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June 8, 2020

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw from India named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020

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  • The Czech Republic was represented by Oliver Dlouhý, CEO of Kiwi.com.
  • In 2020 EY announces the 21st year of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Awards in the Czech Republic. Sign up yourself or nominate Czech entrepreneurs now: www.podnikatelroku.cz

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of India-based Biocon Limited, was this evening named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 at a ground-breaking, virtual award ceremony. Kiran was picked from among 46 award winners from 41 countries and territories vying for the world title. In the award’s 20-year history, Kiran becomes the third EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner from India. She follows former Indian world title winners Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank (2014) and Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies Limited (2005). She also becomes the second woman to hold the title, following Olivia Lum of Hyflux Limited from Singapore in 2011.

Kiran, 67, founded Biocon, a bio-enzymes company, in 1978 with just two employees and US$500. Since its inception, Biocon has grown to employ more than 11,000 people and become one of the strongest innovation-driven biotechnology companies in Asia with revenues of US$800m for FY19. Biocon and its subsidiaries are making a lasting impact on global health care. Millions of people living with diabetes now have access to affordable insulin, while millions more who are battling cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other debilitating diseases now have access to affordable biosimilars.

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw from India named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 1

“At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times, and that’s been my experience throughout my entrepreneurial journey. My business focus is global health care and the provision of universal access to life saving medicine; however, my responsibility as an entrepreneur is greater than simply delivering value to shareholders. Wealth creation can be a catalyst for change, and all entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the world around them and the communities in which they operate. Women also play a hugely important role in economic development, and for too long their contribution has been ignored. It’s important that we use the platform of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurial pursuits. I’m truly honored to receive this prestigious award,” says Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited.

“With an exceptional record in creating long-term value, Kiran’s clear vision of making a difference to the lives of millions of people around the world make her a worthy EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. Her impact on improving global health access and affordability will endure for decades to come. She is a beacon for other entrepreneurs to follow," says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader.

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw from India named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 2

“The online announcement of the world's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year was truly a unique experience. I never expected to participate in one Zoom meeting with so many inspiring people with powerful stories and a huge impact on the future of the world. Kiran rightfully won and I’m convinced we’ll hear more about her Biocon, not least in connection with a drug for Covid-19. Congratulations!” was the immediate response of Czech competition winner Oliver Dlouhý, CEO of Kiwi.com, holder of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Czech Republic title.

“This year, the ceremonial announcement of the worldwide finals of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards took place in an unconventional way via online broadcast. Inspirational figures from the global business scene were watched by people from all over the world. The Czech Republic was represented by Oliver Dlouhý, thanks to whose start up Kiwi.com people are closer to where they want to be. He impressed the international judging panel mainly due to his determination to improve the world around him and his efforts to make travel more accessible and sustainable long term,” says Magdalena Souček, EY Country Managing Partner in the Czech Republic and for the Central and Eastern Europe Region. Congratulations to the winner Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who is deeply committed to improving the lives of people struggling with various diseases. Her biotech firm Biocon develops drugs for patients struggling with cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. It also devotes considerable attention to the mediation of affordable vital medicines in developing countries and the provision of basic health care, hygiene and early diagnosis of cancer.”

“Kiran is an inspirational entrepreneur who demonstrates that determination, perseverance and a willingness to innovate can create long-term value. The judging panel were impressed by her ability to build and sustain growth over the past 30 years and by her integrity and passion for philanthropy that has delivered huge global impact. She has built India’s largest biopharmaceutical company on a foundation of compassionate capitalism and putting patient needs before profits,” says Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel.

“Entrepreneurs are the unstoppable visionaries who inspire innovation and fuel growth and prosperity by building remarkable companies and services. Kiran’s passion to develop low-cost, cutting-edge pharmaceutical alternatives has brought affordable health care to patient communities all around the world. Her drive to innovate has created huge growth for Biocon Limited and helped diversify the company’s portfolio of therapies for chronic diseases. Kiran is a truly inspiring EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner,” says Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO.

About Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited

A first-generation entrepreneur, Kiran graduated as a Master Brewer from a brewing school in Australia and returned to her native India in 1975 to find work as a brew master. After two years of unsuccessfully trying to overcome the hurdles of entering a male-dominated brewing industry, Kiran started Biocon Limited, producing bio-industrial enzymes in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru, India. A year later, Biocon became the first Indian company to export enzymes to the US and Europe.

