Entrepreneur Shahrzad Rafati has been named a winner of the 2017 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award.
The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants is a peoples’ choice award that recognizes inspirational immigrants who have come to Canada, achieved success and made a positive difference in their adopted country. The annual competition is open to anyone who is 14 years or older, either a landed immigrant or a citizen of Canada (as defined by Canadian law) and living in Canada for the majority of the time within the past three (3) years. The nominee’s contributions to Canada should have made a particular or significant impact in the past year in particular, as related to their achievements highlighted in their nomination.
Rafati’s contributions to Canada?
The 37 year old, Iran born entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of BroadbandTV (BBTV), a digital media and technology company that operates the largest multi-platform network in the world. The company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has 86,000 network partners using its platform and has amassed a whopping 24.4 billion views (impressions) per month. According to CanadianImmigrant, BBTV is the third largest video property in the world — in terms of unique viewers — trailing only Google and Facebook.
This is not the first time that Rafati has been recognized for her accomplishments. In 2011 Fast Company named her as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business and is widely accredited with pioneering both the technology and business model that made peace between big entertainment entities like the NBA and their fans who were uploading premium content to video sites like YouTube. She is also the recipient of the 2016 British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) award, which she earned for her significant contributions to British Columbia’s technology industry.
From Iran To Canada
Rafati grew up Tehran, Iran, to a family of entrepreneurs: “Both my parents and my brother are entrepreneurs.”
In an interview with Digiday she said, “The (Iranian) society does not provide you real choice. If you want to start your own business tomorrow, or go learn something new, it’s so challenging to study what you’re passionate about and be in charge of your life. So I decided to finish high school as quickly as possible, get out and follow my dreams.”
“I left Tehran when I was a teenager and arrived in Vancouver with one suitcase and some very basic English,” she said in an interview with Chatelaine. She decided to study computer science at the University of British Columbia despite her inexperience with technology. “Those first few years were really challenging, but I couldn’t achieve my dreams in Iran.”
It didn’t take her long to pick things up. “I founded BroadbandTV right out of school [in 2005],” according to Rafati. “The online video space was still very new then, and media organizations didn’t understand how to manage their content.”
My passion in life is to be able to help this new generation of content creators, empower them with the right solutions, tools, technologies to be able to succeed
In addition to her work with BBTV, Rafati is the founder of VISO Give, an online YouTube channel that allows viewers to donate to charities by watching videos about them.
You can follow her Twitter account here.
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