MOSTPOWERFUL WOMEN

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Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 65

Chairperson and MD, Biocon

Previous Rank : 5

She might be richest self-made businesswoman in India, but Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur”. As she recounts how she became one, the 65-year-old chairperson and managing director of biopharmaceutical company Biocon says in characteristic plain-speak that it was the product of “gender bias”. “I call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I never intended to start a business,” she says. Despite the accidental start, over the nearly four decades she’s been in the business, Mazumdar-Shaw has put the Indian biotechnology sector squarely on the global map. The Bengaluru-based businesswoman founded Biocon in 1978 and since then has turned the company from just a manufacturer of enzymes to India’s largest manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals targeting diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer.

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