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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
Ash Kumra is a business coach, speaker and entrepreneur. Ash was honored by the White House in November 2011 as a Empact 100 recipient; a list recognizing the top 100 companies run by young entrepreneurs who positively impact the economy and inspire others to join the movement. Ash was invited in December 2011 to join the Young Entrepreneur’s Council; an invite-only community of the world’s top, young entrepreneurs.
Ash has spoken to over 10,000 people on entrepreneurship, social media and branding including USC’s Entrepreneurship Program, Network of Indian Professionals, The Indus Entrepreneurs, UCI Merage School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Business, and the 2011 Free Enterprise Tour (sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce). Ash is also an adjunct professor on entrepreneurship for several institutions and is a entrepreneurship fellow for Occidental College.
Ash is also an active entrepreneur for businesses involving consumer internet and digital media. The South Asian Business Alliance Network awarded the 2010 “Best Young South Asian American Entrepreneur” to Ash. Ash is currently Chairman, and co-founder of digital content distribution agency DesiYou; the 2010 recipient for “Best Digital Media” company by the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum.
MO: What makes you so passionate about entrepreneurship and helping create, build, and mentor game changing opportunities for others?
Ash: It’s a higher calling. I am most comfortable and present when I am helping create, advise and empowering entrepreneurship endeveurs.
Donald Trump said once he doesn’t do business for the money but for the deals. That’s what gives him his kicks. For me being part of a world where change and action happens is truly fulfilling.
This passion is also fueled that winning one opportunity is not enough. It’s the never ending ecosystem of unique opportunities, people, and ideas. It’s so intoxicating! I am addicted to this thrill I guess :).
MO: Have you always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit? What was your first business and how successful was it?
Ash: Yep! I have always loved the chase and opportunity to elevate society. I got my taste of entrepreneurship when I did my first college business plan competition and had an actual demo to present. Before I presented I surfed and realized how awesome it was to have an idea conceived , a team to support it and then viola its live and then presented. Since then I haven’t looked back.
DesiYou was my first opportunity to really cut my teeth in entrepreneurship. It’s my first “Business Love” in some senses haha. It’s innovative in many ways and we are seeing this put to the test as the problem of proper distribution, anti piracy , and revenue is needed more than ever for high quality creators. We’re solving This with a platform less network to empower these creators the way they should. Once again this was just an idea my cofounder Harish Rao and I thought about in 2006 while hanging out!
MO: Congratulations for being honored at the White House in November and more importantly having the privilege to speak there about the role of entrepreneurship in the U.S. and its effect on the economy. Was it surreal to be at the White House and can you share any of the key advice you passed on to the audience?
Ash: Thank you! It was truly amazing and I would first like to thank Arel Moodie from Empact for first pushing me to consider this opportunity. Key advice I would give is the following:
1. Do meaningful projects. If you chase just the money or a trend you will likely never be satisfied since these constantly change by factors out of your control.
2. Make a difference locally before going national. This is the key continue to grow innovation and job growth in our country one person, one city, and one endeveur at a time.
MO: You strike me as an extremely busy man. Can you tell us what your typical day looks like?
Ash: It’s never the same but I work to keep a balance of 1. Working on my own ventures 2. Business coaching and advising 3. Speaking & Sharing Entrepreneuship Education.
Outside of that I am an avid surfer, Bikram Yoga lover and insane foodie!
MO: What motivated you to start DesiYou in 2007, and did you anticipate becoming a market leader so quickly? What were some of the key differentiators that contributed to that success?
1.Never being satisfied is what will keep our company on a growth pattern. Awards are great recognition and at least for me it pushes me to excel farther. Once your too comfortable or satisfied you lose that edge and in the process your business loses its wow factor. Billionares and industry leaders Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sean Parker and many more are great examples of this.
2. Also learning to accept failure and seeing it as a divine business calling to improve. We have pivoted more times you can’t on your fingers and only we can feel its going to grow better than prior.
3. Embracing mentors early on, hiring smart/cause driven people, getting funded on your terms (working revenue model), and much more! I can go on haha.
MO: You’ve been the recipient of numerous awards. Can you tell our readers which one was the most meaningful for you to receive?
Ash: My first major accolade was via the Irvine Chamber of Commerces entrepreneur forum. My presentation in the beginning was in no shape to win compared to the actual presentation. I also inspired my own team and other entrepreneurs to never give up and stick to what you live for. Also I love being a southern california resident and I guess this was a sign to stay here by the beach longer and innovate :).
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