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Go Out There And Empower Your Community

Dr. Navdeep Singh Bansal

The Sikh Group

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Go Out There And Empower Your Community

Dr. Navdeep Singh Bansal

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The Sikh Group

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Navdeep Singh
Full transcript here

About Dr. Navdeep Singh Bansal

The BAE HQ welcomes Dr Navdeep Singh, the founder of The Sikh Group.

Navdeep was inspired by how other communities supported each other and wanted to replicate that for his own community. He started humbly by walking down the major shopping streets and talking to all the owners to form The Sikh Directory.

The organisation has expanded massively to encompass The Sikh 100, The Sikh 100 Under 30, The Sikh Awards, The Sikh Match, The Sikh Charity and soon The Sikh Metaverse.

It doesn't matter what religion you are, you can learn from Navdeep's tireless work in helping not only uplift his community but improve relations with others too.

Navdeep Singh

The Sikh Group

Show Notes

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Dr. Navdeep Singh Bansal Full Transcript

Dr Navdeep Singh: [00:00:00] If you think of something, go for it. There's no such thing as a bad idea. I literally walked from the top of Soho Road to the other end going into every shop. I did the same with Southall Broadway, Ilford Lane, and then once I'd spoken to a couple of hundred, not one person had said no. Everyone had said, if you can do this, of course we're going to support you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And since then... I've never looked back. We then got to the Sikher Awards supported by international global brands like HSBC, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, shows their faith within our community and what we do. Give it a go. It's always worthwhile. You never know what's around that corner.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast, where we inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. If you're watching this on YouTube, make sure you hit the subscribe button. And if you're watching this on Apple or Spotify, make sure to give us a five star review. Today we have with us, Dr.

Amardeep Parmar: Navdeep Singh, who's the founder and CEO of The Sikh Group. He's a master power broker with a [00:01:00] network that spans across the globe. How are you doing today? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: I'm  doing very well. Thank you for inviting me on your show.

Amardeep Parmar: It's great to have you here and like, had a lot of fun meeting you at The Sikh Awards as well.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's just one of the things you do. But if we rewind back to your childhood. So when you were growing up, did you ever think you'd be doing the kind of thing you're doing today? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: In a short answer, no, there was no way on earth when I was a youngster that I would be, I've even thought of that I'll be doing what I'm doing right now at this moment in time.

Amardeep Parmar: And why is that? Like, why do you think that wouldn't be the case? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: For when I left school, most of my teens, early 20s, most of my 20s, I was in the sales environment. So I was selling cars, houses, yachts, planes, you name it, I've sold it. And that's where I thought my, my, my journey was going, but Hey, we're here today.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Like you say, I'm doing a lot more than just running the seat group, but that is my principal activity. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yes. So as a secret, the first thing you did like that was by yourself, that was your first [00:02:00] business. 

Dr Navdeep Singh: I tried quite a few things before that. The seat directory is where my whole journey actually began.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So back in 2004, I was working for an estate agency in central London selling the most prime property in W1, W2 and Knightsbridge. One feather in my cap is I was the first Siddharth, first Singh. We were determined to be working in that area, in that market. I was very fortunate to have a chance and I was there for eight years.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And that's really where I got the idea of the Sikh directory. I was working for an Orthodox Jew. He had a copy of the Jewish directory, which was approaching. This is going back in 2004, 2005. They were approaching their 15th or 20th anniversary of their directory. So simply just went online, started searching directories, communities, businesses, and I found a whole host of community directories like the Muslim, the Jewish, the Polish, the Hindu Punjabi, the Hindu, the Patel, the Sindhi community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: There were so many community directories out in [00:03:00] 2004, but there was nothing for the Sikh community. So having this idea. I went and approached by Mahinda Singh ji from Guru Nanak Naskaram Sivak Jata in Birmingham, Soho Road. With this idea as, as it's important when you're doing something with faith, you have that spiritual element.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I'm still learning, always learning, making many mistakes. To have a mentor like that, it just concretes, the project and it makes sure that everything we do is 100 percent above board and totally transparent. So started the Sikh directory after five years of producing the Sikh directory, we then organized the world's first Sikh Awards.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And again, you know, as with the Sikh directory, as with the Sikh Awards and all the projects we do, it's only ever launched or released once we realize there's a demand within the community and it's something the community actually want. 

Amardeep Parmar: So how do you test that? Like  at the beginning, when you were [00:04:00] coming up with the Sikh directory, how did you know that there's the demand for it?

Amardeep Parmar: How did you test that?

Dr Navdeep Singh: So with the Sikh directory was quite a simple process of testing the market, which was, I was in sales, like I mentioned. So I literally walked from the top of Soho road in Birmingham to the other end of Soho road in Birmingham, going into every shop, asking if the owner is Sikh when meeting a Sikh business owner, asking them if they thought this was something that They will support.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I did the same with Southall Broadway. I did the same with Ilford Lane and many other prominent Asian roads where there was a lot of Indian or Asian business owners. And then once I'd spoken to a couple of hundred, not one person had said, no. Everyone has said, if you can do this and you can locate and you can find all the Seacoom businesses, of course, we're going to support you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And since then, I've never looked back. Our price is still 25 to get your name listed in the directory. In fact, now the directory is actually going global. So we've launched it online. It's a website. You're sitting in New York or [00:05:00] Dubai or India. You search hotel or doctor or dentist. The closest Sikh owned business or even Gurdwara will come on your phone and you can interact and get directions straight to that,

Dr Navdeep Singh: that product or service. So Sikh directory. Yes, it was first launched in 2006 and that's been going from strength to strength ever since. So on the fifth year of the Sikh directory as an anniversary, we then got to the Sikh awards again to make sure the community actually wanted this. And there was a need for this.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I spoke to many business leaders within our community at that time to say, I'm thinking of doing this project. What do you think? Again, everyone was like. Do it. If you can do it, do it. So it was very fortunate that we managed to organize what turned into the world's first Sikh Awards on October 10th, 2010.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Broken down, the date is 10 10 10. Everybody that came to those Sikh Awards, and bearing in mind it was at the Groven House, the number one hotel in the [00:06:00] whole of the UK as far as prestige and glamour is concerned, everyone remembers that event for that day, what they were doing and the fact that that was the first. The second,  it was shown on Sony TV, who was our media partner for that year.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I started getting phone calls from Canada, India, America. There's this Sikh, he's doing an amazing job. There’s this Sikh, he's an amazing entertainer. And I'll, you know, at first it was a bit daunting thinking I'v done a UK event. Okay. Fair enough. Again, that was my first ever event. I've attended thousands, never organized anything until 2010.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Then I realized, okay, this can, it does have the scope to go global. So then we, in 2011, we started honoring people from different countries around the world. And again, as with the Sikh directory, it, the word just spread within the community. I started getting more and more support. Typically, the Sikh Awards are actually sponsored and supported by international global [00:07:00] brands, which is also a big thing for our community to have brands like HSBC, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, you know, ABN AMRO, some of the biggest brands in the world that have supported the Sikh Awards that shows not only their faith in myself as an entrepreneur and the organizer, but their faith within our community and what we do.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So Sikh Awards has really, you know, just excelled. And now on our 12th year, in the 12 years, in the 12 events that we've had, we've held the Sikh Awards in Dubai, Toronto. Uh, Nairobi, Delhi, and next year, hopefully in the U. S. So, we've definitely covered a lot of cities, honored some amazing individuals from all different fields and walks of life, and yeah, it's been a really enjoyable project.

