Earlier this week, the Indian billionaire entrepreneur, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, spoke about her entrepreneurial journey at an event organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO). The event was themed ‘Women’ shaping the future’.
FLO is a division of India’s industry association, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Shaw started her address by talking about fighting gender bias in her entrepreneurial journey. She started her journey at the age of 25, without any collateral or office. She counted hiring as one of her major challenges because people were not ready for a woman in a leadership role at that time (40 years ago).
Further, Shaw stressed the impact of including women in the workforce and how can it add to the country’s GDP.
India can benefit hugely by ensuring that women are a part of the economic development process: Ms @kiranshaw, CMD, @Bioconlimited at an interactive session organized by @FICCIFLO. pic.twitter.com/sxN69TlhyE
— FICCI (@ficci_india) April 3, 2019
Shaw is the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited, a Bengaluru-based biotechnology company, along with being the chairperson of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
The billionaire is also an investor in two healthcare startups including UE LifeSciences and Oncostem Diagnostics, both of which are working on building a solution for breast cancer. The women-centric investment firm, Saha Fund also counts Kiran as one of its investors among other women leaders.
From the significance of employing women to building global companies, here are some key takeaways from the veteran’s address:
Do Not Give Up
Addressing young entrepreneurs, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said that failure is temporary, but giving up is final. Hence, one should keep trying and never give up on their ideas. She also empathised with the hustle of running a business and added that “something will fail — pick yourself up and do something else.” Kiran advised the young innovators to learn from their failures and keep enduring.
Stressing on the need for endurance, she said “endurance is a very important test for all of us, it keeps us from becoming fickle. Today we live in a fast moving world and end up giving up easily because we are always switching from one thing to another. This should be avoided, we must endure.”
Endurance Builds Big Businesses
Kiran noted that Indian entrepreneurs are not building big organisations and it has become a challenge for our country. She asked, “We talk about a lot of exciting startups in India but how many of them have really endured and built big businesses?” She stressed that Indian entrepreneurs must scale up and in order to scale up the entrepreneurs must endure. “They should use their belief and sense of purpose to keep enduring and in turn build big sustainable businesses,” she added.
Failing is temporary, never give up: Ms @kiranshaw, CMD, @Bioconlimited to FICCI FLO members while talking about her entrepreneurial journey.@pinkyreddy22 @tsubbaramireddy @Entrepreneur @YourStoryCo @Inc42 @FICCIFLO pic.twitter.com/jJylaijHGe
— FICCI (@ficci_india) April 3, 2019
Celebrate Your Success Milestones
Talking about how to stay motivated throughout the struggle, Kiran asked the entrepreneurs to define their success milestones and then make it a point to celebrate each one of them. She added, “Let everybody understand what those milestones are, and upon achieving, celebrate those milestones.”
It is very important to stay relevant to the existing market, Kiran said. If the market is moving towards a certain segment (say, automation), you should be innovating in that segment. If the company is not relevant to the current market needs, it will not succeed. Even if the product is too futuristic it can be problematic, Kiran explained.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw address at the FLO event was part of the group’s effort to bring together women achievers from all sectors to celebrate their successes and also inspire other women so that they could embark on their own journey towards success.