DEBI thinks bigger for new year

At Western’s Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Seed Your Startup competition this past summer, the Dental Entrepreneurship Business and Innovation (DEBI) Academy leadership team walked away with third place — and big plans.

Through speaker seminars, online resources and an ongoing podcast series, the student-led DEBI Academy empowers dental students with business skills and knowledge for their careers. The organization quickly gained popularity within Schulich Dentistry and across other Canadian dental schools.

Now, they’re taking their operations to the next level.

“Our goal for the Seed Your Startup competition was to explore a new path for transitioning DEBI into a viable business, and to formulate a plan for scaling our operations to provide more comprehensive and high-quality educational content,” said DEBI President Nima Noyan, Dentistry Class of 2023.

This includes a new structured curriculum, featuring monthly overarching content themes across all of their initiatives. In October, that means events and resources related to personal finance; in November, the focus will be on buying or building a practice. Each monthly theme will be revisited annually, with the goal of continually building on students’ knowledge throughout their four years of dental education.

An ambassador program is another facet of their new approach. It engages dental students from across Canada to contribute to DEBI resources and to raise awareness of the organization at their own school.

The mentorship and workshops provided through the Seed Your Startup competition were very helpful in growing DEBI, Noyan says.

“We took on a new and exciting challenge as a team, which allowed us to strengthen our bond with each other and improve our workflow as an organization.” 

Noyan and the team hope that, with DEBI’s help, their peers will be well-equipped to have greater agency in their careers and grow as leaders and innovators for the benefit of their communities.

“Being an entrepreneur involves identifying areas in need of improvement, coming up with solutions, and having the zeal, skillset, and perseverance to implement those solutions. We hope to be able to inspire dental students to realize their full potential and maximize their impact on society,” he said.