Amardeep Parmar: There's quite  a few interesting things you mentioned there. And one of the things I want to come back to is you said about these global brands that are sponsoring you. How did that come about? Like, how did you get in touch with them? Because obviously it might be quite daunting to go and approach HSBC and say, will you [00:08:00] back this project that I believe in?

Dr Navdeep Singh: Yes and no. We go back to my background. I'm, I'm from sales. So for me to go to a brand and ask them to sponsor something, um, as unique as a Sikh Awards, it was a challenge. So if anything, you know, I would push for them to say no. I'm moving to the next company. And eventually you speak to 10 people, you're going to get one brand that sees and shares that vision and also has the understanding in, you know, in the sequel was, we have one, one category, which is called a special recognition award, which goes to a, which has gone to a lot of world leaders at the moment.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Now, one of the things that all of these presidents and prime ministers have more or less said in, you know, different ways is that the Sikh community punches well above its weight. There's only 27 million Sikhs in the world today. And if you look at our third project, the Sikh 100, which again was produced because I was getting asked by so many people from around the world to produce something, a list of, initially the Sikh 100 was [00:09:00] a list of, it was going to be the most wealthiest Sikhs and I sat down and you know, we managed to do that in about an hour or so, that was too easy.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So then we thought, right, let's do this on power and influence. The list completely changed with a whole different set of characters and individuals and personalities. Um, and you know, It's all governed by an independent panel, so they make sure that everyone has in their right position with regards to what the job they do, not so much the actual person or or an individual, but it's more about, you know, what they do for a living and their position in life and in the community and and how they stand globally.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So the Sikh 100 really profiles 100 of the most prominent and powerful and influential Sikhs in the world today. 

Amardeep Parmar: So obviously  from talking to like all of these people, right, from all different parts of the world, it must be really hard to also manage all those relationships because if it's all these people who are very successful in their own fields, And I've had some people like, Oh, why am I not number one?

Amardeep Parmar: And why am I not here? [00:10:00] How do you balance that to try and make sure that you keep that relationship? Where it's obviously the idea behind it is to encourage people to inspire people. How do you manage that as well to make sure that people are kind of seeing that vision behind why you're doing it? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: So this brings me back to having a mentor.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Who is of a spiritual background nature, which makes sure that everything we do is 100 percent transparent and above board. Now with the Sikh 100, we have hundreds of people being put forward every year for the next list. Now the list has 50 percent is pretty much as it was when we launched in 2012.

Dr Navdeep Singh: When we launched the Sikh 100 in 2012, Manmohan Singh was Number one, as the, the Indian prime minister and Monteksingh Ahluwalia was the head of the Indian planning commission, who was number two, and number three was obviously always the head of the SGPC. So the minute we launched this in London in 2012, it went viral in India.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It was the first item on every news channel. It was the [00:11:00] front page of every newspaper. Munmunthi of India, you know, has been declared the most powerful Sikh in the world by the, the Sikh group organization. That was a real eye opener and just showed you how media can excel and work and word spreads around the world so fast.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So automatically, the minute that news hit the press, people started nominating people that they know they look up to. They've heard off. So,  it's not just a matter of people putting people forward. People also nominate themselves. Now, every year we get these nominations for the Sikh 100. They're scrutinized.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We do our checks. We do our background checks. Fortunately, a lot of the people I will personally know, or the panel personally knows, you asked a question where do people ever ask you, why am I number one? Not, why am I not, not number one? Or why am I not in number twenties or why am I, you know, number 80 or something.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's actually never really come up. I think with the Sikh 100, a lot of the people are [00:12:00] actually just so honored to be promoted or highlighted in that list. Remember with, with any of our projects, if somebody nominates themselves for a Sikh award, there's no charge, there's no cost. The only thing I ask from the winners is to make their own way to wherever we are holding the Sikh awards.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Again, with the Sikh 100, there's no registration fee, nomination fee. In a lot of countries, you see a lot of coffee table books and other lists that have started since 2012. And they tend to go to these people and ask for a donation or a fee of some kind, and that kind of takes away the whole kind of honor and, and also, you know, um, the respect people get and the way they feel when they find out they're listed in, in the Sikh 100.

Dr Navdeep Singh: In fact, during lockdown, again, due to the demand from the community, we, we launched a Sikh 100 under 30. Now, the Sikh 100 under 30 is really about rising stars and about motivating these [00:13:00] youngsters and teenagers and let them see, you know, one day you could potentially be in the Sikh 100, not just in the Sikh 100 under 30.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And it's also, you know, when we honor someone. In one of these three kind of projects, the Sikh Awards, the Sikh 100 or the Sikh 100 Under 30, the amount of lives that have changed from being in the list and being honored and some of the messages and phone calls and conversations I've had with people afterwards, it's absolutely mind blowing and you know, that  

Dr Navdeep Singh: also encourages you to carry on and, and do more because these people are genuinely benefiting out of it. It's not just a matter of bringing out a list. You know, the Sikh 100 project is now referred to as the Forbes list for Sikhs. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  what I find interesting as well, because obviously with what I do, I interview a lot of people, not just from like the Asian backgrounds from all over the world.

Amardeep Parmar: And people sometimes come forward like, Oh, I named Yahoo finances top 10 people in [00:14:00] this like, I know you've paid for that. And there's a lot of these awards, which actually mean a lot less than people think they do. So when there's a list like yours that has integrity behind it, it's actually earned. It's actually an anomaly in this industry, right?

Amardeep Parmar: There's so many people who just buy their awards and that's what makes your list matters so much more. And why it's important to people, right? It's not like they just paid for it, right? If you just paid for it, you might use it to promote yourself, but you know you didn't really earn it. Whereas when people are on your list, they know it's from a panel, it's transparent.

Amardeep Parmar: It makes such a huge difference to how much it means as well, I think, right? And with the under 30 list as well, it's like, I was going to ask you to kind of shout out some of the people on there, but it's like asking me way too hard, right? I don't want you to pick between 100 people. But is there anything that you're seeing trend wise, like over the last 10 years, in terms of Sikh 100 or Sikh under 130, where you're seeing more people get into certain fields where maybe there wasn't that much Sikh representation before?

