For the entrepreneurial and successful Generation Z-ers and millennials, there is no higher recognition than the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
What makes the 2021 list even more special is that Forbes is celebrating a decade of excellence publishing the list year after year in North America, Europe and Asia. Also noteworthy, the distinguished individuals inducted into the list have all thrived during one of the most challenging times in recent history.
600 young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers are featured in the 10th Annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list, while 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers make up the Asian chapter. And among all these brilliant brains are 7 Malaysians who have made an impact in their respective industry by driving social changes and displaying a relentless spirit in pursuit of excellence. Three of our 40 Under 40 alums were inducted into this year’s list and we couldn’t be prouder.
Tharma Pillai and Qyira Yusri from Undi 18 were included in the Social Impact category for their tireless campaigning to lower the voting age to 18 and to push for stronger youth representation in politics. They started the social enterprise in 2016, in which Qyira and Tharma serve as education director and advocacy director respectively. The dynamic duo that were both from our 2019 edition of 40 Under 40 continue to raise their voices for the cause they believe in.
“Last year, Undi18 organised Parlimen Digital, a youth-led virtual parliamentary sitting to propose recommendations for economic and Covid-19 relief in Malaysia, the first of its kind in the world, which attracted 500,000 livestream views,” Forbes said in a statement.
Fresh out of the much talked about Time cover with Red Hong Yi, our 2020 Top 40 alumna Annice Lyn hits another high with this recognition from Forbes. The co-founder of Women Photographers Malaysia shared in a previous interview with Prestige how when she became the first and only female photographer based in Malaysia to be accredited for the 2018 Winter Olympics, she noticed there are still significant shortcomings of gender equality especially when it comes to women’s visibility.
And this is also the main reason why Forbes felt she was the right pick for The Arts category in the list. The outfit she founded in 2020 continues to promote gender equality in the industry and support female photographers through workshops and meet-ups. “The group has roughly 2,000 Instagram followers and more than 1,200 Facebook likes,” it said during press time.
Also in The Arts category, Kevin Wu (founder of edible insect startup Ento) who farms crickets because it is more sustainable to farm these insects compared to livestock. Wu also runs his own law firm and Furniture Outlet Centre.
The other three Malaysians who also qualified into this year’s list are Tan Guan Sheng (founder of creative social media influencer platform – Ittify), Jaz Lee (creative director – Ogilvy and Ong Yong Xun (founder of free study app – JomStudy). Both Tan and Lee found themselves shoulder to shoulder in the Media, Marketing and Advertising category while 20-year-old Ong represents Consumer Technology.
While finding ways to get noticed by brands as a YouTube content creator, Tan launched Ittify in 2015 and it now boasts a network of over 6,000 influencers who are benefiting from its main function of matching these influencers with brands while also analysing results from ad campaigns. The startup was acquired by iMedia last year, but Tan remained as its chief executive. Lee, a former professional footballer, was 19 when he started working as a junior copywriter for Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur. The 25-year-old has worked on ad projects for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Early last year, Ong learned to code by just watching YouTube videos and in June he released JomStudy just in time to help students who were all on full-on e-learning mode by providing revision notes from high school graduates. He’s planning to include videos and quizzes in his app soon.
40 Under 40 was first introduced in 2005 to identify young and dynamic Malaysians below the age 40 who have demonstrated vision, determination, persistence and excellence in their respective field. Over the years we have honoured captain of industries, leaders of enterprises and paragons of influence in our country; and last year, for the first time, we had an all-women list. If you know of anyone who fits the bill, send us your nominations at email@example.com