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Dr. Golnasim Riahi is “One to Watch” as She Powers Her Online Pharmacy Through the Pandemic and Beyond

By Diane Amato

Published February 20, 2024 • 5 Min Read

Dr. Golnasim Riahi is the single shareholder and only full-time pharmacist at her innovative online company Pharmacie Golnasim Riahi Inc. Opened at the peak of COVID – with no customers, employees or budget – Dr. Riahi has established a thriving business and loyal client base in just three years.

RBC has a long history of celebrating the progress of women and investing in those who create change. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we celebrate women like Dr. Golnasim Riahi – an ambitious and respected young pharmacist who is driven to enhance the health of her community through an innovative business model. RBC is proud to be her financial partner as she powers her company forward.

Faced with discrimination and disrespect from a previous employer, Dr. Golnasim Riahi decided to start her own pharmacy – but with a twist.  Pharmacie Golnasim Riahi is a fully online pharmacy that offers a convenient alternative for patients who prefer not to leave their homes and may find it difficult to reach physicians. The company provides pharmaceutical expertise, knowledgeable advice and free prescription delivery. Her loyal and growing customer base is made up of residents from around Quebec who feel connected and cared for by a specialist who goes the extra mile.

Dr. Riahi was recognized as a 2023 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Ones to Watch Recipient for her capacity to build a thriving business within three years. For more than thirty years, the Awards have recognized and celebrated the strides of Canada’s most accomplished, influential and impactful women. 

“Believe in yourself” – and other advice to entrepreneurs

Dr. Riahi’s road to early success as an entrepreneur included many lessons along the way. She shares actionable advice to others starting or considering this path.

Expand your perspective through diverse experiences

Dr. Riahi draws on both her extensive education and wide range of pastimes to develop capacities for change, innovation, professionalism and problem-solving.

In addition to having earned her PhD in Neuropharmacology from Laval University, a fellowship at Harvard University, two master’s degrees in France as well as a Pharm.D in Iran, she is an active member in dance groups, theatre and literature. “Writing helps me relax and reveal myself. It helps me know myself better,” she explains, which equips her to run her company with vision and clarity. “As a director of a theatre, I develop my management skills for my business,” she adds.

Dr. Riahi is also a world traveler and believes that experiencing different cultures enables her to expand her perspective. “New environments provide new capacity for thought and we learn so many new things from people in other places,” she says.

Hire trusted, supportive people

When Dr. Riahi was set to hire her first employee, she wasn’t sure what she needed from them. As she has grown her business, she acknowledges the importance of finding employees who can support in specific ways and that having employees she can trust is a game changer. “When you know you have experienced, knowledgeable people on your team, you can clear your mind to think strategically about your business.”

Today, Dr. Riahi has five employees and consistently files away CVs of professionals who might address a new need in the future.

Believe in yourself  

Early in her career, Dr. Riahi encountered doubt and skepticism regarding her abilities and knowledge. Her ideas and convictions were often challenged by others. But she never doubted herself, confident in her training and education. “When you believe in yourself, you just go on. If everyone around says you can’t do it, try to close your eyes and just listen to your heart. It says you can try your best and you will have the results you deserve.”

Dr. Riahi is also grateful to RBC for believing in her. “RBC accepted my business plan and financed the beginning of the project. RBC accelerated my dreams so they could come true faster.”

A future to watch

When asked about her future, Dr. Riahi shares her company’s recent move to a new building to better serve her customers’ needs. While it’s her intention to stay online, she is committed to seeing what the community needs from her. “I want to make the company bigger and more efficient to meet the more complex medical needs of our patients,” she says. “We may add a laboratory and a physician – in the future I hope to offer a full service to patients.” On a personal level, she is also excited to be working on a series of short stories that she hopes to collect in a novel.

Dr. Riahi’s diverse experiences, perseverance, knowledge and self-belief will undoubtedly enable her to continue growing her thriving business and live a fulfilling life where her many dreams can come true.

Discover more inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs making a difference to our economy, communities, and planet.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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