Dr Navdeep Singh: With the Sikh 100, you'll find the list is predominantly full of like [00:15:00] ministers, spiritual leaders, organization leaders, business tycoons, and some of the most well known names and brands in the world. Sikh 100, I can see a lot of social media influencers coming up, a lot of people that are in like the social eye, a lot of people who are in entertainment and more kind of media focused.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Whereas, you know, if you look at the Sikh 100, there's not that strong a kind of media element to that. Also with the Sikh 130, there's a lot more females coming up. especially this year, which is also a good thing. Sikh women, they're doing amazing jobs around the world. They need to be highlighted. They need to be promoted.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So that's what we enjoy doing. And that's what the whole, that's what the whole Sikh group is about. If you look at all five of our projects, it's all about promoting and highlighting the Sikh community and also working with other faiths. 

Amardeep Parmar: And yeah, because that's an important point as well, is that it's we're highlighting the Sikh communities and their achievements, [00:16:00] but all those people do do good work.

Amardeep Parmar: For everybody else as well, right? They're working people from other faiths, other backgrounds. And it's part of the culture of Seva, right? Like the service. And obviously, I kind of know some of the people that won awards this year and how much they're doing for the community. And it was the person behind the West Midlands Service Society, I think it's called, right?

Amardeep Parmar: And they were feeding people in the streets. And then because of that people who maybe had racist beliefs against like people from like our background. When I was like, Oh, okay, you've changed our opinion now. We actually understand. Okay. You like to help people. And that makes a huge difference as well about what these people are doing.

Dr Navdeep Singh: A  hundred percent. You know, so many people from, from different faiths have approached me because of the nature of the Sikh community and throughout COVID, if you look globally, you know, the amount of food banks, gurdwara's that we're providing, Nangal Sikhs are known for, for feeding people, and we're known for being that warrior race that you can always go to for, only the other day I was saying to somebody, if you're ever in trouble, you need to help.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And you see somebody with a turban, you can always go and ask for help. They're never going to say no, they're [00:17:00] always there to help you. So that's, that's, that's the beauty of our faith. And that's why, you know, when we integrate with other faiths, it's, it's easy. And essentially every faith has the same end goal.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're all working to that one same destination. We've just got a different way, a different route of getting there. And once people understand that, then we can reach some level of peace. 

Amardeep Parmar: So obviously when this started, this is something you're doing on the side of your job, right? And then now it's developed and you've got so many different arms to it.

Amardeep Parmar: When did it kind of become this idea that this could become pretty much a full time role now, working within this community and promoting it? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It was something I was doing while I was working as an estate agent. We used to have one day off. So on that one day off, I used to hit these roads that I mentioned and I'd go and do my cold calling and I'd build my network and database.

Dr Navdeep Singh: After a while, I'd covered most of central London. My boss was so cool. He said, look, I'll give you two days off as long as it doesn't affect your targets and what you're doing. Go and hit Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, you know, Nottingham, Leicester, [00:18:00] Leeds. At first I was like, I don't think I can do it.

Dr Navdeep Singh: He's like, no, do it. It's a good thing if you commit. So this guy was actually pushing me to do it because he could see what the guy had achieved from his faith doing the same thing. So yeah, you know, once I'd launched the first one, in fact, so as I mentioned, I started doing the groundwork and cold calling, preparing and building the database in 2004.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We learnt, we launched the first edition of the Sikh Directory in 2006. And I think within the week of launch, I then had to go back to my boss to say, I can't do both. And then that's when he said, that's what you should continue with. And I actually met with the guy who ran the Jewish Directory and made the decision.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And I thought, okay. You know, let's, let's, let's move with this and see how it goes. Fortunately, I still do a lot of work on property within central London, because once you've got those connections and they're there with you for life and people still want to work with you, even though you're not in an office kind of environment.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So there's still a lot of work that goes on with, with off market opportunities [00:19:00] and, and large developments within central London. Um, that I still handled to this day. 

Amardeep Parmar: What's your time split now? So in your average week. What's the different projects you're working on? How do you split your time up? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: So with  the Sikh group, there's five projects.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We've mentioned, um, the Sikh directory, the Sikh awards, the Sikh 100, the Sikh match, which is something that we started during lockdown and the Sikh charity, which we're about to launch next year. So these five projects take up the majority. of my time. I also work with a few of the royal families in the Middle East as a, an advisor on their developments and projects and investments they make outside of the GCC.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So that takes up quite a bit of time. I also work with one of the chapters of the United Nations. So that involves organizing a few events. So in a month, I'm typically out for seven to 10 days. I'm always in a country or a city meeting, networking, an event or something or another. The rest of the three weeks I'm [00:20:00] working on the projects I just mentioned.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And then whenever I have the time working on a few new things as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: So with the Sikh match that's launching fairly soon, right? What's that all about? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: The Sikh match actually was launched during lockdown when I'm traveling or whenever I'm here in the UK and I'm with a business person or, or, you know, someone that's running.

Dr Navdeep Singh: A service or something for the community guaranteed in the conversation at some point, they're going to turn around and say, Navdeep, I've got a son, I've got a daughter, you know, so many people, can you recommend someone? And I've always just thought off the top of my head, okay, you're a hotelier. I know this other hotelier, he's got a boy, you've got a girl, here's the numbers go for it. That I thought, okay, during lockdown, let's actually make this into a project and launch it because I knew it was going to work.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Where so many people had asked me over the years to launch this and funny enough, the domain that we're using Sikhmatch.com. [00:21:00] I think I purchased this in 2005 or 2006. I just had it there, literally never used it, but now was the time to use it. So, you know, I, I launched a Sikhmatch and it's a very premium service.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So it's not like these normal other websites where people can go on and communicate with one another and which are more of dating sites rather than a marriage or partner find a service. So that's essentially what we're doing. People sign up and we actually then go and find that person, their partner from our network, our database, our connections, and it proves to be working.

Dr Navdeep Singh: You know, we've, we, we've got a very unique model and we are matching. We've already matched so many high profile names and families, celebrities, unfortunately, I can't mention any names because that's the reason why they're coming to us is because of the fact that when someone signs up with the premium side of Sikhmatch, their photo or their, their data is not in the public domain.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're the [00:22:00] only ones who see it. And you know, that's what a lot of people want. That's what a lot of people like, and that seems to be working very well, but because of the demand and the sheer amount of people that have just contacted us for Sikhmatch, we are now launching an online platform, which will be ready by the end of this year.

Amardeep Parmar: And what's going to be the difference between that and the, what you did before?

Dr Navdeep Singh: Uh, the online is going to be similar to a lot of other websites out there where the applicants will be doing the majority of the work themselves. We're still going to maintain the premium element where if they want, then we can go and search for them.

