The story of how Dr. Anand Deshpande founded Persistent Systems Ltd. and how he built it step by step into the huge IT giant it is today, will be written in golden letters in Indian Start-up history. We also know that here is one man who believes in doing more than what he has accomplished; a man who strives to find a larger purpose in what he does; a man who works towards making a difference to the lives of people, to the world that we inhabit.
Very often, we start thinking about our larger purpose as we touch mid-life. The same happened with Dr. Anand Deshpande. He and his soulmate, Sonali Deshpande had been thinking about ‘doing something more for the society’ for years. The coffee conversations however bore fruit when Anand Deshpande turned 50. And as it turned out, while celebrating his fiftieth year, he created a new milestone – deAsra Foundation.
Here’s the story behind deAsra Foundation, in his own words.
“My wife Sonali and I, used to chat a lot about how to do something more than business. Then a chance meeting with my friend in the year when I turned 50, put life in the right perspective. He said, life should be divided into three parts- Learn, earn and return. Now was my time to do the last part – Return. Return to society. However, I wanted the ‘Return’ to be far more encompassing than plain charity. And deAsra Foundation was born.
deAsra Foundation, like the name suggests is ‘to give or lend support’ to budding entrepreneurs in all aspects of setting up and running a business. Inspired by Bill Gates and his foundation that was formed to solve problems in global health and education, I decided to solve the very real and large problem of unemployment in India by providing livelihood through entrepreneurship, by floating deAsra Foundation. While there are many agencies who support entrepreneurial dreams though specific activities, there was no organization that integrated it all under one roof and made information, knowledge, expertise and assistance so easily accessible to entrepreneurs. With more than half of our population under the age of 35 years and with the Government’s vision of ‘Start-up India, Stand Up India’ gathering steam, deAsra Foundation is positioned impeccably to guide entrepreneurs in their journey to success.
I want deAsra Foundation to be the support system that aspiring entrepreneurs look up to. I want to demystify entrepreneurship for the common man and make him think of entrepreneurship as a preferable and viable career option.”