15 questions to ...
15 Questions to … is a new interview series dedicated to spotlighting women in entrepreneurship. Women entrepreneurs question the status quo and lead change. They push boundaries and leave their marks on all aspects of (entrepreneurial) life. As such, they are strong role models who inspire and empower future generations of women and deserve to be seen and heard. We see women entrepreneurs in all areas of our community and want to make sure they are recognised far beyond the RWTH Aachen University ecosystem.
Therefore, we are leaving the stage to hear what they have to say. The format is simple: 15 questions, 15 answers – and lots of (un)learning throughout. Our guests: women entrepreneurs with that special can-do and will-do attitude. The stage is yours!
Sahar Nassirpour is CEO and co-founder of MR Shim, a young MedTech company that develops add-on devices for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, which recover the image around implants and substantially improve multi-parametric MRI applications. In 2018, after finishing her studies, Sahar founded MR Shim. Earlier this year, the team from Reutlingen started a new chapter as one of 12 start-ups in Batch 2 of our RWTH Incubation Program in order to refine their business model and plan the next steps. The goal is clear: With its range of innovative solutions for MRI scanners, the start-up aims to leverage industry 4.0 technology in human and animal applications. Now, Sahar sat down to tell us about her journey as an entrepreneur.
1) Why my idea is going to change the world:
At MR Shim we want to rethink how MRIs are done and we aim to take MRI diagnostics to the next level. Our hope is to contribute to the healthcare system and make a permanent mark on MRI machines all over the world. I believe if you want to change the world, start small and embrace the long and grinding journey. So that is what we have been focusing on at MR Shim!
2) Did I choose it or did it choose me?
I have been excited about medical imaging and optimising the associated processes for a long time. Through years of working in this field, I have been gathering first-hand experiences that helped spark the idea to start the company. So even though I definitely chose the start-up route myself, given my passion for the field I do not think I could have chosen anything else!
3) Biggest challenge on my entrepreneurial journey so far:
Transforming a part of the world from its status quo into an imagined reality! When you introduce a new idea like this, there is always going to be uncertainty. Learning to accept this uncertainty is very challenging and requires a lot of mental strength.
4) Lessons I have learned as a founder:
Founding a start-up has been like a crash course on all aspects of operating a business such as business and financial planning, and marketing! But I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is how to accept uncertainty, take calculated risks, learn to be ok with not knowing what you cannot possibly know and keep on going despite all that.
5) I financed myself …
through a combination of self-financing, funding through innovation funding mechanisms and investors.
6) 5 years from now we will …
have made MRIs more accessible and more inclusive, bringing value for all stakeholders.
7) If I weren’t a founder, I would be …
probably still active in the MedTech industry.
8) What do I need to be a successful entrepreneur?
I assume every entrepreneur's point of origin is hope and passion. But in addition to that, I believe in order to be a successful one, you need to have thick skin and grit! The ability to get up and continue even when there are reasons every day to discourage you from doing so.
9) RWTH Innovation helped me with/through ...
RWTH Innovation has been like a fountain of expert knowledge and lessons for us. In addition to that, the mentoring and coaching relationships have really given us a fresh outlook on certain aspects of our business. Finally, being surrounded by other founders has been a blessing too! It helps me get inspired and deal with challenges when I know I am not alone in this.
10) Is there anything more that could be done for entrepreneurs in Aachen?
I think the only thing that I would have loved to have more of is face-to-face networking events, but this is really something that was affected by the Covid crisis and therefore very particular to our batch.
11) 3 reasons to become an entrepreneur:
- To finally begin taking action on that creative idea or passion you have always had and making it a reality.
- To expand your range of experiences and live a richer life, especially if you are really passionate about learning.
- To see a change in the world!
12) To me being an entrepreneur means …
that you are the storyteller of your own life having more control to determine the chapters of this story than ever before.
13) My favourite digital tool:
Zoom – for the second consecutive year!
14) I am inspired by/my role model is ...
I am and will forever be inspired by people who are extremely passionate about their work. People who, regardless of what they do or what position they have, speak about their work in a way that inspires and motivates me to keep on doing what I am passionate about.
15) My advice to women who aspire to be entrepreneurs:
Be sure to ask and get help whenever you need to. Surround yourself with like-minded founders and entrepreneurs who will make this journey a little easier!