Dr Navdeep Singh: But this has given people the benefit of both options, because I wasn't expecting the influx of people. I think number one, because it was locked down and people were sitting there and they were like, how are we going to meet someone? And, and where nowadays, children, kids, where do they meet their partners?

Amardeep Parmar:Well, I guess a lot of it is apps now, right? Because it's one of the things that we find is that in person is you don't do it as often because you don't, it's a different culture where you don't want [00:23:00] to necessarily approach somebody and then they, maybe they're not single or you damage your relationship.

Amardeep Parmar: Soften a lot of time. Now, when you go for an app, you know that the person is definitely single. That's the thing. While it happens, right? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: Apps. I've experienced a lot of good things and bad things. I mean, there's so many fake profiles out there. There's bots. There's people who are just catfishing and there's so much.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So this is one thing that I think I personally want to try to tackle and target and keep on top of with regards to our online platform is don't want to have no fake profiles. Don't want no bots, even if we launch and we only have 100 profiles on there, at least all those 100 are 100 percent real and above board.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And it only takes a matter of time for it to grow. So, you know, I'm thinking fortunately with, with the network and database we have, once we do make a formal announcement, it's going to be flooded with people, but they're going to be flooded with genuine people. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And that's the important bit, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Because, like, now looking forward, you've got so many other plans, right? So I know some of [00:24:00] them, but I'm not sure what's public and what isn't. Can you let people know what they can expect from the Sikh group in the coming years? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're  now approaching 20 years since I started the Sikh directory. And really

Dr Navdeep Singh: the first four or five years, three or four, four years, I was working on the directory, I wouldn't could never have imagined myself in any other space apart from sales publishing and the directory, but like I say, the community pulls you. It makes you do other stuff. And when you hear the same thing over and over again, that's what reinforces the need for that project.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So now we've got our five. They're all established. They're all well known globally. I'm respected and you know, everyone will know what those five projects do. Now, as you know, everyone's moving digital crypto online. So we are in the midst of creating the Sikh metaverse along with a lot of other [00:25:00] faiths.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's a global project working with a lot of faith leaders in different countries to launch this metaverse. And naturally I'll be looking after the Sikh zone or element, as they call it. That's our next project. And that's just to keep up and in line with the future generations. There's one or two others, but I can't tell you those.

Amardeep Parmar: What part of it do you enjoy the most? Like what's the bit that like fills you up the most?

Dr Navdeep Singh: The fact that no two days are the same. You never know who you're going to speak to, who's going to call you, who you're going to be introduced to, what's, what opportunity is going to come your way. Yeah. It, it, it, that really keeps you going.

Dr Navdeep Singh: The fact that. You just don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. 

Amardeep Parmar:And like for people listening who, because everybody knows how important their network is, right? But you've obviously got built such a huge network of people who trust you. What advice would you give to people who are looking to build their own network and to interact with some of the people who are at the level that you've interacted with?

Amardeep Parmar: 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's a good  question. I think when meeting people. The only thing I would recommend, or I would suggest in something that I do myself on a daily basis is just [00:26:00] to be yourself. You meet so many people and you know, you meet people in different environments and they portray themselves in that environment in a certain way, but it's only after maybe a phone call or another face to face meeting

Dr Navdeep Singh: then you get to the crux of what that person is about or what they're after or what they need or how you can help or how you can possibly work together. So I think it's important from the outset just to be yourself and those that are meant to be in your life will be in your life and those that are not

Amardeep Parmar: Well, obviously you're now meeting like a lot of the people under 30 as well, right? And that's a big part of it. And what are you seeing from them that maybe you weren't seeing from 20 years ago? So you said about social media, but how do you think attitudes are changing within the Sikh community when it comes to success in business?

Dr Navdeep Singh: I think attitudes are definitely changing because we've got complete new generations coming up now and they're not going into typical fields of doctors, dentists, lawyers, you know, they are spanning into different, [00:27:00] different fields of work and this is also good for the community because it helps the community to grow into different fields in educates people on what the community are doing.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So whenever I meet a Sikh who's doing business in an unconventional kind of area, I, I love it. I embrace it. I like to promote it. I like to help. I like to do what I can because that shows that that person's thinking outside the box. And these are the kinds of people that are going to help us grow and, you know, to the levels of, of other faiths and other communities in a business arena.

Amardeep Parmar: So it's been great to learn about what you've been working on. We've got to move on to  quick fire questions now. The first one is who's three British Asians who inspire you, who you think that the audience listening right now should be paying attention to and learning from? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: First and foremost has to be by Mohinder Singh Ji from Guru Nanak Naskaram Sevak Jata.

Dr Navdeep Singh: The next generation, there's very few spiritual leaders out there that can [00:28:00] communicate. With the next generation on their level and have their respect and understand what actually was actually being said. So without a doubt, number one, number two, I would say Jasminder Singh. He's the most successful businessman from our community in the UK.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And. Number three, probably Kuljinder Singh from Sourful Travel, he's from a similar age group and doing absolutely amazing in the travel industry, not just in the UK, but globally.

Amardeep Parmar: Awesome. So make sure you give those people a follow and like check out what they're doing. The next question is. What can people listening right now, if they're looking for help, what should they contact you about or contact the Sikh group about?

Dr Navdeep Singh: So we can help and we do help a lot of businesses, products, services, organisations. [00:29:00] We can only do so much in certain cities and countries, but the next generation often approach our team or myself for, with ideas and suggestions of, do you think I can do this? And, you know, I would like to set this up for the community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And. We're always there to help and it's not just about helping the Sikh community. I've helped the Swami Narayan temple in, in, in Abu Dhabi and in London with regards to setting up various projects for them. The Gujarati community with the Gujarati directory. They came to me. There's been a few other communities as well that have approached me to do similar things than the Nigerian community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Um, there was UK Black Links. So there's various other faiths that. do similar projects that we are happy to help with and anyone that wants to do anything for their faith can always approach myself or, or, or us. Um, and we're happy to help. It's all about working together. 

Amardeep Parmar:And then  on the other side, what's something you need help with right now?

Amardeep Parmar: What somebody could reach out to you about? If they're looking to help you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: [00:30:00] The only help we need is we need our community behind us. As long as we have the 27 million Sikhs in the world today, supporting, recognizing and promoting what the Sikh group does, then there's no stopping us. And we're just going to grow and expand and do what the community wants us to do, basically.

Dr Navdeep Singh: That's what we're here for. That's how we started and that's how we'll carry on.

Amardeep Parmar: It's been so great to chat to you today. Have you got any final words for the audience? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's been fun. Thank you. Some interesting questions there, I must say. And final words. If you think of something, go for it. You know, there's no I, there's no such thing as a bad idea.

