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Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019: Meet The Region’s Brightest Young Entrepreneurs And Innovators

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Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 list honorees (from left to right): Rashmi Kwatra, founder of Sixteenth Street Capital; Richard Yim, cofounder of Demine Robotics; Manuri Gunawardena, founder of HealthMatch; Kenny Wong, COO of igloohome; Hussain Elius, cofounder of Pathao.

For the fourth year in a row, our team at Forbes Asia has been scouting the Asia-Pacific region in search for 300 outstanding individuals to highlight in the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list.

Across 10 industries, young entrepreneurs and rising stars have been selected from 23 countries and territories to make up this year’s list. Honorees from as far as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Laos have landed spots on the list for the first time – making the 2019 list even more inclusive and diverse.

If you think millennials and Gen-Z are just building businesses for the short-term gain, think again. This year, it was particularly interesting to note that many of these innovators are not just driving change in the region – but working towards cementing its positive effect in the long run, especially in developing and emerging markets.

From using technology to better their sectors, to helping SMEs thrive through sustainable options when it comes to food and energy – some have been working on innovative solutions to solve problems while building successful businesses at the same time.

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Take 25-year-old Manuri Gunawardena, founder and CEO of HealthMatch for instance. As a medical student at the University of New South, Gunawardena experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding patients to participate in trials for potentially lifesaving treatments. She also noticed there was no convenient way for patients to search for alternative treatments for their conditions. It was then, in early 2017, that she decided to play matchmaker and her startup HealthMatch was born.

Launched in Australia earlier this year, the Sydney-based startup applies machine learning to clinical data to help researchers and pharmaceutical companies find patients suitable for their studies—and vice versa. “We are automating access to clinical trials globally and dramatically improving the future of healthcare by lowering barriers to research and development,” says Gunawardena.

Another 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 list honoree employing technology to solve a problem and potentially save lives is Richard Yim, cofounder of Demine Robotics from Cambodia.

The 25-year-old social entrepreneur started Demine Robotics with the hope that his creation – Jevit, the world’s first remote-controlled robot can lift a landmine out of the ground without detonating it — will help others avoid the fate of his aunt, who died of a landmine explosion over a decade ago when he was growing up in Cambodia.

While the company focuses on Cambodia’s own underground bomb challenge where more than 64,000 casualties have been recorded since 1979, Yim hopes to eventually deploy Jevit to other conflict areas, such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Iraq.

“I truly believe in building a business that will change the world for the better,” he tells Forbes Asia.

Working Towards Sustainability

Other stars on the list have been concerned with issues such as climate change and actively tackling that by introducing alternative ideas and solutions to reduce harmful impact on our planet.

28-year-old chef Anahita Dhondy who runs New Delhi-based Parsi restaurant SodaBottleOpenerWala, promotes the various types of Indian millets, which are nutritious and inexpensive homegrown grains, in dishes in the restaurant and in recipes posted on social media.

Clean energy entrepreneurs also made this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list. Mongolia’s Orchlon Enkhtsetseg, CEO of Clean Energy Asia, an energy startup, raised $128 million to build its first 50MW wind farm in the country’s Gobi desert while Yashraj Khaitan, founder of solar power startup Gram Power, uses smart grid technology to address the widespread energy shortages in India.

Methodology and judging process

Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list undergoes a rigorous process to pull together. Starting with over 2000 online nominations, our team researchers, fact-checks and selects an initial shortlist of 500 semi-finalists who then get vetted by a lineup of A-list judges and industry experts. The final 300 get selected afterwards taking into consideration criteria such as demonstration of leadership, impact, potential of success and the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit, synonymous with Forbes. Other factors like innovation, disruption – and size and growth of their ventures in some categories – play a role in making the final decision.

This year’s judges includes accomplished and acclaimed entrepreneurs and business leaders such as Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten; JP Gan, Managing Partner at Qiming Venture Partners; Noni Purnomo, President Director of Blue Bird Group Holding; Kaifu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures; Kishore Lulla, Philanthropist and Chairman of Eros International; Changpeng (CZ) Zhao, CEO of Binance; Falguni Nayar, Founder of Nykaa.com ; Patrick Grove, Cofounder and Group CEO of Catcha Group and 30 Under 30 Asia list alumnus, tennis superstar Kei Nishikori.

The birthday cutoff to make the 2019 list was December 31, 1988.

Credits:

List and Project Editor Rana Wehbe

Reporting  and research: Pamela Ambler, Ambika Behal, Elaine Ramirez, Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin, James C. Simms II, Yue Wang, Ian Christopher Wong, David Yin

Editorial interns: Lan Yunsi, Tracy Qu, Jisu Song

Photography: Thierry Coulon (Liu Liyuan & Liao Wenlong), K M Asad (Hussain Elius), Abishek Bali (Anahita Dhondy), Hu Ke (Neo Nie), Jing Wei (Rashmi Kwatra, Manuri Gunawardena, Kenny Wang), Antoine Raab (Richard Yim), Winston Gomez (Steven Wongsoredjo), Franco Origlia/Getty Images (Naomi Osaka)

Senior Photo Editor: Merrilee Barton

Graphics: Luke Kelly

Design: Joy Hwang

Project Manager: Justin Conklin

Associate Product Owner: Grant Tunkel

Data Management: Dmitri Slavinsky

Manager, Software Engineering: Chuck Rea

Software Engineer: Ken Barney

Junior Engineer: Christopher De Leon

I joined Forbes as a senior editor in October 2015 to kickstart the Under 30 franchise in Asia.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ranawehbe/2019/04/01/forbes-30-under-30-asia-2019-meet-the-regions-brightest-young-entrepreneurs-and-innovators/#5298784e5923

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A Few Thoughts For Entrepreneurs Wrestling With Depression – Chris Myers

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This has been a hard week for those of us who care deeply about depression and the people who wrestle with it.

