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India Inc's finest: Karnataka's leading entrepreneurs

Last updated on: October 5, 2011 10:31 IST

India Inc's finest: Karnataka's leading entrepreneurs

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Karnataka has been home to many a leading entrepreneur in India. These entrepreneurs have played a key role in defining the state's cosmopolitan status, giving Karnataka a resonance in history and in international relations. Here, we feature some of the top entrepreneurs (not in any particular order).

Kiran Mujumdar Shaw -- Biocon

At age 25, she started a biotech company in her garage. And the fact that in the 70s no one in India knew what biotech was never really deterred Kiran Mujumdar Shaw, one of India's most influential entrepreneurs.

Biocon International, which began its operations in 1978 with a sum of Rs 10,000, is now a $1 billion (approx) company. It all started because, she didn't get a job as a brewer after getting herself trained in Australia.

She is quoted as saying, "Success is about pursuing a vision with a sense of purpose and a spirit of challenge. Biocon's byline is 'The difference lies in our DNA' and we all believe in it. We don't imitate other companies but have charted our own business destiny."Her pioneering work in the sector has earned her several awards, including the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan award.

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VG Siddhartha -- Amalgamated Bean Company (Cafe Coffee Day)

Best known as the founder-owner of the coffee chain, Cafe Coffee Day, Siddhartha's business interests spreads across coffee retailing, plantations, real estate, venture capital and financial services. He is also the brain behind Way2Wealth and the founder of Sivan Securities.

He started his coffee trading company ABC in 1993, and set up the first CCD outlet in 1996. Today, it's a popular hangout with people across age groups. Further, it's tagline -- A lot can happen over coffee -- became an instant success with the youth.

What makes his business interesting is that he follows a vertically integrated model. This means almost everything that CCD needs -- coffee, furniture, waste management, coffee machines, logistics -- is sourced in-house. Siddhartha owns 10,000 acres of coffee plantations.

This successful model has now prompted him to own an entire chain in furniture. After creating a successful model coffee retail chain, Siddhartha (as quoted in Forbes India) says, "My dream is to create an IKEA from India."

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N R Narayana Murthy -- Infosys

Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy is an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs. He and his team were amongst the first ones to introduce India to terms like off-shoring, outsourcing and global delivery model.

Born on August 20, 1946, N R Narayana Murthy is a BE Electrical from University of Mysore (1967) and M Tech from IIT Kanpur (1969).

Narayana Murthy began his career with Patni Computer Systems in Pune. In 1981, he founded Infosys with six other software professionals.

Murthy was CEO of the company from 1981 to 2002. After his long 20 years tenure, in August 2011, he retired from the post of the head of Infosys, to don the role of the chairman emeritus.

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Image: (Left to right): Sudha Murthy, N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani and Rohini Nilekani

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Azim Premji -- Wipro

Chairman of Wipro Technologies, Azim Premji has several more achievements to his credit. In 2000, Asiaweek magazine, voted Premji among the 20 most powerful men in the world.

In April 2004, Time magazine rated him among the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2005, the government of India honoured Azim Premji with Padma Bhushan.

He is an icon among Indian businessmen and his success story is a source of inspiration to a number of budding entrepreneurs.

Azim Premji took over the reins of family business in 1966 at the age of 21, after the sudden demise of his father.

And, under his leadership Wipro has metamorphosed from a Rs 70 million company in hydrogenated cooking fats to a pioneer in providing integrated business, technology and process solutions on a global delivery platform. Today, Wipro Technologies is the largest independent R&D service provider in the world.

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Vijay Mallya -- UB Group, Kingfisher Airlines, Force India

Flamboyant is the most commonly used adjective to describe Vijay Mallya. Well, people who are close to him do say that he does live life kingsize.

Prior to joining UB group, Vijay Mallya worked for the American Hoechst Corporation (now Sanofi-Aventis) in the US and with Jenson & Nicholson in the UK.

Since 1980, he assisted his father, the then chairman of the UB Group, and played a crucial role in re-launching the Kingfisher Brand. Later, he assumed the position of chairman in October 1983.

On personal front, he is a keen sportsman and an ardent aviator and yachtsman of distinction. He not only participates in various sporting events but also supports various sporting activities worldwide.

It's this passion that drove him the first Indian ever to become the owner of a Formula One Team - Force India Formula One.

In addition to this, Vijay Mallya has received several professional awards both in India and overseas. He was conferred a doctorate of philosophy in business administration, by the Southern California University, Irvine. He has also been nominated as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

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Image: Force India's Formula One team chairman Vijay Mallya (C) poses with drivers Giancarlo Fisichella (R) of Italy and Adrian Sutil of Germany after a news conference in Mumbai March 22, 2009
Photographs: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe
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