Dr Navdeep Singh: You know, you've got a, If you have an idea of launching a product or a service, no matter how big, how small, go for it. We always got to look at what's the worst case scenario. What's the worst that's going to happen if I fail at doing this one thing. And what I think a lot of people will find is if they ask themselves that it's not that great a deal.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So. Give it a go. [00:31:00] It's always worthwhile. You never know what's around that corner.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review, and share this with your friends.

Dr Navdeep Singh: [00:00:00] If you think of something, go for it. There's no such thing as a bad idea. I literally walked from the top of Soho Road to the other end going into every shop. I did the same with Southall Broadway, Ilford Lane, and then once I'd spoken to a couple of hundred, not one person had said no. Everyone had said, if you can do this, of course we're going to support you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And since then... I've never looked back. We then got to the Sikher Awards supported by international global brands like HSBC, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, shows their faith within our community and what we do. Give it a go. It's always worthwhile. You never know what's around that corner.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast, where we inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. If you're watching this on YouTube, make sure you hit the subscribe button. And if you're watching this on Apple or Spotify, make sure to give us a five star review. Today we have with us, Dr.

Amardeep Parmar: Navdeep Singh, who's the founder and CEO of The Sikh Group. He's a master power broker with a [00:01:00] network that spans across the globe. How are you doing today? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: I'm  doing very well. Thank you for inviting me on your show.

Amardeep Parmar: It's great to have you here and like, had a lot of fun meeting you at The Sikh Awards as well.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's just one of the things you do. But if we rewind back to your childhood. So when you were growing up, did you ever think you'd be doing the kind of thing you're doing today? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: In a short answer, no, there was no way on earth when I was a youngster that I would be, I've even thought of that I'll be doing what I'm doing right now at this moment in time.

Amardeep Parmar: And why is that? Like, why do you think that wouldn't be the case? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: For when I left school, most of my teens, early 20s, most of my 20s, I was in the sales environment. So I was selling cars, houses, yachts, planes, you name it, I've sold it. And that's where I thought my, my, my journey was going, but Hey, we're here today.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Like you say, I'm doing a lot more than just running the seat group, but that is my principal activity. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yes. So as a secret, the first thing you did like that was by yourself, that was your first [00:02:00] business. 

Dr Navdeep Singh: I tried quite a few things before that. The seat directory is where my whole journey actually began.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So back in 2004, I was working for an estate agency in central London selling the most prime property in W1, W2 and Knightsbridge. One feather in my cap is I was the first Siddharth, first Singh. We were determined to be working in that area, in that market. I was very fortunate to have a chance and I was there for eight years.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And that's really where I got the idea of the Sikh directory. I was working for an Orthodox Jew. He had a copy of the Jewish directory, which was approaching. This is going back in 2004, 2005. They were approaching their 15th or 20th anniversary of their directory. So simply just went online, started searching directories, communities, businesses, and I found a whole host of community directories like the Muslim, the Jewish, the Polish, the Hindu Punjabi, the Hindu, the Patel, the Sindhi community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: There were so many community directories out in [00:03:00] 2004, but there was nothing for the Sikh community. So having this idea. I went and approached by Mahinda Singh ji from Guru Nanak Naskaram Sivak Jata in Birmingham, Soho Road. With this idea as, as it's important when you're doing something with faith, you have that spiritual element.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I'm still learning, always learning, making many mistakes. To have a mentor like that, it just concretes, the project and it makes sure that everything we do is 100 percent above board and totally transparent. So started the Sikh directory after five years of producing the Sikh directory, we then organized the world's first Sikh Awards.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And again, you know, as with the Sikh directory, as with the Sikh Awards and all the projects we do, it's only ever launched or released once we realize there's a demand within the community and it's something the community actually want. 

Amardeep Parmar: So how do you test that? Like  at the beginning, when you were [00:04:00] coming up with the Sikh directory, how did you know that there's the demand for it?

Amardeep Parmar: How did you test that?

Dr Navdeep Singh: So with the Sikh directory was quite a simple process of testing the market, which was, I was in sales, like I mentioned. So I literally walked from the top of Soho road in Birmingham to the other end of Soho road in Birmingham, going into every shop, asking if the owner is Sikh when meeting a Sikh business owner, asking them if they thought this was something that They will support.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I did the same with Southall Broadway. I did the same with Ilford Lane and many other prominent Asian roads where there was a lot of Indian or Asian business owners. And then once I'd spoken to a couple of hundred, not one person had said, no. Everyone has said, if you can do this and you can locate and you can find all the Seacoom businesses, of course, we're going to support you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And since then, I've never looked back. Our price is still 25 to get your name listed in the directory. In fact, now the directory is actually going global. So we've launched it online. It's a website. You're sitting in New York or [00:05:00] Dubai or India. You search hotel or doctor or dentist. The closest Sikh owned business or even Gurdwara will come on your phone and you can interact and get directions straight to that,

Dr Navdeep Singh: that product or service. So Sikh directory. Yes, it was first launched in 2006 and that's been going from strength to strength ever since. So on the fifth year of the Sikh directory as an anniversary, we then got to the Sikh awards again to make sure the community actually wanted this. And there was a need for this.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I spoke to many business leaders within our community at that time to say, I'm thinking of doing this project. What do you think? Again, everyone was like. Do it. If you can do it, do it. So it was very fortunate that we managed to organize what turned into the world's first Sikh Awards on October 10th, 2010.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Broken down, the date is 10 10 10. Everybody that came to those Sikh Awards, and bearing in mind it was at the Groven House, the number one hotel in the [00:06:00] whole of the UK as far as prestige and glamour is concerned, everyone remembers that event for that day, what they were doing and the fact that that was the first. The second,  it was shown on Sony TV, who was our media partner for that year.

Dr Navdeep Singh: I started getting phone calls from Canada, India, America. There's this Sikh, he's doing an amazing job. There’s this Sikh, he's an amazing entertainer. And I'll, you know, at first it was a bit daunting thinking I'v done a UK event. Okay. Fair enough. Again, that was my first ever event. I've attended thousands, never organized anything until 2010.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Then I realized, okay, this can, it does have the scope to go global. So then we, in 2011, we started honoring people from different countries around the world. And again, as with the Sikh directory, it, the word just spread within the community. I started getting more and more support. Typically, the Sikh Awards are actually sponsored and supported by international global [00:07:00] brands, which is also a big thing for our community to have brands like HSBC, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, you know, ABN AMRO, some of the biggest brands in the world that have supported the Sikh Awards that shows not only their faith in myself as an entrepreneur and the organizer, but their faith within our community and what we do.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So Sikh Awards has really, you know, just excelled. And now on our 12th year, in the 12 years, in the 12 events that we've had, we've held the Sikh Awards in Dubai, Toronto. Uh, Nairobi, Delhi, and next year, hopefully in the U. S. So, we've definitely covered a lot of cities, honored some amazing individuals from all different fields and walks of life, and yeah, it's been a really enjoyable project.

