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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Sonia Chugh, Founder Director at Happy Minds International

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Sonia Chugh: The inception of Happy Minds International was more than a business decision; it was a personal crusade. Confronted with the disorganised Indian daycare market after my experiences abroad, I was compelled to blend international daycare standards with local needs. This quest was ignited by personal challenges as a mother and an expatriate, catalysing a commitment to redefine child care in India through meticulous research and global insights

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Happy Minds International?

Sonia Chugh: At Happy Minds International, we offer a sanctuary for child development, structured into specialized zones catering to different age groups: a baby zone for the tender ages of four months to 1.5 years, a toddler zone until 4.5 years, and an expansive after-school program for children up to eight years. Our commitment extends throughout the year, sparing only 14 calendar days, ensuring that parental careers thrive alongside their children's developmental journey

Great Companies: What makes Happy Minds International different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Sonia Chugh: Happy Minds International differentiates itself significantly from other daycare providers by its commitment to transparency and a curriculum-based approach, which is continuously refined based on direct feedback from parents. This emphasis ensures that the care and education provided are not only of high quality but also evolve to meet the changing needs of children and their families. The organisation prioritises open communication with parents, involving them in the developmental journey of their children, and making adjustments to the curriculum to better serve the community’s needs. This approach not only fosters a trusted environment but also ensures that the programs remain relevant and beneficial, supporting both the emotional and intellectual growth of the children.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Sonia Chugh: Building Happy Minds International faced multiple significant hurdles. Initially, the Indian daycare sector's lack of organisation was a major barrier. By studying international daycare models and incorporating those insights, we aimed to introduce structured, professional childcare. Another major challenge was gaining the trust of parents, addressed through a transparent, curriculum-based approach and continuous feedback. Finding and training qualified staff required establishing rigorous hiring practices and ongoing professional development.

Additionally, securing the right location proved challenging as residential buildings do not permit commercial daycare, and corporate buildings were initially resistant to hosting daycares, citing concerns that young children did not align with business environments. We had to engage extensively in discussions and persuasion to find suitable locations that met our needs.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Happy Minds International?

Sonia Chugh: Over the next five years, Happy Minds International aims to significantly expand its presence by opening more centres across Maharashtra. Our growth plan is centered on enhancing and scaling our proven model of child-centred, curriculum-based care, setting new benchmarks in early childhood education across the nation. We aim to extend our innovative approach to more cities, refining our educational offerings and continually adapting to the needs of children and families. This vision is not just about increasing our footprint; it's about redefining excellence in the daycare sector, ensuring every child receives the highest standards of education and care.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Sonia Chugh: To aspiring entrepreneurs, I offer this: Ground your venture in the reality of your consumers' needs. Engage with them, learn from them, and let their real-world challenges drive your innovation. Success is not just about fulfilling a market gap—it's about resonating deeply with those you serve and evolving constantly to meet their changing needs.



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