About Us

The Centre for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Development (CEED), along with the deAsra
Centre of Excellence in Nano Entrepreneurship, is an entrepreneurship policy research and
advocacy centre at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.

Considering entrepreneurs as an integral part of India’s business and employment ecosystem, CEED aspires to study the factors enabling and inhibiting the growth of entrepreneurship in India. Currently, there is no standard definition of nano enterprises or nano entrepreneurs. The deAsra Centre aims to provide a formal definition and create awareness about this category’s existence. Nano enterprises are typically small shops providing goods and services, operating hyper-locally and catering to their neighbourhood areas. Heterogeneity and fragmentation are distinct features of nano enterprises, but they form 95% of the micro-enterprise sector in India.

A diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community of academics, practitioners, entrepreneurs, experts, and students from around the world, CEED aims to bring together a host of stakeholders such as academicians, policymakers, market and industry professionals to undertake research and training activities with a general focus on small businesses, and a particular focus on nano enterprises.


Centre for Excellence in Entrepreneurship & Development aspires to be a knowledge hub to strengthen the potential of entrepreneurship as an alternative to dependent employment as a priority for India’s economic development.

deAsra Centre of Excellence in Nano Entrepreneurship aims to increase awareness about issues of nano entrepreneurs, and envisions building a better ecosystem for nano entrepreneurs through policy advice and advocacy.


CEED has been founded with a unique confluence of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and deAsra Foundation.

The Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, established in 1930, has been one of the pioneering research institutions in India known for its contribution to empirical research methods, policy advocacy, and seminal contributions to policymaking for nearly a century.
deAsra Foundation is a non-profit organization which enables entrepreneurs to start, manage, & grow small businesses successfully. To this end, deAsra offers a platform wherein, setting up, managing & growing a small business is made simple & entrepreneur friendly through a broad array of support services. Each of deAsra’s services is simplified, benchmarked, tech-enabled, expert-led, with customer-friendly functionality, convenience & speed.


Dr. Anand Deshpande

Founder, and President, Persistent Systems, Board Member, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.

Anand holds a B.Tech. with Honours in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Indiana University, US. Prior to founding Persistent Systems, he worked at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in California. Anand is committed to making a broader impact and is focused on data, higher education, and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Ajit Ranade

Vice-Chancellor, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics

Ajit is a noted economist. His 32-year career has spanned both academic and corporate assignments. He was the Group Executive President and Chief Economist with the Aditya Birla Group, and has taught in universities in India and the US. He has served as a member of several committees of the Reserve Bank of India. He has been a former member of the Board of Management at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.


Pradnya Godbole

CEO, deAsra Foundation

Ms. Pradnya Godbole is the CEO of deAsra Foundation, a not-for-profit company formed to contribute to social welfare by enabling entrepreneurship. Her vision is to simplify the whole entrepreneurial process by helping entrepreneurs to think about business in a more structured manner, before executing it. In 2013, after having spent sixteen years in the IT industry, she decided to explore social entrepreneurship in India, and took on the responsibility to manage deAsra as its CEO.

Dr. Anjali Radkar

Advisor, CEED & Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics

Anjali is a demographer–statistician and coordinates the M.Sc. Population Studies and Health Economics program at Gokhale. She teaches Population Studies and Research Methodology, and her work is regularly published in academic journals. Her research interests are sex ratio, son preference, demography, female workforce participation, maternal and child health, mortality, morbidity and nutrition in India, and health systems research.


Prof. Lalitagauri Kulkarni

Assistant Professor & Director, CEED

Lalitagauri is an academician with an extensive experience in policy research, consultancy, and teaching. She is the Associate Dean of Faculty at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. She specializes in financial economics, fintech, digitalization, and policy alternatives for inclusive development. Her most recent published research focuses on the impact of FinTech and digitalization policy, on nano and micro businesses through a gender lens. Her books envision redefining the narrative of financial inclusion policy and the banking sector reforms.

Omkar Sathe

Assistant Director, CEED

Omkar is a Mechanical Engineer from Pune University & an MBA from IIM Calcutta. He is a Partner at CPC Analytics, a public policy consulting firm with offices in Pune and Berlin. He’s consulted for multilateral organizations, national govt bodies, state and local governments in India, as well as for think-tanks and NGOs. He is a Steering Committee Member at the Australia India Youth Dialogue, the pre-eminent tier-2 dialogue between the two countries. Earlier, he has worked in the corporate sector with Asian Paints, Reliance Jio, and the Aditya Birla Group.His last corporate role was as the Head of Innovation and New products at UltraTech Cement. He was an Economic Times Young Leader for 2019. In his spare time, Omkar enjoys playing football and writing. He’s published articles for news outlets like liveMint, The Print, and Financial Express.

Vrushali Katikar

Research Associate

Vrushali is an Economic Research Associate at deAsra. She holds a Master of Science in Economics degree from Durham University and has previously worked with KPMG India. Her areas of interest are livelihoods, financial inclusion, education, and behavioural economics.

Anushi Tiwary

Research Associate

Anushi is a PhD scholar at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. Her areas of interest are gender, caste, financial inclusion and economic development. She has previously worked with Population Research Centre, Pune (under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), National Council of Applied Economic Research, Institute for Competitiveness, and MIT Academy of Engineering. In her career, she has worked on several projects under different ministries of central government.