Amardeep Parmar: There's quite  a few interesting things you mentioned there. And one of the things I want to come back to is you said about these global brands that are sponsoring you. How did that come about? Like, how did you get in touch with them? Because obviously it might be quite daunting to go and approach HSBC and say, will you [00:08:00] back this project that I believe in?

Dr Navdeep Singh: Yes and no. We go back to my background. I'm, I'm from sales. So for me to go to a brand and ask them to sponsor something, um, as unique as a Sikh Awards, it was a challenge. So if anything, you know, I would push for them to say no. I'm moving to the next company. And eventually you speak to 10 people, you're going to get one brand that sees and shares that vision and also has the understanding in, you know, in the sequel was, we have one, one category, which is called a special recognition award, which goes to a, which has gone to a lot of world leaders at the moment.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Now, one of the things that all of these presidents and prime ministers have more or less said in, you know, different ways is that the Sikh community punches well above its weight. There's only 27 million Sikhs in the world today. And if you look at our third project, the Sikh 100, which again was produced because I was getting asked by so many people from around the world to produce something, a list of, initially the Sikh 100 was [00:09:00] a list of, it was going to be the most wealthiest Sikhs and I sat down and you know, we managed to do that in about an hour or so, that was too easy.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So then we thought, right, let's do this on power and influence. The list completely changed with a whole different set of characters and individuals and personalities. Um, and you know, It's all governed by an independent panel, so they make sure that everyone has in their right position with regards to what the job they do, not so much the actual person or or an individual, but it's more about, you know, what they do for a living and their position in life and in the community and and how they stand globally.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So the Sikh 100 really profiles 100 of the most prominent and powerful and influential Sikhs in the world today. 

Amardeep Parmar: So obviously  from talking to like all of these people, right, from all different parts of the world, it must be really hard to also manage all those relationships because if it's all these people who are very successful in their own fields, And I've had some people like, Oh, why am I not number one?

Amardeep Parmar: And why am I not here? [00:10:00] How do you balance that to try and make sure that you keep that relationship? Where it's obviously the idea behind it is to encourage people to inspire people. How do you manage that as well to make sure that people are kind of seeing that vision behind why you're doing it? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: So this brings me back to having a mentor.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Who is of a spiritual background nature, which makes sure that everything we do is 100 percent transparent and above board. Now with the Sikh 100, we have hundreds of people being put forward every year for the next list. Now the list has 50 percent is pretty much as it was when we launched in 2012.

Dr Navdeep Singh: When we launched the Sikh 100 in 2012, Manmohan Singh was Number one, as the, the Indian prime minister and Monteksingh Ahluwalia was the head of the Indian planning commission, who was number two, and number three was obviously always the head of the SGPC. So the minute we launched this in London in 2012, it went viral in India.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It was the first item on every news channel. It was the [00:11:00] front page of every newspaper. Munmunthi of India, you know, has been declared the most powerful Sikh in the world by the, the Sikh group organization. That was a real eye opener and just showed you how media can excel and work and word spreads around the world so fast.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So automatically, the minute that news hit the press, people started nominating people that they know they look up to. They've heard off. So,  it's not just a matter of people putting people forward. People also nominate themselves. Now, every year we get these nominations for the Sikh 100. They're scrutinized.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We do our checks. We do our background checks. Fortunately, a lot of the people I will personally know, or the panel personally knows, you asked a question where do people ever ask you, why am I number one? Not, why am I not, not number one? Or why am I not in number twenties or why am I, you know, number 80 or something.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's actually never really come up. I think with the Sikh 100, a lot of the people are [00:12:00] actually just so honored to be promoted or highlighted in that list. Remember with, with any of our projects, if somebody nominates themselves for a Sikh award, there's no charge, there's no cost. The only thing I ask from the winners is to make their own way to wherever we are holding the Sikh awards.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Again, with the Sikh 100, there's no registration fee, nomination fee. In a lot of countries, you see a lot of coffee table books and other lists that have started since 2012. And they tend to go to these people and ask for a donation or a fee of some kind, and that kind of takes away the whole kind of honor and, and also, you know, um, the respect people get and the way they feel when they find out they're listed in, in the Sikh 100.

Dr Navdeep Singh: In fact, during lockdown, again, due to the demand from the community, we, we launched a Sikh 100 under 30. Now, the Sikh 100 under 30 is really about rising stars and about motivating these [00:13:00] youngsters and teenagers and let them see, you know, one day you could potentially be in the Sikh 100, not just in the Sikh 100 under 30.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And it's also, you know, when we honor someone. In one of these three kind of projects, the Sikh Awards, the Sikh 100 or the Sikh 100 Under 30, the amount of lives that have changed from being in the list and being honored and some of the messages and phone calls and conversations I've had with people afterwards, it's absolutely mind blowing and you know, that  

Dr Navdeep Singh: also encourages you to carry on and, and do more because these people are genuinely benefiting out of it. It's not just a matter of bringing out a list. You know, the Sikh 100 project is now referred to as the Forbes list for Sikhs. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  what I find interesting as well, because obviously with what I do, I interview a lot of people, not just from like the Asian backgrounds from all over the world.

Amardeep Parmar: And people sometimes come forward like, Oh, I named Yahoo finances top 10 people in [00:14:00] this like, I know you've paid for that. And there's a lot of these awards, which actually mean a lot less than people think they do. So when there's a list like yours that has integrity behind it, it's actually earned. It's actually an anomaly in this industry, right?

Amardeep Parmar: There's so many people who just buy their awards and that's what makes your list matters so much more. And why it's important to people, right? It's not like they just paid for it, right? If you just paid for it, you might use it to promote yourself, but you know you didn't really earn it. Whereas when people are on your list, they know it's from a panel, it's transparent.

Amardeep Parmar: It makes such a huge difference to how much it means as well, I think, right? And with the under 30 list as well, it's like, I was going to ask you to kind of shout out some of the people on there, but it's like asking me way too hard, right? I don't want you to pick between 100 people. But is there anything that you're seeing trend wise, like over the last 10 years, in terms of Sikh 100 or Sikh under 130, where you're seeing more people get into certain fields where maybe there wasn't that much Sikh representation before?

Dr Navdeep Singh: With the Sikh 100, you'll find the list is predominantly full of like [00:15:00] ministers, spiritual leaders, organization leaders, business tycoons, and some of the most well known names and brands in the world. Sikh 100, I can see a lot of social media influencers coming up, a lot of people that are in like the social eye, a lot of people who are in entertainment and more kind of media focused.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Whereas, you know, if you look at the Sikh 100, there's not that strong a kind of media element to that. Also with the Sikh 130, there's a lot more females coming up. especially this year, which is also a good thing. Sikh women, they're doing amazing jobs around the world. They need to be highlighted. They need to be promoted.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So that's what we enjoy doing. And that's what the whole, that's what the whole Sikh group is about. If you look at all five of our projects, it's all about promoting and highlighting the Sikh community and also working with other faiths. 

