As the sons of two educators, brothers Martin, Meti, and Massi Basiri have made it their life’s mission to improve global access to education, and in just six years the brothers have grown their company into the world’s largest online international student recruitment platform, helping more than 300,000 students. Leveraging artificial intelligence, ApplyBoard’s technology helps students around the world access the best education by matching them to programs and institutions that fit their unique background and interests. The ApplyBoard team is receiving the Governor General’s Innovation Award for improving global access to education; helping to foster internationalization, strengthening the diversity of student populations, and lowering longstanding barriers to traditional education by increasing visa approval and program acceptance rates.
Martin, Meti, and Massi Basiri faced challenges during their own journey applying to school and moving to Canada from Iran. The transition was difficult as they had to learn a new language, in a new environment, and without a support system. The brothers had no financing or network when they started the company. They were passionate about the issues they faced during the study-abroad process and turned it into an opportunity to help others like them who were applying to study abroad. The team focused on developing mutually beneficial relationships for students, partner schools, international recruitment partners, and destination countries. The platform offers a streamlined student application process that makes it possible for students and recruitment partners to view schools, programs, and scholarship opportunities at 1,500+ schools — all in one place. Recruitment partners now have a platform that is easy to use, while partner schools welcome a more diverse range of international students. Destination countries are receiving talented international students who often end up residing post-graduation. Aware of the many financial challenges international students face, ApplyBoard has helped students access over $50,000,000 in scholarships, and created the STEM for Change Scholarship program in 2021 to drive diversity and inclusion by empowering women to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As one of the fastest growing tech companies in North America, ApplyBoard has created 1,400+ jobs in Canada and around the world. Under Martin’s leadership, ApplyBoard was named Canada’s fastest-growing technology company by Deloitte in 2019 after only four years in business, ranking #1 on the Deloitte Fast 50™ list.