Interview: Kushagra Awasthi, Founder & Chief Mentor at The Concept labs

Kushagra Awasthi

Interview with Kushagra Awasthi, Founder & Chief Mentor at The Concept labs, Masterclass and Mentor Program for DESIGNPRENEURS

After spending the best days of Indian Army Training at OTA. He served in a number of corporate companies in entry-level and mid management roles. In 2012, he made the decision to get into entrepreneurship, and life has never been the same since. 

Kushagra has founded “furnish your dream” Interior Design & Build Company with an emphasis on the interior fit out of Hotels, Offices, Data Centers, and other buildings with one of India’s most advanced and process-controlled furniture factories with automated machinery and software-oriented production with adding to this he founded “Lets Work”

In order to build India’s most dynamic and lively co-working facility. He also worked with Venture Catalysts for early stage startup funding.

His love for interior design was coupled with the burgeoning co-working business to create India’s most interesting and lively co-working space and he also founded “NIRVAAH” which thrives on the two necessities of life, food and water. 

Can you tell us about your background and what led you to start The Concept Labs?

Kushagra Awasthi: I worked in entry-level and mid-management positions for a number of corporate firms after enjoying my greatest days at the Indian Army Training at OTA. I made the decision to start my own business in 2012, and since then, nothing has been the same.

I built The Concept Labs, a platform that offers education, coaching, and community for aspiring and experienced designpreneurs, motivated by my business career and enthusiasm for supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship.

The Concept Labs works with colleges to provide practical knowledge and skills, foster a community of designpreneurs, and bridge the gap between academia and industry.

What inspired you to create a mentorship program specifically for designpreneurs in India?

Kushagra Awasthi: As an entrepreneur in the interior design and build industry, I recognized the need for mentorship and guidance for young designers and entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey.

There is a lot of untapped potential in India’s design industry, and I wanted to create a program that would help nurture and develop this potential, especially in the context of entrepreneurship.

I wanted to provide aspiring designpreneurs with the tools, resources, and network necessary to succeed in the industry, and that’s how the concept of The Concept Labs mentorship program came about.

I believe that with the right guidance and support, India’s designpreneurs can make a significant impact on the country’s economy and the world at large.

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Kushagra Awasthi: I founded the interior design and construction firm “furnish your dream” with a focus on the interior fit-out of hotels, offices, data centres, and other buildings.

This company works with one of India’s most cutting-edge and process-controlled furniture manufacturers that uses automated equipment and software-oriented production.

In addition, I established “Lets Work” to create India’s most vibrant and active co-working space. I am also a Venture Partner with Venture Catalysts India, the top venture capital business in the nation for investment and startup funding.

I established the Nirvaah Foundation in 2022. This non-profit organisation primarily focuses on three objectives.

  • River Revitalization.
  • Free meals is provided through a decentralised community kitchen.
  • The encouragement of entrepreneurship for an improved India.

Kindly brief us about  The Concept Labs, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Kushagra Awasthi: The Concept Labs is a mentorship program for Designpreneurs (Designer+Entrepreneur) in India. Our specialization is in providing practical knowledge and hands-on training in various aspects of design and entrepreneurship.

We offer a range of services including orientation and information sessions, the appointment of ambassadors, coordination of ambassadors for imparting practical knowledge, providing live environments for learning, and throwing physical opportunities to students.

Our aim is to build a community of designpreneurs who can collaborate, learn from each other, and grow their businesses while contributing to the industry’s growth as a whole.

We also offer mentorship and incubation services to help our participants develop their skills, refine their business models, and access funding and resources to help them succeed.

What is your biggest USP

Kushagra Awasthi: To have at least 500 startups having a balance sheet of more than 5 Cr which can generate direct employment of around 25000 people and Indirect employment of more than 1 lakh citizen of the country in 60 months

Can you walk us through the process of how The Concept Labs mentorship program works and what kind of support designpreneurs can expect?

Kushagra Awasthi: The Concept Labs mentorship program offers guidance and support to designpreneurs through a structured process that includes regular mentoring sessions, skill development workshops, and networking opportunities.

