Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: She has the odd passion—artwork, horses—but it's Biocon that really gives her joy What do our other billionairesses like to splurge on? Kiran's abiding passion, apart from her work, are horses and paintings—she particularly enjoys collecting the works of Yusuf Arakkal and S.G. Vasudev. Sailoja confesses she loves Louis Vuitton purses and diamond and gold jewellery. "But I haven't bought any great jewellery for two years now," she says. Shobhana admits to a weakness for designer watches and bags, as well as light, trendy and stylish fashion jewellery which is not necessarily very expensive. Ekta loves dressing up—but of course her biggest pleasure comes from watching her audience ratings soar. For most, making billions is not what drives them. Sulajja, who recently sold a 15 per cent stake in her company to Anil Ambani's Reliance Capital, could be speaking for all of them when she sums up: "Neither me nor my family has been about money. That's not how we relate to people either. I appreciate that I have certain comforts and don't have to struggle as much as some for basics, but beyond that we're just simple hard-working people."
By Paromita Shastri with Charubala Annuncio, Archana Rai and Madhavi Tata
Opportunity She refused to be thwarted. "I really wanted to do something with my life," she remembers. It was this rebellious streak that inspired her to start her own company, although she admits the opportunity was more by chance. "This is why I call myself an accidental entrepreneur - because it was an accidental encounter with another entrepreneur… who wanted to set up shop in India and… asked me whether I would be able to partner this venture," she says. The chance meeting persuaded Ms Mazumdar-Shaw to launch into the business of developing and making enzymes. She says she wasn't daunted by the transition from brewery to biotech. "If you think about brewing, it is biotechnology. And I would say that I was a technologist at heart. So whether I... fermented beer or whether I fermented enzymes, the base technology was the same." Female entrepreneurs
- Turnover (2010): Rs 2400 Cr, approx 535 million US dollars
- Number of employees: 5000
- HQ Location: Bangalore
- Year founded: 1978
- Ownership: Listed on BSE & NSE (India)