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Founder of Columbia-based IT firm finding ways to support others, himself 

Rajan Natarajan is founder and CEO of Global Alliant.

Rajan Natarajan is founder and CEO of Global Alliant. (Maximilian Franz/Special to The Daily Record)

Born and raised in India and educated in Michigan, Rajan Natarajan moved to Maryland after his wife landed a job working for the federal government.

As a small businessperson, he is glad he did.

Maryland, he explained, is a good place to be in business. “They’ve helped us a lot,” noting the state’s commitment to ensuring opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses.

His company, Global Alliant, a Columbia-based information technology consulting and software development firm, is focused on the health care sector. He founded it in 2016, but while he is something of a newcomer as a solo entrepreneur, his information technology (IT) roots run deep.

Natarajan earned his doctorate in biotechnology and earned his MBA from Michigan State University, and has worked for tech companies for 15 years.

His interest in health care is also not new, stretching back to when he was working for a biotech company in Michigan. There he learned that bringing a new drug to the marketplace costs an average of a billion dollars, and takes seven years to develop. Natarajan wanted to figure out how to make the process “faster and cheaper.”

After his move to Maryland in 2003, he worked for a couple of small start-ups, and then served as a deputy secretary of state for policy and external affairs and commissioner of transportation for the state of Maryland. He left public service and returned to the private sector – but this time, to work for himself.

“After growing three small companies into mid-size companies for someone else, I figured, ‘Why can’t I start my own?’ ”

In 2016, Natarajan did just that, launching Global Alliant. From the start, his goal was to make sure all the projects he took on were finished on time and within budget. To date, he says, the company has succeeded in that.

It also has succeeded in growing at an impressive rate. Global Alliant’s annual revenues have increased steadily year after year, from $900,000 in 2018 to $30 million in 2022, and the company’s workforce has ballooned to 200 employees.

Natarajan sees more growth in the future with some 70% of its business in the health care field, but he plans to branch out into security, homeland security and defense work.

That attachment explains his many connections to the state. While no longer a state employee, he is on the University of Maryland’s Board of Visitors as well as a board member of both the Maryland Cyber Security Council and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Both Natarajan and his company have been honored often for their accomplishments. The Small Business Association’s Baltimore District Office recognized him as its 2022 Small Business Person of the Year, and the Maryland Tech Council named Global Alliant the Government Contracting Company of the Year.

Inc. Magazine recognized the company as the fastest growing small business in the state and the sixth fastest-growing company in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Success does not mean he does not face difficulties as a business owner, and the pandemic brought new challenges to the surface. Finding and engaging a skilled workforce tops the list. Employees want to work from home, or not work at all.

“It’s hard to hire people,” he said. “A lot of people are just not coming back to work.”

Maintaining a proper balance between keeping employees happy and keeping customers happy is an ongoing concern for nearly every business owner in today’s post-pandemic environment.

“It’s a balance,” he said. “But you have to do it – satisfy your customers and your employees.”  Natarajan delivers what he promises to his customers and tries to exceed their expectations, while attracting and retaining a skilled workforce with what he described as a generous salary and benefits package.

Challenges or not, Natarajan is committed to Maryland’s small business community. “I live here now,” he said. “I’m attached to Maryland.”

Minority Business/Expanding Opportunities cover

Expanding Opportunities

This article is featured in the 2022 edition of The Daily Record’s Expanding Opportunities Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses that was published on Sept. 23. Published in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, Expanding Opportunities explores diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation in Maryland’s small business community. Read more from Expanding Opportunities or read the digital edition.

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