At age 29, Basma Hameed has already been interviewed by CNN, The Doctors Show and Vogue as well as given a TEDx talk for her medical breakthrough. She pioneered cutting-edge camouflage treatments for the skin first for herself, and then for other patients with discolourations caused by burns, surgical scars and other medical marks at Basma Hameed Clinic in Toronto.
Her business grew out of years of a personal struggle to hide her own scars that were the result of a tragic accident when she was just two years old.
FROM THE JUDGES
An incredible example of turning a personal need into a scalable business. Her plan to open more clinics shows business maturity and a willingness to take entrepreneurial risk.
“I was playing in the kitchen with my older brother. He wanted to surprise my parents by cooking them dinner when he tripped, causing oil from a hot pan to spill down half of my face,” she recalls. “After more than 100 surgeries, I was left with discolouration. My doctors told me that I would have to live with it, that I had no more recourse.”
But like so many successful entrepreneurs she endured hearing the word “No”. She got her hands on as much literature as she could about repairing skin blemishes, most of it around innovative tattoo techniques, and discovered a way for micropigments to survive in scar tissue. But plastic surgeons and estheticians were unwilling to work on her face because of liability fears.
Undeterred, she enrolled at George Brown College and began treating her own face. “By the time I graduated at age 20 with a certificate as an advanced esthetician, I had by myself totally erased all the damage to my face,” she says.
Hameed initially provided her services on a freelance basis before saving enough capital to open the clinic, which attracts a truly global clientele. Fifty percent of her clients come from outside Canada, many of those from the U.S., the U.K., Western Europe and China. Now she plans to expand the clinic by establishing locations in Miami and Los Angeles later this year. “My career started off with a lot of obstacles including my young age that sometimes seemed insurmountable,” says Hameed. “I’m proof that with a great vision and determination you can win an uphill battle.”