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  • Writer's pictureShubham Parse

Utkarsh Narang, Founder at IgnitedNeurons

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

Utkarsh Narang: The Idea for IgnitedNeurons and where we currently are, has not been a straight line but has been a true roller coaster ride.

I started working 16 years ago as a physiotherapist (I am a Master in Orthopedic Physiotherapy!) and after successfully running three clinics in Delhi I decided that I aspire to have a wider impact on the planet and the people and so I worked towards switching my career. Through networking, I met a professor from Columbia Business School for whom I worked for about eight years. During this time, I was the Head of Video Production for them and produced 400 hours of leadership content. I also led their India operations and Sales for Asia-Pacific and Europe.

In 2020, I had an idea that I wanted to work with children and start an Ed-tech platform for soft skills but soon I realized that the competition in that space is high, and to impact children, I can instead of training them directly, start with their parents, individuals who are the same age as mine which is between 30 and 45. With the intent of helping people perform at their highest, I started to craft a new path for IgnitedNeurons.

I trained myself to be an executive coach and have had the joy of working with executives from across the world, from organizations like LinkedIn, Zynga, MakeMyTrip and others!

At IgnitedNeurons, we are on a mission to touch a billion lives positively and we will do it through in-person and online learning and development, digital learning, content creation, and any other path that we can seek.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by IgnitedNeurons

Utkarsh Narang: At IgnitedNeurons, we are not just an organization with some preset courses and models that we can provide to our clients instead we first aim to understand the exact needs of our clients and then support them by building impactful learning journeys with a high ROI. We provide assessments, in-person and digital training, webinars, coaching, and more.

We go through a thoughtful process of learning about our clients so that we fully understand what is the key objective. Once we understand their needs better, that is when we work on building something that will help them move the needle!

Great Companies: What makes IgnitedNeurons different from hundreds of

other similar service providers?

Utkarsh Narang: We are driven by our three values –

1.Excellence - the journey of giving your best to every pursuit

2.Equality ~ everyone has the same rights and advantages

3.Empathy - the ability to imagine how another person is feeling

Our objective is to work with each client in a way that they are our most important client and we can go deep for them to impact the growth and the people of the organization. We aspire to create programs that cater to the individual needs of each learner. We are passionate and driven to be highly collaborative with our clients which makes this a collaborative partnership rather than a transactional vendor-company relationship.

Our team brings decades of learning experience and the passion to deliver the impact. We are led by a leader who is all heart! We do not follow a Cookie Cutter process but contextualize every training to the client.

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

Utkarsh Narang: I think when you start a new business, it always has and comes with its own set of challenges. We have had challenges as well. In the initial days when we were working with children, we had three or four successful cohorts with 15-20 children in each cohort, but soon parents started asking us, why soft skills and why not coding or why not robotics and creating learning opportunities that benefit them in their careers and so the resistance to teaching soft skills or as I call them, life skills to the children was very high.

Once we pivoted to working with organizations the biggest challenge that came our way was that we were the new fish in the ocean. Even though we might have the expertise and the talent to deliver engaging, fun, data-driven programs to our clients but when they were comparing us to the industry stalwarts, we were not the top contender.

Through our perseverance, we have been able to create new inroads and impact the lives of learners across the country. It has not been an easy journey but we have been able to overcome the hurdles by staying driven, passionate, relevant in these ever-changing times, and having the clarity of our mission statement.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line IgnitedNeurons?

Utkarsh Narang: In the last two years of existence, we have been privileged to work with brands like MamaEarth, Biryani by Kilo, Valuecart, Benori Knowledge Solutions, and others.

To help us grow, we are focusing on three paths -

1.Content Creation - We want to provide value to our learners and while we continue on the path of workshops, we are developing a YouTube channel (IgnitedNeurons) that will help us spread to a larger audience. The content on YouTube and other social media platforms have a single objective of helping people develop themselves.

2.Hiring - This is the second focus area - a solid team builds the business. We are working towards hiring our full-time employees. Currently, we have our partners and consultants but now we want to be in a position to bring some stability to the processes.

3.Global Presence - Last year, we had the opportunity to work with an International Reserve Bank. Since what we are doing is truly ‘human’, we feel we can expand our work to organizations beyond India as well. We are planning to build partnerships globally to expand our footprint.

Five years down the line, we see ourselves to be the top choice for learning and development initiatives of hyper-growth startups and storied organizations to help them achieve strong results with their people. We hope to create programs that help people come closer to being their authentic selves and bring the best to work and life each day. We truly believe in the strength of the human spirit and we understand that each individual has a very distinct and unique spark within themselves and our mission is to Ignite that Spark. By 2027, we hope to come close to our mission touching a billion lives positively.

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

Utkarsh Narang: Finding one piece of advice for someone who just starting out is very difficult but let me give it a shot. When anyone starts a business, call them a founder, entrepreneur, solopreneur, or whatever else, the world feels that they are doing well and thriving from the get-go. But that is not the whole truth. What we need to understand is that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs go through various cycles in a lifetime. They have their highs and lows. They have joys and sorrows. They are surrounded by people and many times they are lonely.

If you're starting out, I want you to make sure that you focus on yourself first. Build solid relationships, take care of yourself, network mindfully and learn to say no when needed.

In the initial phase of my journey when I was in a state of doubting myself I used to think that this is not a path for me. It took me a few months and a lot of inner work to come to a state where I could stay that “If not me then who and if not now then when”.

And finally, in the Mahabharata, when Dronacharya asked Arjuna, “What do you see as you try to hit the eye of the bird?”, Arjuna responded that he could only see the ‘Eye of the Bird’. As soon as you can, find what is your eye of the bird as you go on this journey! It will serve you well.



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