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1
Good Afternoon. Thankyouverymuchfor beinghere.
It was November2012. Life wasgood.I had justturned50 inMay and Persistent...
2
employbetween2-10employees and25,000 such businesseswouldeasilyhelpusachieveour goal of 100,000
newjobs.
We startedour j...
3
We already have an understandingwith 8Banksfor fundingthe businesses we identify. We are keento
establishmore suchpartne...
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De asra foundation launch

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De asra foundation launch

  1. 1. 1 Good Afternoon. Thankyouverymuchfor beinghere. It was November2012. Life wasgood.I had justturned50 inMay and Persistentwasdoingwell.Sonali andI have had casual conversationsabout ideasonhow we could contribute tocommunity developmentandsocial programs for manyyears.My friendSridharJagannathan wasvisitingusduringone suchconversationand gave the wise advice of dividinglifeintothree parts - LEARN,EARN and RETURN. Call it the itch to dosomethingmore or you may call itmid-lifecrisis. Itwastime tomove beyondcoffee conversationstoreal actionand we started to conceptualize deAsrafoundationwithamissionto findandsolve some hardprobleminIndiathatwould benefitlarge numbersof people. Somethingthatwouldmake adifference. I have beena bigfan of Bill Gatesfor nearly30 years. He has alwaysbeenaninspiration. Microsofthasbeen one of Persistent’searliestcustomersandIhave beenaregularvisitortothe Microsoftcampus since 1992. I have alwaysbeenveryimpressedby Bill Gates’ abilitytodefineabigvisionand thenpassionatelydrivethe organizationtomake ithappen. Naturally,Ihave beena keenfollowerof the Bill andMelindaGatesfoundation fromthe time they startedin2000. Like Microsoft,the Bill andMelindaGatesfoundationhasdefinedan ambitiousvision tosolve large problems inglobal healthandeducation. The GatesFoundationwebsitequotes Warren Buffett’sgreatadvice aboutphilanthropy:“Don’tjustgofor safe projects, take onthe reallytough problems.” LivinginIndia,itisnot difficultto findtoughproblemstoworkon. Ourpopulationcontinuestogrow and is nearly1.3 Billion anditwill exceedthatof Chinaby the year2030. As of 2015, more than half of our population isunderthe age of 25. Thinkaboutit, we have more than 25 millionpeopleateveryage from0 to 25; that’sa lotof people! Educationandhealthcare are the mostobvioustoughproblems toworkon. Whenitcomesto addressingthe challengesin educationandhealthcare inourcountry we are lookingat three constraints – availability,accessandaffordability. Affordabilitymustbe addressedintwowaysbymakingthingscheaper and byfuelingthe eco-systemwhere people have more moneytospend. Havingspent25 yearsin the technologyindustry,Iwantedtofinda problemwhere IcouldapplywhatIhave learnt-- technologyandscale. Ialso wantedtofocuson a problemthatcouldkeepme goingformany years. I have reallyenjoyedmy25 yearsof runningof an entrepreneurialventure,andIgot veryexcitedaboutfocusing on “job-creation”as ourtoughproblem towork on. Steadyincome canhave a verysignificantimpacton individualfamiliesandultimately onthe society. Astheysay,“give aman a fish andyoufeedhimfora day; teacha man to fishandyoufeedhimfora lifetime.” Withthisbackground,we setourselvesatargetof creating100,000 new jobsinthe next 5 years. Aftersome quickanalysis,itwasclearthat we couldnot achieve these targetsif we focused only onthe jobseekers. We neededtofocusonjob-creators. Ina country like ours,small businessescanbe a powerful engine forgrowth. To quote the McKinseyGlobal Institute’sStudyfromFebruary2014, “urbanization isbound tohappenat a rapid pace inIndiaand we need tofocuson manufacturing,constructionandnon-farmservicesjobsasadriverfor growth.” Withthisin mind,we changedourgoal of creating100,000 new jobsto enablingatleast25,000 new small businesses withaspecial focuson“services”businesses. Businessessuchascatering, tiffinbox service,snack counters,tuitionclasses,beautysalons,photography services,healthcare servicesetc. These businessestypical
  2. 2. 2 employbetween2-10employees and25,000 such businesseswouldeasilyhelpusachieveour goal of 100,000 newjobs. We startedour journeybymeetingagenciesthatwere alreadyveryactiveinthisarea. We met withBanks, Vocational institutions,MITCON,DIC,SIDBIVenturesandlooked atothermodelssuchas the Deshpande Foundation,Kherwadi Social Welfare Association,BYSTetc.andspoke to friendsandfamilymemberswhohave experience inrunning servicesbusinesses. We realizedthat these fineinstitutionsare already doing phenomenal workinthisarea. The Governmentalsoconsidersjobcreationapriorityactivityandthere are many Governmentschemesforemploymentgeneration,fortrainingandforsupportingentrepreneurs. The National Skill DevelopmentCorporationhasaveryambitioustargetof trainingmore than150 millionpeopleby 