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ApplyBoard wins Governor General’s Innovation Award

Kitchener-based ApplyBoard has won a prestigious Governor General’s Innovation Award for its international student-recruitment platform, which has assisted more than 300,000 students around the world in their pursuit of high school and post-secondary education.

"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," the citation says.

“ApplyBoard is very grateful for this recognition, which solidifies the importance of our mission to educate the world,” said co-founder and CEO Martin Basiri. “This award is a testament to our entire global team, and also thanks to students, schools and recruitment partners who have joined us in our mission."

Launched in 2015, ApplyBoard strives to break down barriers for international students searching for the right programs and institutions to advance their education.

The company was founded by Basiri and his two brothers, Massi and Meti, all of whom travelled to Waterloo Region from Iran for their post-secondary education. Based on their own experiences, they saw an opportunity to streamline the search, application and acceptance processes for students wanting to pursue their high school and post-secondary education in a foreign country.

Applyboard has grown rapidly in just seven years. It has raised more than CDN$600 million and is valued at CDN$4 billion. From its headquarters in Kitchener, it employs 1,500 people worldwide and has helped more than 300,000 students in 125 countries pursue international education, the company says.

In its early stages, ApplyBoard tapped into support from the University of Waterloo’s Velocity program, Communitech’s Rev accelerator and two programs at Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre.

“We are absolutely thrilled for Martin and everyone at ApplyBoard,” said Communitech CEO Chris Albinson. “They are role models for founders who aspire to build international success stories through a tech-for-good mission.”

ApplyBoard was nominated for the award by Canada's Tech Network, of which Communitech is a member.

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards are bestowed on individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations are “truly exceptional, transformative and positive in their impact on quality of life in Canada.”

The awards are intended to recognize outstanding achievement and “foster an active culture that celebrates innovation that is having a meaningful impact on our lives.

Six innovation awards were handed out today. In addition to ApplyBoard, other recipients include: BrainBoxAI of Montreal; CarbonCure of Halifax; the National Centre for Audiology at Western University; UBC cancer researchers Pieter Cullis, Michael Hope and Thomas Madden; and the Pirurvik Preschool in Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet, NU), for its early childhood education initiative.

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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