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  • She Says

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw answers Important Questions on Women in Corporate India

  • IWB Post
  •  May 13, 2015


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, determined to succeed in a male-dominated entrepreneurial field, started Biocon at the age of 25 from her parents’ garage in Bangalore. And that was how India’s biotechnology industry began.Today she is an international symbol of that industry and Biocon is India’s largest biotechnology firm. She has been a pioneer, both as a successful woman leader in a country which has too few of them.

In this interview with HuffPost India, she talks about how to develop more women leaders in one of the fastest growing economies of the world that is still largely dominated by men.

Here we republish the most inspiring quotes from the interview:

Recently, reports said that promoters of major companies were meeting the mandatory requirement for at least one woman board member by appointing family members such as daughters and wives, which defeats the purpose. It also shows the lack of women leaders in India except a few who are being wooed by multiple companies to join their boards. How can the gender gap be bridged in senior management positions and in company boardrooms in India?

What is preventing more women from scaling the heights of success that people such as you have achieved?

How would you describe the entrepreneurship climate in India? What needs to change to make it more conducive to the growth of new enterprises?

India is a fertile ground for entrepreneurship, given its large pool of world-class talent and resources. However, Indians fail to take ‘ideas’ to ‘market’ because unlike in the West capital is virtually inaccessible here. There isn’t enough public funding available for academia to pursue discovery and invention. Similarly, critical risk and seed capital needed by entrepreneurs to translate concepts into “proof of concept” is hard to come by. Moving ahead in this cycle, Industry also finds it difficult to obtain private funding from financial institutions, venture funds and capital markets to innovate and commercialize. India, therefore, needs to create a virtuous cycle if it is to unleash the huge potential of the nation’s entrepreneurial energy. This financial eco-system will work only if all three components – Academia, Entrepreneurs and Industry – work symbiotically and in tandem.

To set the wheels spinning and make the model self-perpetuating monetization needs to happen at every stage of this cycle. Academia therefore needs to create intellectual property (IP) through its discoveries and inventions that can be licensed to either entrepreneurs or directly to industry with royalty payments upon commercialization.Entrepreneurs need to create value-added IP that can be licensed to industry with royalties upon commercialization. Industry needs to monetize through successful commercialization that enables the payment of royalties.


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