2020. The Banksare alsoverykeentofundsmall businessesandtheyevenhave schemestoprovide collateral free loanstoentrepreneursformicroandsmall enterprises. Despite all of the above we foundthatthere was somethingmissingandaspart of deAsraFoundation,we have attemptedto addressthat. From our conversationwithentrepreneurswe quicklyrealizedthatoursystemsare notwell setupfor entrepreneurstosucceed. We have systemsandprocessesthatseemsocomplex thattheyappeartohave beensetuptotrap the entrepreneur. Entrepreneursneedsupport,trainingandguidance ona continuousbasis. While manyotherprogramshave the conceptof mentors,we have introducedthe conceptof the UdyogMitra. The Udyog Mitra is a well-trainedandpaidemployee of the Foundationwhosupportthese businessesastheir friend,philosopherandguide.We propose tohave one UdyogMitra for eachof these 250 businesses.Each Udyog Mitra will guide 100 similarkindsof businessand hasdata and bestpracticesaboutthe businessand will be able to provide precise guidance toensure continuedsuccessof these businesses. The target on handof helpingmake 25,000 small servicesbusinesseshappen wasdauntingandunlesswe streamlinedourprocessesandmade themself-service,there wasnowaywe couldgetthere. We decidedthat the bestway to go aboutthiswouldbe to focuson automationandrepeatabilityby buildingplaybooksand templatesforentrepreneurstogetstartedand to helpthemruntheirbusinessesveryefficiently. We call these playbooks –“businessinabox.” We are in the processof building250of these andbelievethatif we have abouta 100 businessessetupforeachof these 250 “businessesinabox”we will gettoour goal of 25,000 small businesses. We hope toshowyousome of the templatesthatare ready. Onour website http://www.deasra.in, any registeredusercanaccessdetailedtemplatesthatguide the entrepreneuronhow tostart and run a business. Ourtemplatesare basedona six-by-six grid. The process isdividedintosix stages -- Plan,Start,Fund, Setup,Marketand Run andeach stage is furtherdividedintosix steps. We are focusingonprovidingcomplete and detailedtemplatesonall aspectsof startingandrunninga businessfromanindividual entrepreneur’spoint of view. We have about25 such templatesreadyandare able tocreate about 6-8 everymonth. We observed that many of the entrepreneurs we metare notcomfortable withEnglishandwe plantoconvertthese templatesintootherlanguages. Marathi versionsare available online formanyof ourbusinessinabox templates. Beyondbusinessinabox andthe UdyogMitra, the deAsraFoundationhas established apartnershipwith Legalogictoprovide a backoffice forsharedservices. Many entrepreneursdonothave precise knowledge aboutthe paperworkandcompliance requirementsand businessesstruggle tomaintainthe necessary documentationand compliance. We believe thatourbackoffice forsharedservicescanprovide agreatservice to these businessesinhelpingthemstaycompliantwithregulationsandprocesses.
  3. 3. 3 We already have an understandingwith 8Banksfor fundingthe businesses we identify. We are keento establishmore suchpartnerships. We are workingcloselywithBankstohelpentrepreneursbecomeloan- worthyand then we are helpingthemsucceedbytrackingandhelping themthroughvariousstagesof theirlife- cycle. Most small businesses alsoneedtoinvestin technologyandautomationtobe successful. We have built a technologysolutiontohelpsmall businessmanage theirtransactions. The conceptisforpartiesto deAzzle their transactionsbetweeneachotherovercell phone. We have setupa few partnershipstosupportmobile wallets and mobile bankingallowingsmall businessestoefficientlytransactina peerto peernetwork. Finally,customersare the life and bloodof anybusiness. Withthe large numberof businesseswe will have in our network we have workedon differentschemestouse oureffort,credibilityandthe collective powerof the businessesinoureco-systemtohelpwithsalesandmarketing. So to summarize,the deAsraFoundationisaSection25 PublicCompanyandwasincorporatedonthe 31st of July 2013. To increase ouroutreachandto encourage self-employmentwe are launchingourmonthlymagazine यशस्वी उद्योजक today. I am proudto state that Sonali andour childrenRiaand Arul are fullyon-boardthismission. InfactASRA is actuallythe firstfourinitialsof the familymembers –Anand,Sonali, RiaandArul. We addedthe de from Deshpande tohelpingettingdomainnamesetc. Iwouldalsolike toacknowledge the supportIgotfrom the Board of Directorsof PersistentSystems,theirguidance andencouragementwere crucial inourgettingthisfar. Clearlywe have setourselvesuptoaddressa toughproblem. We have an ambitiousplanandwe don’thave all the answersbutwe have the resolve andthe passiontomake a difference. We need yourhelpandyour support. I hope we can showcase some of whatwe have done so far and getyour guidance onhow to proceed fromhere. Thank you.

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