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ASHA - a ray of hope for Indian startups

The Motwani Jadeja Foundation and the Motwani Institute for Thought Leadership in Innovation (MITLI) has launched the ASHA initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos to investors who not only put in money into businesses in India but also look at the country with positivity and hope

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        Last Updated: January 24, 2020  | 23:07 IST
ASHA - a ray of hope for Indian startups
Asha Jadeja Motwani, a Silicon Valley based entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, leads the Motwani Jadeja Foundation and MITLI

At a time when the Indian economy is in international news for being on a consistent downslide, it is important to have investors who not only put in money into businesses here but also look at the country with positivity and hope. The Motwani Jadeja Foundation and the Motwani Institute for Thought Leadership in Innovation (MITLI) has launched the ASHA initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos to do just that. The MITLI global think tank has also been introduced in 2018 to the global community present at the same Forum.

ASHA, which is Sanskrit for hope, has been set up with the aim to inspire people to change the world through cutting-edge innovation and state-of-the-art technologies, through a collective and equitable approach. ASHA visualizes a world that will not just be inclusive and entrepreneurial but also human centric. It aims to create a brave new ecosystem with mechanisms that will help the world transition into a bright future.

The Motwani Jadeja Foundation and MITLI was founded and is lead by the Silicon Valley based entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Asha Jadeja Motwani. The Motwani Jadeja Foundation is a non-profit global venture that funds entrepreneurs, allowing them to transform their dreams and business plans into reality. Its work is particularly focused in the areas of education and women's rights. On the other hand, MITLI is a first-of-its-kind think tank that brings together influential global thought leaders, academics, heads of state, and leaders in technology. A total of USD 30 million has been invested to set up the think tank.

"With 17 per cent of the world already living in India (and an estimated population of 1.5 billion by 2030), it is imperative that the citizens of India leapfrog into the future as rapidly and efficiently as possible. Now is the opportune time for India to connect with the Indian diaspora in the Silicon Valley for sharing of knowledge and technology and thereby leverage their success to address the development challenges of India", says Asha Jadeja Motwani.

Asha's late husband, Standford Professor and computer scientist, Rajeev Motwani was the founding advisor to Google and the author of Google's algorithmic architecture. Asha, along with Rajeev, invested in around 100 start ups ever since they got into the business. She is not only a graduate and a post graduate in urban planning and civil engineering from the University of Southern California, she also has a Ph.D. in political science from UC-Berkeley.  In order to help Indian entrepreneurs connect with and get the help of mentors and seed investors in Silicon Valley to establish their startups, Asha launched the Rajeev Circle Fellowship. This helped brilliant ideas turn into profitable businesses. As Asha says, she believes not in the ideas themselves but in the founders and their ability to get up after failing and fight again and again till they succeed.

A trustee of the Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation based in Palo Alto and Ahmedabad, Asha has also supported entrepreneurs at a local level to make their businesses world class. She believes India is the world leader that can change the face of the startups around the world and also give a much needed impetus to the global economy. She believes that India is incredibly rich in talent and the Indian startups are rockets that can take off only if we believe in them and invest right.

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