"I Wanted to Change India's Impression in the Minds of Americans"

Dewan decided to embark on a journey where she can prove what Indians can do.

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By Komal Nathani • Mar 3, 2017 Originally published Mar 3, 2017

Entrepreneur India

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The aesthetic finishes of India's two best airports –Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International has been given by an enterprising soul who wanted to tell the world her company started from the apartment next door, cleaned its own floors, and did its garbage and everything else.

"I wanted to change the India's impression in the minds of Americans" says Kanika Dewan, a Wharton alumni turned Indian-origin entrepreneur and the owner of Ka Design Atelier.

Despite having an option of handling a big family business in Bahrain, Dewan, who was earlier a banker but an artist at heart, went on to change her life journey by beginning her own entrepreneurial journey.

On asking how she laid the milestone of her entrepreneurial journey, Dewan said that since her childhood boarding school to Wharton, what she kept facing constantly was the mindset that India is nothing.

A Patriot in Kanika Carved Her Journey

Knowing the potential of her home country in mind, Dewan decided to embark on a journey where she can prove what Indians can do. The patriot in her carved her journey to entrepreneurship in the land of opportunities.

At the time of the emergence of dotcoms era in 2001, Dewan used to read lot about their success stories, how they stay up whole night and work. That's when she realized that this is what she would like to start with.

She came up with two ideas of starting up in America itself, which was Grocery.com and Buttler.com. But eventually, she listened to her father and integrated her family business to her own interior start-up, Ka Design Atelier.

The President of Bahrain-based Bramco Group, Dewan has also among 121 young global leaders recognized by the World Economic Forum.

Meet A Guinness World Recorder

A strong believer of hard work, Kanika learnt in Wharton that one should never be scared from work, and that's what she aims to convey to the employees of Ka Design Atelier. Starting from her first project of "restoring, maintaining and scrubbing of a 10,000 sq ft. floor at a home with American lady to giving a niche stone works to India's two largest airports, Kanika's major achievements doesn't ends here.

Kanika had earned her place in the Guinness World Record in 2012 for making the largest marble mosaic in the world. Speaking about this achievement, she said, "Yes, that is in Oman, and it is the world's largest portrait in stone; of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the ruler of Oman.

She explained, "We design and build for luxury yachts with a propriety technology, Honeycomb technology, for lightweight stones. We make and manufacture lightweight stone finishes for ships; the design basis of these is artwork in stone."

"I developed it for homes because most homes there are wooden and not concrete. That is how we moved to the luxury yacht sector and the first luxury yacht we did was for Sultan Qaboos. We did one for a Russian businessman. And that is how Sultan Qaboos Consortium people found us and they asked us to create a portrait of the king to mark his 40th accession day. That is how the portrait came about.

Life-improvement Projects is What She Aims Next

Anything related to climate change and we are working on those. Sustainability, because of the pollution levels in India. The existing opportunities are clear which is infrastructure and that's where I am clear. There is no point of constructing large buildings without improving the civic sense.

"My idea of seeing an opportunity is where gap exists," says Kanika.

"I see opportunities in all sectors in India in terms of technology but all related to improving lifestyle and making a social impact as well. What I call it is life improvement projects, why because India is more saturated. In all sectors, caring from the old to elderly, there is a transition taking place in the social structure."

Dewan's Best Time Management Strategy

"A good sleep and the meditation for an hour is what I need to best manage my time" says Kanika. I never check my mails after 8:30 pm. I follow my routine because I realize my consciousness towards sickness."

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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