Forbes’ 30 Under 30 In Asia
It’s undeniable — Singapore is rising up the ranks and gaining more recognition for its successes. It’s pretty cool that countries like the United States look up to our healthcare system and elder care, and even Malaysia wants to replicate our city and its lifestyle. Naturally, there are people to thank for as Singapore’s burgeoning reputation. And no, we’re not talking about the Big G.
Recently, Forbes magazine released their famous 30 Under 30 Asia list. This list honours 300 of Asia’s “brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers” that remind us why millennials are the future.
In the list there’s a significantly larger pool of Singaporeans compared with last year, which is something worth celebrating.
Here are some young Singaporeans featured in the 30 Under 30 list that dispel the impression that Singapore just produces study robots. In fact, we’re a pretty legit generation:
1. Joseph Schooling (Olympic Gold Medallist)
Bet you didn’t see this one coming — not.
To all those who have been living in a so-far unused Downtown Line 3 tunnel since last August, our proud Olympic athlete made headlines for clinching Singapore’s first-ever gold medal at the tender age of 21.
In the process, he shook up the global swimming scene, previously dominated by Michael Phelps. There’s a new kid in town.
2. Val Yap (PolicyPal)
With a plethora of insurance products on the market, it’s definitely a hassle to keep organised. This is where 29-year-old Val Yap took matters into her hands.
She created PolicyPal, a free app that helps customers collate their insurance coverage.
Not only did she work incredibly hard to get where she is now (all in one year), she actually quit her job as assistant vice-president at OCBC Bank in order to pursue this project.
3/4. Karl Mak & Adrian Ang (SGAG)
You may have seen their hilarious memes over social media and wondered who were the geniuses who came up with them. Well, now you know.
These accidental entrepreneurs, both 29 years old, made SGAG a real part of every Singaporean youth’s culture, and that’s something to be commended for.
It’s definitely hard to keep 3 million avid readers intrigued since 2012, but these guys did it from right from their university campus, even before graduating.
5/6. Christopher Hwang & Jonathan Shen (The Golden Duck)
If you visit convenience stores often for snacks, you would have probably seen these yummy chips on the shelves.
One may say that The Golden Duck founders Christopher Hwang, 26, and Jonathan Shen, 27, hopped on the salted egg yolk bandwagon, but their salted egg yolk-flavoured chips gives people a taste of lucious salted egg yolk anywhere and everywhere, and don’t have to be cooked first.
Not only do their chips taste good, they also sell well outside of Asia.
According to Forbes, the Golden Duck Co. sells an average of 10,000 packets of snacks per week.
7. Nicolas Travis (Allies Of Skin)
Because of his struggle with acne as a teenager, 29-year-old Mr Travis started his own skincare line, Allies Of Skin, to help others who faced the same problems as he did.
This, despite the skincare industry being dominated by females whom you would think better understand women’s skin woes.
Mr Travis quit his job in public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather and began making his own formulas from scratch. Today, his products are being sold worldwide by major retailers.
8/9/10. Joanne Paranjothy, Rebecca Paranjothy & Vanessa Paranjothy (Freedom Cups)
Sanitary products are not cheap, period. And women in less developed countries rarely have a chance to use these products.
Luckily, the three sisters (Joanne, 25, Rebecca, 20, and Vanessa, 28) created Freedom Cups — menstrual cups that are environmentally friendly to boot.
Women in areas with no toilets, electricity or running water would find these cups handy, and they can last up to 15 years — making them a big money saver and reducer of sanitary waste.
They even initiated a “buy one, give one” product policy so women in unprivileged communities would have a chance to get their cups, sparking a revolution that has already reached several countries.
11. John Ho (NUS)
Don’t be fooled by his youthful appearance.
28-year-old John Ho is already an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he does research on bioelectronics — the combination of biology and electronics.
Prof Ho’s breakthroughs in cardiac pacing and optogenetics may one day remove the need for pills, substituting them with wireless devices instead.
12. Jon Lin Shiyang (mClinica)
Mr Jon Lin, 28, helped found healthcare technology company, mClinica, that develops mobile tech to “unify previously unavailable data from pharmacies across the markets”.
The company recently raised up to $6.3 million to expand its global operations.
13. Prusothman Sina Raja (Privi Medical)
The ambitious 29-year-old created a startup, Privi Medical, that creates medical devices for haemorrhoid sufferers that are disposable and can be used at home.
His work is groundbreaking because his devices are drug-free nature and can be used by pregnant women.
14/15/16. Oswald Yeo, Looi Qin En & Seah Ying Cong (Glints)
These three young men (Mr Looi is 23, the others are 24) prove that you don’t need to go to a good university to succeed in life — if you can be an entrepreneur.
Just like Steve Jobs, this trio dropped out of Ivy League schools — specifically Wharton (Mr Yeo), Stanford (Mr Seah) and Berkeley (Mr Looi) — to create Glints.
Fittingly, Glints is a platform aimed at helping young people (like themselves) discover careers.
Today, it has a steady 20% monthly growth rate, far better than anyone would expect.
Young Singaporeans Can Make It
It’s amazing to witness people in their 20s already hitting their lifetime career goals, effecting change for future generations and making tons of moolah while they’re at it.
This just shows that Singaporeans can make big contributions despite coming from a tiny country.
Here’s to not underestimating our talents and abilities anymore. We have far more potential than that.