McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

The Next 36: Shahob Hosseinpour

Published: January 18, 2011
Holger Schünemann
While traveling in Iran, Shahob Hosseinpour, a health sciences student who specializes in global health, was recently accepted into The Next 36, a national program designed to launch the entrepreneurial careers of 36 of the country's most talented undergraduates.

Shahob Hosseinpour wants to be an entrepreneur with a purpose.

The health sciences student, who specializes in global health, was recently accepted into The Next 36, a national program designed to launch the entrepreneurial careers of 36 of the country's most talented undergraduates. One of only a handful of those students studying a subject unrelated to business, Hosseinpour and a team of three other students have been given $50,000 and guidance from some of Canada's top business leaders in order to develop a mobile application for smartphones — one that he says won't just be about making money, but making a difference.

"We bring a completely different perspective to projects like this," said Hosseinpour, whose entire team is made up of students studying subjects not directly related to the business world. "We want to take on a cause or figure out how to solve a problem. We want to be social entrepreneurs."

He says that despite what people may think, students in health sciences are exposed to business problems throughout their studies. He cites the constant need to improve communication between doctors and their patients as an example of the sort of problem social entrepreneurs can take on.

"We're treating our app development like a science experiment — but instead of experimenting on fruit flies, which are simple to work with and can be easily manipulated, we're using a mobile application, which shares some of the same attributes."

Margaret Secord, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, has known Hosseinpour since his first year at McMaster and helped him to prepare for the entrepreneurial program's rigorous application process. She says she wasn't surprised when he was selected as one of the top 36.

"He's a stellar student, a real go-getter," she said. "It was apparent from the very beginning that he would go on to do big things."

Hosseinpour isn't sure if his future lies in the business world — he's currently preparing for an embedded learning experience overseas next year, possibly in Rwanda, Uganda or India, and is interested in working on health policy — but he is sure that he'll come away from The Next 36 experience with skills that he'll be able to use in any field.

"It's about making connections that can help you in the future," he said. "It's also about surrounding yourself with the most intelligent, innovative people around and seeing what happens. That's what I'm most excited about."

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