The Canadian Youth Business Foundation has selected 30 dynamic young Canadian entrepreneurs to form the official Canadian delegation at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20 YES) in Nice, France on October 31-November 2, 2011. The G20 YES is an annual international summit that brings together dedicated and influential entrepreneurs of the G20 countries. Armen Bakirtzian is a Canadian delegate.
Why did I become an entrepreneur:
Entrepreneurship was never on my radar as a possible career path. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, I was always under the impression that once I completed school, I would get a ‘normal’ job. After the concept for our business was born as an undergraduate engineering design project at the University of Waterloo, my two colleagues and I saw value in what we had created and decided to continue developing it throughout our respective masters’ degrees. However, we remained hesitant to become first time entrepreneurs and build a business around it. The ‘trigger’ which eliminated that hesitation was provided by the surgeons whom we demonstrated our device to. Their enthusiasm encouraged us to commit to the notion of entrepreneurship and to the commercialization of our technology.
My best moment as an entrepreneur, my success:
As a company, Avenir Medical Inc. has been focused on developing a device that can truly help orthopedic surgeons deliver a superior quality of care to their patient. The development of our device, PelvAssist™, started several years ago in the laboratories at the University of Waterloo. We recently demonstrated PelvAssist™ to world-renowned surgeons across North America and received very positive feedback. They were excited and eager to adopt our device once a clinically-approved version is available.
However, the true reward for the years of development is yet to come. The most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur in the medical device space is the ability to improve the quality of life of patients. We are hopeful and eager for the day that we can directly and positively impact human life.
My next challenge:
One of the greatest challenges we face is the ultimate adoption of our device by orthopedic surgeons. Navigation devices have been available for over a decade, yet the majority (over 95%) of hip surgeons today do not use the technology. The design of PelvAssist™ has been guided by orthopedic surgeons since its infancy. Now, a team of over 20 surgeons steer the continued development of our device. We have been focused on end-user design to overcome the hurdle of adoption, and want to bring a device to market that surgeons will enjoy using.