Both entrepreneur/designer Kate Spade and chef/TV personality Anthony Bourdain took their own lives this week, leaving many to wonder why people who seemed to have it all would go to such lengths.

If I’ve learned anything during my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that people who have ambition, vision, and big dreams tend to suffer from what author Nassir Ghaemi calls “A first-rate madness.” The genius is often offset by battles with personal demons.

That there is a link between creativity and mental illness is known to some extent, details regarding that link are mostly unknown.

Entrepreneurs are, if nothing else, creators. They thrive on the unknown and live to create something out of nothing. With that drive, however, comes an increased risk of depression and mental illness.

While I don’t claim to know precisely what happened in these particular cases, I do know that the stresses of living a high-profile, creative, or entrepreneurial can take their toll on people, both physically and emotionally.

I want to be very clear about one thing. I don’t have all the answers. Like everyone else, I’m just trying to find my way in a complicated and challenging world.

I have, however, learned a few things along my personal entrepreneurial and creative journey that have helped me navigate challenging situations, particularly in regards to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Let’s be honest about the difference between mental illness and circumstance

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is that there is a stark difference between mental illness and the shared human response to challenging circumstances with which we are forced to deal.

For so long there was a stigma associated with mental illness, and people were afraid to entertain the idea that they might be suffering from its effects. Fortunately, this stigma is starting to give way to a more honest and understanding view of the matter. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, you have to ask yourself “Have I suffered from panic, anxiety, or depression my whole life, or is this something new?”

If you find that your feelings and sufferings are part of a larger pattern, please don’t be afraid to talk to a medical professional.

In many cases, anxiety and other symptoms are biological. No matter what you try to do, or how you try to cope, you won’t be able to run away from the underlying biological problem. There are, fortunately, solutions and treatments out there that can help.

If what you’re experiencing is relatively new for you, there’s a reasonable chance that it is mostly circumstantial. This is where I can offer some insight, having dealt with this type of emotional stress firsthand.

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Keep things in perspective

A few years ago, Business Insider published a great article about the depression epidemic in the startup community. According to the article, only 7% of the general population report suffering from depression, but a whopping 30% of founders report dealing with its effects.

That statistic is staggering but entirely believable.

Entrepreneurship is an intensely personal journey, and it’s incredibly difficult to separate your identity from the business that you’re trying to create. Soon, business setbacks (of which there are many) seem like personal setbacks, and depression can quickly take root.

The key is always to strive to keep things in perspective. Life, like business, is a journey full of ups and downs.

When talking to entrepreneurs and other creatives going through tough times, I often encourage them to think back to high school. For most of us, there were moments in our high school lives that seemed to be monumentally crucial that in retrospect seem childish.

At the time, of course, the pain and anxiety that you experienced were real and raw. However, the more distance you gain from the situation, the less painful it becomes.

While the problems that you’re facing right here and right now may seem insurmountable, it’s important to realize these too will pass and fade in time.

Entrepreneurs have to accept the fact that the odds are stacked against their success. Most new business ventures fail, and even those that are eventually successful take a long time to get off the ground.

Setbacks will outnumber successes, and there’s a good chance that most days will be stressful. That’s the game we chose to play and the ability to embrace these realities is what makes us entrepreneurs.

Still, when challenges pile up, it’s easy to feel like the world is ending and that we’re failures. I recently had lunch with a good friend who was in the process of shuttering his third startup in seven years.

During our conversation, I reminded him that in his brief career to date, he’s accomplished more than the vast majority of people do in decades.

His pedigree and experience put him in the top one percent of people in his age group, and, as a result, his opportunities are vast. Sure, the latest venture didn’t work out, but he can and will live to fight another day.

Wherever you’re at this point in your life, there is an excellent chance that your current endeavor will not be your last. In fact, many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world hit their stride on the second or third attempt.

Consider the case of Mark Cuban. Before he struck it big by selling his business to Yahoo, Cuban had a string of failures.  After failing as a cook, carpenter, and even a waiter he remarked, “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”

The lesson here is that there are second (and third and fourth) acts in life, and it’s important to remember that whenever you encounter failure.

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Don’t be afraid to get help

I’m fortunate in the sense that I have a fantastic support network I can call on when I need help. My family and friends are always there when I need them, whether it’s to listen to my struggles or to lend a hand.

Not everyone is as lucky. Entrepreneurs need to be able to reach out and get help when they need it. This can be difficult in a world where everyone feels the need to be “crushing it” all the time. Asking for help can be seen as a sign of weakness, which leads to people merely keeping their difficulties to themselves.

We in the entrepreneurial and creative communities need to change this mentality. People should feel free to get help without the fear of judgment, and it’s going to take a few strong influencers to initiate the change.

I know a few people in the industry who care about this deeply, including Structure Capital (a team of high-profile venture investors based out of San Francisco), but more are needed. There are good people out there who want to help. It’s just a matter of having the courage to reach out.

There will be bumps, setbacks, and even catastrophic failures on any worthwhile journey, but remember that you’re not alone. Keep your challenges in perspective and live to fight another day.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

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