuttnig








Dr Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of India’s largest biopharmaceutical enterprise, Biocon, officially opened Mazumdar Drive near the University’s Science and Engineering building. During her visit she was also inducted as an Ambassador of the University for a three-year term.

“I am very grateful to  Federation University  Australia  for its generosity in naming  Mazumdar Drive  in my honour. I have many happy memories of my time here and acknowledge the significant role the University played in my education and development” said Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. She announced two scholarship for under graduates studying in Ballarat from BIOCON.


Kiran as a student_M_Shaw







(LHS): The BCAE 1974 Graduate Diploma Class of Malting and Brewing.

Back Row (L-R): Neville Gower (lecturer), Enrique Vazquez, Pawan Malik.

Front Row (L-R) Geoffrey Barrell (Head of Section), James Ichoroh, Japeth Kadzitu, Pravin Mevada, Tomas Abrajano, Devandra Kumar, Kiran Mazumdar

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw  received a graduate honours degree in Zoology from  Bangalore  University  in (1973). She later did her post-graduation work as a Brew Master in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College of Advanced Education in1975, earning the degree of Master Brewer. She worked as a trainee brewer in  Carlton  and United Breweries, Melbourne  and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and  Burston,Australia.

India’s richest path breaking woman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is a self-made woman and has links with  Australia  through education and early employment.

A graduate from  Bangalore  with double major in biology and zoology studied for her masters in the Biology of Beer at the  University  of  Ballarat outside  Melbourne.

A daughter of  India’s renowned brew master, Kiran followed her father’s footsteps distinguishing herself with her competence, ambition and dynamism. She worked in  Australia  as a trainee brewer in  Carlton  and United Breweries,  Melbourne  and as a trainee malster at Barret Brothers and Burston  Australia.

Moving back to  India  in 1975 Kiran realised to her utter frustration a woman ”˜brew master’ was unheard of. She could find work as a consultant only.

As luck would have – with references from  Australia, an Irishman approached her to be his partner for his enzyme production company in India  where papayas grew. Thus started Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s 70% stake in Bionic India working out of a garage ”“ she started making enzymes from papaya and catfish for fermenting beer.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw gradually expanded from producing enzymes to creating generic drugs. Since 1996 Biocon has been developing its own pharmaceuticals in addition to generics. Last year Pfizer paid Biocon two hundred million dollars to licence its generic insulin, starting in 2015.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw thinks of herself as a ”˜compassionate capitalist’ when questioned by media of her service to community. She established a Biocon Foundation program called ”˜Arogya Raksha Yogna’ or ”˜Health Help’ that helps around 50,000 people within ten mile radius.

Bionic  India  head is helping change the behavioural psychological factors of rural  India. Kiran has spent millions of dollars on her hospitals and healthcare.

In the Indian Press today, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s opinion is solicited on everything from sanitation to plastic surgery. On the recent Indian Budget 2012 -2013 Biocon CMD expressed fears “as it would be inflammatory”.

Famous for being the wealthiest woman in  India  – “Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the richest self-made woman” said her friend Vijay Mallaya one of India’s richest man and a fellow brewery baron.

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