Forbes 30 Under 30: 7 Malaysians Honoured On Latest List
Forbes has announced its 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2021, featuring over 300 Millennials and Gen Zs who have persevered and thrived in realizing the new normal despite long lockdowns, restricted travel, and uncertainties on all fronts due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Most continued to grow their businesses and adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, while a few have even dared to start their ventures in the middle of a crisis, spotting opportunities where others see obstacles,” it said in a statement.
Out of the 300 carefully selected from over 2,500 nominations and vetted by Forbes’ team of reporters and a panel of A-list judges are seven trailblazing young Malaysians, honoured for their unparalleled examples of determination, hard work, and innovation.
Kevin Wu, Ento
Kevin Wu is the founder of Ento, a food-tech startup that aims to be the next Beyond Meat for insect protein. Founded in 2018, Ento farms crickets to make products to be consumed by humans such as roasted crickets in various flavours like salted egg, kimchi, and Texas barbeque, and cookies made with cricket powder.
“Indoor insect farming produces a more stable supply chain. It also requires less feed, water and land while emitting far fewer greenhouse gasses compared to traditional livestock methods. Not to mention that our products contain neither antibiotics nor steroids,” Wu said in an interview with Tatler Malaysia.
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In October 2020, Ento graduated from Malaysian conglomerate Sunway's accelerator programme, called Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator. Wu also leads his own law firm, Kevin Wu & Associates, and a Scandinavian-style furniture startup called Furniture Outlet Centre.
Tharma Pillai and Qyira Yusri, Undi18
Despite having no political background and connections, Tharma Pillai and Qyira Yusri founded Undi18 to promote youth-centric agenda and democratic reforms.
What started out as a student movement paved the way for a Malaysian constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years old, the first time in history where a constitutional amendment received 100 per cent of votes in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. This created eight million new voters (about 25 per cent of Malaysia's population).
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It continues to promote youth representation in politics as a social enterprise, with the aim to bridge the gap between politicians, policymakers, and youth.
Tan Guan Sheng, Ittify
As a YouTube content creator himself, Tan Guan Cheng identified that the odds of making money while doing what he loves are stacked against him. Tan, otherwise known as guanyguantv, launched Ittify in 2015 to solve the dilemma of micro-influencers like himself not getting noticed by brands.
To date, the startup has built a network of more than 6,000 influencers of different tiers, and also developed software to match them with brands and analyse results from advertising campaigns.
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Ittify was acquired last year by Malaysian digital media group iMedia, but Tan stayed on as chief executive.
Ong Yong Xun, JomStudy
In 2020, Ong Yong Xun created JomStudy app, a free study app that aims to make revising and learning easier for Form Four and Form Five students by providing revision notes from high school graduates. Its release was very timely as it was at the brink of schools in Malaysia shutting due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Within the first four months of its release, JomStudy clocked over 10,000 downloads.
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Ong plans to expand its list of study aids to include videos and end-of-chapter quizzes in the second half of the year. The app can be downloaded for free on PlayStore and AppStore.
Annice Lyn, Women Photogaphers Malaysia
When former national figure skater Annice Lyn saw how male-dominated the photography industry was when she covered the 2018 Winter Olympics, it drove her to want to create a safe space for female photographers. She co-founded Women Photographers Malaysia in 2020 to promote gender equality in the industry and support female photographers through workshops and meet-ups
"I've had my share of verbal harassments in this industry, but I would keep it to myself and often felt disconnected from other female photographers who may have been experiencing the same thing. My cofounders and I—many of whom didn't actually meet in person until after the MCO–wanted to make sure the community was strong, no matter what," she told Tatler Malaysia.
See also: Former National Figure Skater Turned Photographer Annice Lyn On Lessons From Behind The Lens
To date, the group has more than 2,100 Instagram followers and more than 1,200 Facebook likes.
Jaz Lee, Ogilvy
Ogilvy creative director Jaz Lee had initially wanted to become a professional footballer but instead took the advertising route after watching an episode of Mad Men, a decision that nudged his career along to greatness, and fast. At 19, he worked as a junior copywriter for Leo Burnett in Kuala Lumpur and was promoted to associate creative director in 2019. He left to join Ogilvy as creative director in the same year.
"‘No one remembers second place.’ My brother told me that right after I won my first Silver at an award show. What started as a playful insult eventually became the fire that drives me to do the best possible work I can every single day. Because no one remembers second best," Lee said of his personal mantra.
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He has since led major advertising projects for some of the world's biggest brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Samsung.