Amardeep Parmar: And yeah, because that's an important point as well, is that it's we're highlighting the Sikh communities and their achievements, [00:16:00] but all those people do do good work.

Amardeep Parmar: For everybody else as well, right? They're working people from other faiths, other backgrounds. And it's part of the culture of Seva, right? Like the service. And obviously, I kind of know some of the people that won awards this year and how much they're doing for the community. And it was the person behind the West Midlands Service Society, I think it's called, right?

Amardeep Parmar: And they were feeding people in the streets. And then because of that people who maybe had racist beliefs against like people from like our background. When I was like, Oh, okay, you've changed our opinion now. We actually understand. Okay. You like to help people. And that makes a huge difference as well about what these people are doing.

Dr Navdeep Singh: A  hundred percent. You know, so many people from, from different faiths have approached me because of the nature of the Sikh community and throughout COVID, if you look globally, you know, the amount of food banks, gurdwara's that we're providing, Nangal Sikhs are known for, for feeding people, and we're known for being that warrior race that you can always go to for, only the other day I was saying to somebody, if you're ever in trouble, you need to help.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And you see somebody with a turban, you can always go and ask for help. They're never going to say no, they're [00:17:00] always there to help you. So that's, that's, that's the beauty of our faith. And that's why, you know, when we integrate with other faiths, it's, it's easy. And essentially every faith has the same end goal.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're all working to that one same destination. We've just got a different way, a different route of getting there. And once people understand that, then we can reach some level of peace. 

Amardeep Parmar: So obviously when this started, this is something you're doing on the side of your job, right? And then now it's developed and you've got so many different arms to it.

Amardeep Parmar: When did it kind of become this idea that this could become pretty much a full time role now, working within this community and promoting it? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It was something I was doing while I was working as an estate agent. We used to have one day off. So on that one day off, I used to hit these roads that I mentioned and I'd go and do my cold calling and I'd build my network and database.

Dr Navdeep Singh: After a while, I'd covered most of central London. My boss was so cool. He said, look, I'll give you two days off as long as it doesn't affect your targets and what you're doing. Go and hit Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, you know, Nottingham, Leicester, [00:18:00] Leeds. At first I was like, I don't think I can do it.

Dr Navdeep Singh: He's like, no, do it. It's a good thing if you commit. So this guy was actually pushing me to do it because he could see what the guy had achieved from his faith doing the same thing. So yeah, you know, once I'd launched the first one, in fact, so as I mentioned, I started doing the groundwork and cold calling, preparing and building the database in 2004.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We learnt, we launched the first edition of the Sikh Directory in 2006. And I think within the week of launch, I then had to go back to my boss to say, I can't do both. And then that's when he said, that's what you should continue with. And I actually met with the guy who ran the Jewish Directory and made the decision.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And I thought, okay. You know, let's, let's, let's move with this and see how it goes. Fortunately, I still do a lot of work on property within central London, because once you've got those connections and they're there with you for life and people still want to work with you, even though you're not in an office kind of environment.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So there's still a lot of work that goes on with, with off market opportunities [00:19:00] and, and large developments within central London. Um, that I still handled to this day. 

Amardeep Parmar: What's your time split now? So in your average week. What's the different projects you're working on? How do you split your time up? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: So with  the Sikh group, there's five projects.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We've mentioned, um, the Sikh directory, the Sikh awards, the Sikh 100, the Sikh match, which is something that we started during lockdown and the Sikh charity, which we're about to launch next year. So these five projects take up the majority. of my time. I also work with a few of the royal families in the Middle East as a, an advisor on their developments and projects and investments they make outside of the GCC.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So that takes up quite a bit of time. I also work with one of the chapters of the United Nations. So that involves organizing a few events. So in a month, I'm typically out for seven to 10 days. I'm always in a country or a city meeting, networking, an event or something or another. The rest of the three weeks I'm [00:20:00] working on the projects I just mentioned.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And then whenever I have the time working on a few new things as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: So with the Sikh match that's launching fairly soon, right? What's that all about? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: The Sikh match actually was launched during lockdown when I'm traveling or whenever I'm here in the UK and I'm with a business person or, or, you know, someone that's running.

Dr Navdeep Singh: A service or something for the community guaranteed in the conversation at some point, they're going to turn around and say, Navdeep, I've got a son, I've got a daughter, you know, so many people, can you recommend someone? And I've always just thought off the top of my head, okay, you're a hotelier. I know this other hotelier, he's got a boy, you've got a girl, here's the numbers go for it. That I thought, okay, during lockdown, let's actually make this into a project and launch it because I knew it was going to work.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Where so many people had asked me over the years to launch this and funny enough, the domain that we're using Sikhmatch.com. [00:21:00] I think I purchased this in 2005 or 2006. I just had it there, literally never used it, but now was the time to use it. So, you know, I, I launched a Sikhmatch and it's a very premium service.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So it's not like these normal other websites where people can go on and communicate with one another and which are more of dating sites rather than a marriage or partner find a service. So that's essentially what we're doing. People sign up and we actually then go and find that person, their partner from our network, our database, our connections, and it proves to be working.

Dr Navdeep Singh: You know, we've, we, we've got a very unique model and we are matching. We've already matched so many high profile names and families, celebrities, unfortunately, I can't mention any names because that's the reason why they're coming to us is because of the fact that when someone signs up with the premium side of Sikhmatch, their photo or their, their data is not in the public domain.

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're the [00:22:00] only ones who see it. And you know, that's what a lot of people want. That's what a lot of people like, and that seems to be working very well, but because of the demand and the sheer amount of people that have just contacted us for Sikhmatch, we are now launching an online platform, which will be ready by the end of this year.

Amardeep Parmar: And what's going to be the difference between that and the, what you did before?

Dr Navdeep Singh: Uh, the online is going to be similar to a lot of other websites out there where the applicants will be doing the majority of the work themselves. We're still going to maintain the premium element where if they want, then we can go and search for them.

Dr Navdeep Singh: But this has given people the benefit of both options, because I wasn't expecting the influx of people. I think number one, because it was locked down and people were sitting there and they were like, how are we going to meet someone? And, and where nowadays, children, kids, where do they meet their partners?

Amardeep Parmar:Well, I guess a lot of it is apps now, right? Because it's one of the things that we find is that in person is you don't do it as often because you don't, it's a different culture where you don't want [00:23:00] to necessarily approach somebody and then they, maybe they're not single or you damage your relationship.

