Biocon - Kiran Mazumdar Shaw's Entrepreneurial Dream

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN032
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1992-2005
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Biocon
Industry : Biotech
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Entrepreneur

Kiran was born and brought up in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, India. She hailed from a middle-class family, which encouraged her to pursue higher education. Following the footsteps of her father, who was chief brewmaster6 in United Breweries7, she went to Ballarat College in Melbourne, Australia, to specialize in Malting and Brewing Technology to become India's first woman brewmaster. Kiran came back to India in 1975 expecting to get lucrative job offers. However, she did not receive any. Though she possessed the required technical qualifications, her chosen profession was completely male-dominated one8. After staying for two years as a consultant in India, Kiran went abroad and found a job in the UK.

There she met Leslie Auchincloss (Auchincloss), the owner of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, an Ireland-based company. Auchincloss was planning to start a business in India. The Irish company wanted to establish its operations in India to produce simple bio-products from indigenous raw materials. 

The Growth of Biocon

Biocon started with the manufacture and export of Papain, a plant enzyme, and Isinglass, a marine hydrocolloid,11 which are key products for the brewing industry. Within two years, Biocon established a steady flow of exports to Ireland. As the offtake of the company's products by Ireland grew, Biocon's manufacturing activity was shifted from the rented garage to a 20-acre site near Bangalore city in 1983. Kiran was not content with the steady growth in the product offtake by the Irish company. In 1984, she decided to recruit a team to commence research and development (R&D) in new areas of enzyme technology.

Excerpts >>

6]  A brew master oversees the preparation, which is technically called brewing, of malt beverages

7]  United Breweries Ltd is the market leader in the Indian beer market with a 40 per cent market share. Its flagship Kingfisher brand alone commands a 25 per cent market share. Today, UB Group is a Rs 30000 mn conglomerate with diverse interests in brewing, distilling, pharmaceuticals and engineering.

8]  The fact that even in 2005, India does not have a woman brewmaster shows the conservative outlook of the industry.

11]  Hydrocolloid is a substance that forms a gel with water.


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