We are an art created by god. And this world cannot survive without an art itself. We are our own creative beings constantly juggling with the external and internal nuances. We give birth to a new art in that process or a way to escape the trials and tribulations of this world. There we find ourselves, peacefully engrossed in an art rendering our souls to a sense of serendipity. The big question is whether the art we inherit is just our hobby or it can shape into something as our identity? Yes, definitely it can.
K.I.P.A. (Konark Institute of Performing Arts) is a gateway. Dancing, singing, painting, acting and so and so forth is not merely an art but a greater work. It has found us and we have some responsibility to nurture and nourish that art. KIPA specially focuses on the enhancement of your art. They work with you to help you realize the potential and greatness of the performing arts. An interesting thing about KIPA is that they themselves are very creative people. To think like others is not an art but to think like yourself.
A young Entrepreneur Pooja Ghosh started the venture K.I.P.A. (Konark Institute of Performing Arts) in the most modern city of India Navi Mumbai. She is a Gold Medalist from IIT Dhanbad and belong to the city of art & music Kolkata. Before this she run a venture named Geogyaan, an online portal (www.geogyaan.com) for the preparation of IIT-JAM, GATE, NET & other competitive exams related to Earth science. Let’s look at the exclusive interview with Pooja Ghosh, to know about her journey so far & how artistic they are in their approach.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
KIPA stands for Konark Institute of Performing Arts.
Konark is the name of the famous sun temple located in Odisha which is an artistic marvel and one of its kind. I wanted to give a name of my institute by any of the famous belongings located in India. So my husband suggested the name of the same as he is from the state of Odisha.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Michelangelo, at the age of 87 said,” I am still Learning”. To learn any art form u are never too early nor too late. Our doors are open to anyone who has an affinity to learn. We have students from kindergarten to retired senior citizens fulfilling their learning desire at KIPA.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
Currently we have our branches in Navi Mumbai and are planning to spread across Mumbai. Slowly we plan to open centers across India.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
We believe, people, whether in India or any nation in the world, whether a child or an adult, all have an eternal love and inclination towards creative recreational activities such as music and dance. However, most of the people fail to pursue their interests due to unavailability of proper framework and environment. KIPA has come up, aiming to fill this large void by providing the much needed framework and environment. KIPA’s mission is to help each and every individual to pursue their love for dance and music in a smooth and successful manner.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Indians are world renowned for their love for music, dance and other art forms. But dearth lack of facilities and framework have made people to neglect their interests. I faced a similar problem in my childhood. Although I am from Kolkata, the city of art & music, still I use to travel far to get proper training from a recognized guru. After a certain time it became difficult to travel a longer distance for the same. That’s when I almost decided to give up music due to lack of proper facilities. This experience motivates me to solve this problem across India. Even though I am a Gold Medalist from IIT Dhanbad, I decided to work on this venture to ensure that the future generations of India do not have to face similar problems.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We are not here to compete with anyone. We have a mission and we are working on that. However we believe that we need to upgrade our traditional methods of learning. Personalized videos, online portal and our upcoming app will ensure that the traditional learning is fused with modern technology. Also our recording studio experience ensures that students are ready at professional level. So you can tell our biggest competitor is we only as we are trying to develop our method of teaching day by day i.e. better from the previous day.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder?
There is no such co-founder of the institute. But yes I can tell there were people who supported me with my decision & during my struggle period of opening & running the institute. My husband was my biggest support. He always stayed beside me & helped me with whatever he could. One of my friend, Sudhanshu Prasad also helped in understanding financial matters and implementation of customer feedback in growth of service industry. Advices and motivation of one of my sister-in-law Ms Kavita Sahany in the initial phase of the organization was of immense help and strengthen the buildup.
8. How did you hired your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Hiring team members was a big challenge indeed. We searched for talented individuals in their own field who would get ready to work with the start-up institute with few number of students. Luckily few got ready to take up the challenge. I handled the music classes (few) initially. I can proudly say that most of my initial team members are still with us despite the ups and downs of the startup and happily contributing towards the growth of the organization.
One should be passionate & skilled in their individual field. I try to hire the best professionals to give my students the best as possible.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Next 2 years within Mumbai and next 5 years within the rest part of Western India.
10. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
In next 10 years I would like to see myself as a successful entrepreneur with large number of branches of KIPA all over India & also as a successful music director, since music is my passion, & I believe there are less number of females into this profession.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Within next 12 months to open centers along Navi Mumbai and suburbs of Mumbai, so that more and more people get benefited and pursue their passion.