Amardeep Parmar: Soften a lot of time. Now, when you go for an app, you know that the person is definitely single. That's the thing. While it happens, right? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: Apps. I've experienced a lot of good things and bad things. I mean, there's so many fake profiles out there. There's bots. There's people who are just catfishing and there's so much.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So this is one thing that I think I personally want to try to tackle and target and keep on top of with regards to our online platform is don't want to have no fake profiles. Don't want no bots, even if we launch and we only have 100 profiles on there, at least all those 100 are 100 percent real and above board.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And it only takes a matter of time for it to grow. So, you know, I'm thinking fortunately with, with the network and database we have, once we do make a formal announcement, it's going to be flooded with people, but they're going to be flooded with genuine people. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And that's the important bit, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Because, like, now looking forward, you've got so many other plans, right? So I know some of [00:24:00] them, but I'm not sure what's public and what isn't. Can you let people know what they can expect from the Sikh group in the coming years? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: We're  now approaching 20 years since I started the Sikh directory. And really

Dr Navdeep Singh: the first four or five years, three or four, four years, I was working on the directory, I wouldn't could never have imagined myself in any other space apart from sales publishing and the directory, but like I say, the community pulls you. It makes you do other stuff. And when you hear the same thing over and over again, that's what reinforces the need for that project.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So now we've got our five. They're all established. They're all well known globally. I'm respected and you know, everyone will know what those five projects do. Now, as you know, everyone's moving digital crypto online. So we are in the midst of creating the Sikh metaverse along with a lot of other [00:25:00] faiths.

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's a global project working with a lot of faith leaders in different countries to launch this metaverse. And naturally I'll be looking after the Sikh zone or element, as they call it. That's our next project. And that's just to keep up and in line with the future generations. There's one or two others, but I can't tell you those.

Amardeep Parmar: What part of it do you enjoy the most? Like what's the bit that like fills you up the most?

Dr Navdeep Singh: The fact that no two days are the same. You never know who you're going to speak to, who's going to call you, who you're going to be introduced to, what's, what opportunity is going to come your way. Yeah. It, it, it, that really keeps you going.

Dr Navdeep Singh: The fact that. You just don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. 

Amardeep Parmar:And like for people listening who, because everybody knows how important their network is, right? But you've obviously got built such a huge network of people who trust you. What advice would you give to people who are looking to build their own network and to interact with some of the people who are at the level that you've interacted with?

Amardeep Parmar: 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's a good  question. I think when meeting people. The only thing I would recommend, or I would suggest in something that I do myself on a daily basis is just [00:26:00] to be yourself. You meet so many people and you know, you meet people in different environments and they portray themselves in that environment in a certain way, but it's only after maybe a phone call or another face to face meeting

Dr Navdeep Singh: then you get to the crux of what that person is about or what they're after or what they need or how you can help or how you can possibly work together. So I think it's important from the outset just to be yourself and those that are meant to be in your life will be in your life and those that are not

Amardeep Parmar: Well, obviously you're now meeting like a lot of the people under 30 as well, right? And that's a big part of it. And what are you seeing from them that maybe you weren't seeing from 20 years ago? So you said about social media, but how do you think attitudes are changing within the Sikh community when it comes to success in business?

Dr Navdeep Singh: I think attitudes are definitely changing because we've got complete new generations coming up now and they're not going into typical fields of doctors, dentists, lawyers, you know, they are spanning into different, [00:27:00] different fields of work and this is also good for the community because it helps the community to grow into different fields in educates people on what the community are doing.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So whenever I meet a Sikh who's doing business in an unconventional kind of area, I, I love it. I embrace it. I like to promote it. I like to help. I like to do what I can because that shows that that person's thinking outside the box. And these are the kinds of people that are going to help us grow and, you know, to the levels of, of other faiths and other communities in a business arena.

Amardeep Parmar: So it's been great to learn about what you've been working on. We've got to move on to  quick fire questions now. The first one is who's three British Asians who inspire you, who you think that the audience listening right now should be paying attention to and learning from? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: First and foremost has to be by Mohinder Singh Ji from Guru Nanak Naskaram Sevak Jata.

Dr Navdeep Singh: The next generation, there's very few spiritual leaders out there that can [00:28:00] communicate. With the next generation on their level and have their respect and understand what actually was actually being said. So without a doubt, number one, number two, I would say Jasminder Singh. He's the most successful businessman from our community in the UK.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And. Number three, probably Kuljinder Singh from Sourful Travel, he's from a similar age group and doing absolutely amazing in the travel industry, not just in the UK, but globally.

Amardeep Parmar: Awesome. So make sure you give those people a follow and like check out what they're doing. The next question is. What can people listening right now, if they're looking for help, what should they contact you about or contact the Sikh group about?

Dr Navdeep Singh: So we can help and we do help a lot of businesses, products, services, organisations. [00:29:00] We can only do so much in certain cities and countries, but the next generation often approach our team or myself for, with ideas and suggestions of, do you think I can do this? And, you know, I would like to set this up for the community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: And. We're always there to help and it's not just about helping the Sikh community. I've helped the Swami Narayan temple in, in, in Abu Dhabi and in London with regards to setting up various projects for them. The Gujarati community with the Gujarati directory. They came to me. There's been a few other communities as well that have approached me to do similar things than the Nigerian community.

Dr Navdeep Singh: Um, there was UK Black Links. So there's various other faiths that. do similar projects that we are happy to help with and anyone that wants to do anything for their faith can always approach myself or, or, or us. Um, and we're happy to help. It's all about working together. 

Amardeep Parmar:And then  on the other side, what's something you need help with right now?

Amardeep Parmar: What somebody could reach out to you about? If they're looking to help you.

Dr Navdeep Singh: [00:30:00] The only help we need is we need our community behind us. As long as we have the 27 million Sikhs in the world today, supporting, recognizing and promoting what the Sikh group does, then there's no stopping us. And we're just going to grow and expand and do what the community wants us to do, basically.

Dr Navdeep Singh: That's what we're here for. That's how we started and that's how we'll carry on.

Amardeep Parmar: It's been so great to chat to you today. Have you got any final words for the audience? 

Dr Navdeep Singh: It's been fun. Thank you. Some interesting questions there, I must say. And final words. If you think of something, go for it. You know, there's no I, there's no such thing as a bad idea.

Dr Navdeep Singh: You know, you've got a, If you have an idea of launching a product or a service, no matter how big, how small, go for it. We always got to look at what's the worst case scenario. What's the worst that's going to happen if I fail at doing this one thing. And what I think a lot of people will find is if they ask themselves that it's not that great a deal.

Dr Navdeep Singh: So. Give it a go. [00:31:00] It's always worthwhile. You never know what's around that corner.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review, and share this with your friends.

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