Dr. Iyad Al-Qishawi

Top 40 Under 40 2016

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 37

Job Title: Co-owner, Smiles Dental Group; Owner/CEO Paramount Fine Foods (Alberta)

Why He’s a Top 40: He co-owns an Alberta dental group worth $8.5 million (with Top 40 alumnus Alexander Yeh) and brought a successful halal restaurant chain to Alberta in 2016.

Aspiration: “I don’t look at it as what’s left or not left. You keep progressing as if you’re living forever and plan for your retirement only when you have to.”

When Iyad Al-Qishawi enrolled in dentistry school, he was more concerned with pearly whites than the green stuff. That changed later when a former classmate and friend, Alexander Yeh, approached him about going into business together.

Their first attempt – a clinic in Sherwood Park – went belly up after a contractor failed to finish the project and they lost their $60,000 investment. “We really were victims of the boom,” says Al-Qishawi. Undeterred, they executed Plan B; buying a clinic from a retiring dentist. They sent out letters across the Edmonton area and got a bite from a dentist with an ailing clinic in Spruce Grove.

They named that first clinic Smiles Dental Group and turned things around within the year with aggressive marketing, good customer service and by working around the clock. Excited by their success, they bought up dental practices in St. Albert, Sherwood Park and Edmonton. They established one of Edmonton’s first emergency dental clinics. The business continues to expand and will soon include the first private dental clinic at the University of Alberta. The duo are also rehabbing the Inglewood Professional Centre on 118th Avenue, where they plan to open a non-profit clinic for low-income Edmontonians. Less than a decade since its inception, Smiles Dental Group is worth about $8.5 million.

As if a multi-clinic dental company wasn’t enough to chew on, Al-Qishawi brought a Middle Eastern restaurant chain (Paramount Foods) Alberta earlier this year.

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