12. Have you risen any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Till now its bootstrapping and reinvestment of its own profit for expansion. We do need funds to work on our future rapid expansion plans but before raising funds I wanted to ensure that we minimized the gaps in our operations. I believe KIPA is right now in correct shape to be expanded. We are planning to raise funds by the end of third quarter.
13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
I believe the first couple of years of any start-up are always the toughest. Every minor setback makes you question your decision. Since I am a Gold-Medalist from IIT-Dhanbad people asked me why this. Some laughed at me behind my back. But I was adamant with my decision. I knew I will give my best. KIPA started on a blank state with no identity and to convince people to trust any unknown entity is an extremely challenging task. We partnered with leading playschools to initialize our beginnings. Simultaneously we used online and offline advertising sources to reach out to people. Word of mouth also played a major role in expanding our presence. Getting dedicated faculty was another major challenge. With lack of funds we didn’t had a lot to play with. We came up with mini partnership deals with the faculties which was a win- win situation for everyone.
I also had started another venture just before I decided to start KIPA. It’s Geogyaan, an online portal (www.geogyaan.com) for the preparation of IIT-JAM, GATE, NET & other competitive exams related to Earth science. So maintaining a balance between the two start-ups was tough initially I would say.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
With multiple centers operating, it’s a challenge to ensure that a standard is maintained at all branches. Different faculties have different styles and to galvanize them under one umbrella is a major challenge. I won’t say we have totally overcome this challenge but have seen massive improvement in this area since we developed a standardized syllabus for each segment. Moreover, video recordings and online monitoring of such sessions have also played a major role in tackling this challenge.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Yes, I’m married for the past 2 years.
16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
My hobbies are listening music, dancing, swimming, trekking, all kind of adventurous activities I am interested in. (laugh)
Non- work time? I don’t have any I guess. If I have nothing to do actually I try to improve my skills in which I am good at. I try to improve my strengths.
17. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
My favorite food is momo & shawarma. Also I just love all the Tibetan dishes.
I had visited almost all the places in India. I love travelling. My favorites are Leh- Ladakh, Manali, Mahabalipuram, Hampi & Goa.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My biggest motivator is my husband. I believe without his help I couldn’t have done anything. He always inspires me in doing the things I actually want to do. He trusts me & thinks that I am talented & I can do it. I learnt many things from him from the past few years & from the day I met him.
19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I believe the major difference is that entrepreneurs are passionate about solving a problem in the society moreover they have a higher risk appetite as compared to people who work for someone else. In short Entrepreneurs are innovators.
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Not much exactly. Where I stand today is due to the events that triggered in the past and I feel I am at the right place. When I look back it’s because of those moments in which I felt that I had failed, led to decisions which paved the path that has led to where I am today and now I cherish those moments.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Being an entrepreneur has made me more confident and independent. An entrepreneur is not shielded by a hierarchy of people such as managers and thus has to face every problem head on. Overcoming such problems has boosted my confidence. Moreover due to nature of my start-up I have to deal with people a lot and that has changed me from an introvert to a social person. I have gradually developed from a slightly indecisive personality to a decision maker and that has been a big plus for my family and social life.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
To become an entrepreneur, you have to overcome your inner doubts. It’s tough to deviate from the traditional old model of success, that the society has set to become engineers, doctors & work for someone else, and thus every tough period seems far more challenging. Your mental strength will be tested so be prepared for it, everyone will question you why to leave the lucrative jobs & set for an unknown venture, and if you are sincere enough you will definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I have completed my M.TECH from IIT- Dhanbad (which was previously known as ISM – Dhanbad). I am a gold medalist.
My father is now a retired person, worked in private firm & my mom is a home maker.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
There are many other ventures which have similar goals but KIPA stands out with its unique fusion traditional teaching methods along with technology. KIPA respects the traditional method of teaching and has built its foundation around it. However, it tops the traditional method with modern technology and professional experience platform which results in multifaceted development of individuals.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Cash rich large business muscling out small ventures. But I hope with determination, adaptation and proper execution small businesses can outperform bigger ventures. Also if you succeed many people will come and support you to become a big venture.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Different people have different meaning of “success”. For me success is about defining a goal and reaching it. I certainly have reached some milestones but it’s a long journey and I believe I am on the correct path.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
K.I.P.A.(Konark Institute of Performing Arts)