Now, Biocon and its subsidiaries are the pioneers in areas less frequented by Indian pharmaceuticals companies, including fermentation-based small molecules, human insulin and insulin analogs, biosimilars for key antibody drugs, novel therapies, and high-end contract research services. With customers in over 120 countries, the company is a world leader in biosimilars and APIs for statins, immunosuppressants and other specialty molecules. In 2014, Biocon was India’s first biotech company to go public and only the second Indian company to pass the US$1b mark on its first day of listing. The company’s market capitalization is currently over US$4b.

Biocon is also leading the way on universal access to affordable life-saving medicine. For example, in September 2019, the company announced that it would supply rh-insulin at less than US$0.10 per day (for the average 40 units of insulin required per patient per day) to low- and middle-income countries — less than a third of current rh-insulin prices. The company has supplied more than 2 billion affordable doses of biosimilar insulins to patients globally in the last 15 years.

Compassionate capitalism that addresses inequality is at the center of Kiran’s business and leadership philosophy. Founded in 2004, the Biocon Foundation provides basic health care, sanitation and early diagnosis and treatment of common cancers and non-communicable diseases to marginalized communities. Kiran has also been an angel investor for numerous successful health care startups in areas such as affordable breast cancer screening, chemotherapy determination, and low-cost warming devices for premature and low-birth-weight babies. The Mazumdar Shaw Center for Translational Research, a nonprofit research institute established by Kiran and dedicated to developing scientific breakthroughs for treating a wide range of human diseases, has also developed several advanced yet affordable cancer diagnostics. In 2016, Kiran signed The Giving Pledge, committing 75% of her wealth to philanthropy and giving back.

About the judging panel

The independent judging panel was chaired by Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 winner. Joining him were:

  • Rosaleen Blair, CBE, Founder and Chair of Alexander Mann Solutions
  • George Hongchoy, Executive Director and CEO of Link Asset Management Limited
  • Hernan Kazah, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Kaszek Ventures
  • Sipho Nkosi, Chairman of Sasol
  • Emine Sabancı Kamışlı, Co-Founder and Vice Chairperson of Esas Holding

Broadcast coverage and high-resolution content are available here for download for broadcast and online use.

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Winner profile: 

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 České republiky a EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Jihomoravského kraje

Oliver Dlouhý, Kiwi.com s.r.o.

Some years ago, Oliver Dlouhý and his girlfriend were looking for flights to Portugal. They found a good number of tickets through various search engines, all of them too expensive. In an effort to get where they wanted to go for less, they began to try all possible flight combinations of low-cost airlines manually. Their trip, with several transfers, consisted of multiple tickets and cost about a quarter of a ticket from Prague to Portugal with the cheapest vendor. Nobody at the time had a comprehensive system for searching and connecting flights of non-cooperating airlines, and it immediately occurred to Dlouhý that with successful automation, it could be a highly promising business. He took the CZK 50,000 he had saved, found a partner and in 2012 launched the SkyPicker portal for the sale of airline tickets composed of unique flight combinations. Several years later, he changed the name to Kiwi.com.

The company has gone from a small Brno-based start-up to what is now a global firm with almost a thousand employees in eighteen branch offices around the world. Another two thousand people work for Kiwi.com externally. The head office remains in Brno, as does a part of the customer service and development operations. Despite the company’s rapid growth, it has held on to its open and friendly atmosphere. Dlouhý tries to serve as an example, never ceasing to grow and develop and constantly motivating staff with his ideas and long-term vision. 

Every day, Kiwi.com processes some 100 million searches; annual turnover in 2018 was nearly CZK 30 million. More than 40% of turnover is generated in Europe, a quarter in America, the rest in Asia. In addition to air tickets, the system offers ground transport. In Europe alone, it works with around 60 carriers, whose numbers continue to grow. The company takes great pride in its customer service, which it considers to be a great competitive advantage. Customers are looked after from start to finish. No matter what combination of carriers people buy, Kiwi.com guarantees it will deliver them to their destination, even in the event of a delay or cancellation of a connection.

Dlouhý doesn’t hide the fact that the business was started primarily for the profit motive. When it started to thrive, his motivation changed and the financial side ceased to be so important. Today, he primarily wants to improve the world around him through his actions. In addition to his constant efforts to make travel more accessible and easier, he is deeply engaged in the issue of transport sustainability and actively involved in several projects in this field. Elon Musk is a great role model for him.

Oliver Dlouhý defines Kiwi.com as a “virtual global super-carrier” and his dream is to aggregate the entire world of transport so that the customer can simply make the best journey from any point A to any point B anywhere in the world, no matter the means of travel. From taxi to plane to shared bikes or scooters.

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