7 Filipinos in Forbes' 30 under 30 list

Published May 26, 2022, 2:22 PM

by James A. Loyola

Seven young Filipino achievers were included in Forbes’ seventh annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list (https://www.forbes.com/30-under-30/2022/asia/) which features 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across the Asia-Pacific region.

All under the age of 30, those in the list are inspiring change and driving innovation in their respective fields amid the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Filipinos in the 2021 list are Edward Christopher Dee, Angela Chen and Aurelien Chu, Rexy Josh Dorado, Ryan Gersava, Guendoline Viray Gomez, Gab Mejia, and Carmina Bayombong.

Graduating this year from Harvard Medical School, Dee studies at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute how to deliver better care to disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and the Philippines. Last year, he served on the Philippines’ Covid-19 task force, which used social media to combat fake news about the virus.

Chen and Chu are the founders of Eskwelabs, an edtech startup based in Manila that provides online courses on data science and analytics to help people in underserved communities in the Philippines, such as stay-at-home moms and young people without university degrees, find better work in the digital age.

Dorado is a co-founder of Kumu, one of the top-grossing social media apps in the Philippines with more than 6 million registered users. So far, Kumu raised more than $8 million, including $5 million in March 2020 led by Singapore-based Openspace Ventures.

Gersava founded Virtualahan to break down employment barriers for stigmatized people, including those with disabilities and recovering drug addicts, by providing digital-focused job-skills training for roles that can be done remotely.

At Coachella 2019, Gomez, whose stage name is No Rome, performed with English pop rock band The 1975, making him the first Filipino artist to play at the influential music festival.

Photographer Mejia’s work, which also includes art and articles, focuses on raising awareness about the environment, particularly the wetlands, endangered wildlife and indigenous communities. His work has been featured on National Geographic, United Nations Development Programme and World Wide Fund for Nature.

Bayombong cofounded InvestED in 2016 to provide educational loans to students. The startup has its own credit rating and risk-control algorithm for lending to financially disadvantaged youth in the Philippines.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2022 features 30 notable honorees selected for each of the 10 categories, including The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink); Entertainment & Sports; Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & Ecommerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science; Social Impact and Consumer Technology.

Among those featured on this year’s list is the No. 1 female golfer in the world Jin Young Ko from South Korea; Chinese Olympic gold-medalist skier Eileen Gu; Australian Max Shand who is founder of Serenade, a music NFT marketplace; Loh Kean Yew, the first Singaporean to be crowned badminton world champion; China’s Zhang Zihao, cofounder of plant milk beverages company Plantag; Rashid Khan, cofounder of India-based conversational AI company Yellow.AI; Japanese skateboarder Sakura Yosozumi and Singapore’s Ng Ming Wei, one of Southeast Asia’s most popular TikTok creators and founder of Boom Digital Media among others.

Rana Wehbe Watson, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Editor, said “Entrepreneurs and innovators on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list are working towards reconnecting Asia, after the disruption and isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic.” “From innovative ways of delivering e-commerce and online learning services to venturing into the Web3 space, they provide a glimpse into what the region’s future may look like,” Watson added.

The 2022 list features a diverse set of 30 Under 30 honorees, with 22 countries and territories represented across the Asia-Pacific region.

Selected from over 4,000 nominations, a record number for the Asia list, researched by Forbes journalists from across the region and vetted by industry veterans, this select group of relentless individuals are disrupting industries and tackling major global issues.

The criteria for honorees making the list include their demonstration of leadership, how they embody the entrepreneurial spirit that is synonymous with Forbes, and their potential of success in their industry.

Other factors like innovation, disruption – and size and growth of their ventures in some categories – play a role in making the final decision.