Learn. Earn. Return – The story behind deAsra Foundation

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.

Anand's picture Jpeg
Dr. Anand Deshpande (Founder, MD & CEO Persistent Systems. Founder, deAsra Foundation)

“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.”



Earn your bread and eat it too…

As life gets faster and time on hand gets shorter, people look for ways to save time in their daily chores. A quick sandwich or a few biscuits are so much easier to carry and eat on the go, rather than roti-subzi. That is how, bread, an item which the British brought into India, and which was once supposedly used to ‘contaminate’ the water sources of the Hindus, became a regular part of the diet of crores of Indians!

Bread and its various versions, including buns, paav, cakes, naankatai, biscuits and the like, made their way into our lives because of their taste and convenience. Cakes became an indispensable part of birthdays, for rural or urban consumers alike. Moral of the story – a very potent opportunity to make bakery products your way to earn your daily bread!

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Source: Google Images

What do you need to start a bakery? No specific educational qualifications. But some professional training would be extremely relevant. You can choose the scale on which you want to operate but could even start off with a capital of about 3-4 lacs and a place of about 100-200 sq. ft.

The critical aspects of the bakery business are – quality of raw material, freshness of products and hygiene.

The raw materials required are maida (fine wheat flour), yeast, water, oil etc. The quality of maida decides the texture and quality of the products. Maida must be kept in a dry atmosphere. Yeast is used to raise the maida to make the bread and biscuits light. Yeast must be stored at around 30 degrees centigrade.

It is important to maintain strict standards of hygiene since we are dealing in food products. The manufacturing area must be free of pests, dirt and dust. Regular pest control and cleaning is essential. The staff must be asked to follow strict rules of hygiene and must use aprons, caps and gloves while working.

The equipment you will need includes ovens, moulds, slicers, dough rounder, sieves etc. You may choose from ovens that operate on electricity, gas or diesel. Ovens come in single deck, double deck, swing tray and rotary ovens.

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Source: Google Images

There can be a wide variety of products to offer. You may manufacture whole wheat bread, pizza bases, burger buns and even bread for diabetics! It makes a lot of difference if your product is branded. Choose a simple but catchy name, one that may reflect freshness, taste or any other attribute that is important to the consumer. Use a well designed logo and simple yet attractive packing and your products are ready to go to the market!

Make sure you get the FDA license besides other standard licenses.

So get ready to start your own bakery business and watch how it can earn you not just your daily bread, but butter too and also the cherry on the icing if you keep dishing out innovative products. With deAsra and their Udyog Mitra to help you  every step of the way, this business will be a cakewalk for you.

This article was originally written in the Marathi Magazine- Yashaswi Udyojak (June 2015). This post is the translated abridged version of the same article

Fashion your future.

A famous French fashion designer said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” In modern times, this very apt statement transcends the gender constraint as we find men and women being equally fashion conscious. With its inherent diversity and richness in attire, India too, is fast following in the footsteps of the West in the field of fashion. The take for us here is that fashion designing is a robustly flourishing profession with tremendous potential to earn money and we are here to make the most of the opportunity!

If you have a taste for dressing and new ideas to explore, you could train as a fashion designer. Courses ranging from 3 months to 2-3 years from local vocational institutes to national level fashion schools offer the requisite training.

You can start in a place of 100-200 sq. ft area, with a couple of sewing machines, a table and racks to store fabric. You could hire an assistant to do the stitching, but it is imperative that you take measurements and cut the patterns personally. The other equipment you may need includes overlocking machine, embroidery machine, fabric cutting machine, scissors, measuring tapes etc.

Source: Google Images

Ensure that the place is well lit and ventilated. Keep your equipment well maintained. It would help to learn to do minor repairs of the machines yourself so that you do not have to depend upon somebody else for it.

A good sense of human body types, knowledge of the peculiarities of different fabrics and an eye for style are what helps you become a successful designer.

You must be in constant touch with changing fashion trends the world over. It would be advisable to subscribe to select fashion magazines, watch fashion channels and also look out for tips from Bollywood movies.

Being a fashion designer in India, you must distinguish between your clients in terms of youth and middle aged clients and also their preferences of attire. If a person is not comfortable in western clothing, they must be accordingly guided into wearing the best Indian apparel that suits their style. A fashion designer plays an important role in mentoring the client in their fashion habits. Remember, you are not somebody who just stitches clothes, you influence the tastes and style of your client.

There is immense potential in this business and a capital of 50000-60000 can earn you 20000-25000 per month! So take that bold step and fashion a lucrative career. For information and complete guidance, do not hesitate to contact deAsra and their Udyog Mitra!

This article was originally written in the Marathi Magazine- Yashaswi Udyojak. This post is the translated abridged version