Designpreneurs can expect customized support tailored to their specific needs and challenges, as well as access to industry experts and resources to help them grow their business.

How do you select mentors for the program, and what qualifications do they have?

Kushagra Awasthi: The Concept Labs selects mentors based on their expertise, experience, and track record of success in their respective fields.

Qualifications and credentials vary depending on the mentor’s area of specialization. Some mentors are seasoned entrepreneurs with a proven track record of building successful businesses, while others may be experts in fields like design, finance, marketing, or legal.

The program also ensures that mentors have a passion for giving back to the community and helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

All mentors undergo a rigorous screening and selection process to ensure that they meet the program’s high standards of excellence.

What are some of the most common challenges that designpreneurs in India face, and how does The Concept Labs help them overcome these challenges?

Kushagra Awasthi: Some of the most common challenges that designpreneurs in India face include limited access to funding, lack of mentorship and guidance, difficulty in building a strong brand, and competition from established players in the market.

The Concept Labs Designpreneur mentorship program overcome these challenges by providing access to experienced mentors who can guide them in various aspects of their business, including financial planning, branding, marketing, and sales.

The program also provides opportunities for networking and collaboration with other designpreneurs, as well as access to funding and investment through its partnership with Venture Catalysts.

Additionally, The Concept Labs offers workshops and training sessions on various topics related to design and entrepreneurship, as well as access to its community of industry experts and professionals.

All of these resources are aimed at helping designpreneurs build and grow successful businesses in a highly competitive market.

What kind of impact have you seen The Concept Labs have on the designpreneur community in India?

Kushagra Awasthi: The Concept Labs has had a significant impact on the designpreneur community in India. Through its mentorship program and other initiatives, it has helped budding designpreneurs overcome various challenges and grow their businesses.

Many designpreneurs who have been a part of the program have gone on to launch successful ventures, secure funding, and establish themselves as leaders in their respective fields.

The program has also helped create a strong sense of community among designpreneurs, providing them with opportunities to connect, collaborate, and learn from one another.

Overall, The Concept Labs has played a key role in fostering innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in the design industry in India, and its impact is likely to continue to be felt in the years to come.

What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?

Kushagra Awasthi: Inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur was driven by the passion for creating something new, independence, and control over destiny.

Having worked in the corporate sector, I felt I was not able to fully utilize my potential and creativity. Entrepreneurship provided me with the freedom to pursue the vision and build something meaningful, which I believe is a path to personal and professional fulfillment.

I am always dedicated to helping others pursue their entrepreneurial dreams through The Concept Labs mentorship program and other initiatives.

What are some of the future goals or plans for The Concept Labs?

Kushagra Awasthi: We Aim to Equip DESIGNPRENEURS with knowledge of the real business world, e.g. Technical Know How, Finance and Compliances, How to grow business, Sales and Marcom strategies, GTM Strategies etc. Its Like Providing early stage entrepreneurs a flight ticket to reach to destination rather than taking a bus.

What advice would you give to aspiring designpreneurs who are just starting out?

Kushagra Awasthi: My advice to aspiring designpreneurs is to focus on creating a strong foundation with a clear vision, mission, and business plan.

Build a network of mentors and industry professionals, embrace failure, be passionate and persistent, and keep learning and adapting to the market. Stay focused, stay hungry, and never give up on your vision.

What is your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Kushagra Awasthi: As an entrepreneur myself, I believe that success in entrepreneurship comes from a combination of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks.

My advice to young and aspiring entrepreneurs is to be bold and fearless in pursuing their dreams, but also to be patient and persistent in the face of challenges and setbacks.

It’s important to have a clear vision for your business and to stay focused on your goals, but also to be open-minded and adaptable to changes in the market.

Additionally, building a strong network of mentors, advisors, and industry professionals can be incredibly valuable in providing guidance and support along the way.

Ultimately, success in entrepreneurship is about having a passion for what you do, being willing to learn and grow, and never giving up on your vision.

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