The Award honours five young leaders –aged 35 and under – who have been judged on the positive social impact of their business ventures and how they are transforming the way we work, learn, live and eat.
Silas Adekunle is the CEO of Reach Robotics - a consumer robotics company, which he started at the University of West England, Bristol.
Catherine Mahugu from Kenya also made the 2019 One Young World award list.
Catherine is the founder of Chiswara, an agri-tech venture that partners with coffee farmers to sell Kenyan coffee to the international market and Soko, an ethical fashion brand that supports artisans in emerging economies.
In August 2018, the 28-year-old Nigerian-born gamer told Business Insider SSA by Pulse “technology has huge potential within STEM education - both as a teaching aid and as a means to inspire the next generation - whatever their backgrounds - to aspire to a career in STEM."
“I'm also very aware of the value of role models in encouraging young people to pursue a career in STEM. I hope that I might be a positive example of what is possible for kids in Nigeria with the same passion for dissecting technology and developing devices that I did at their age,” he told BISSA in an interview.
Marisa Drew, Judge and CEO of the Impact Advisory and Finance (IAF) Department of Credit Suisse, said, “It has been such an inspiration to witness the incredible creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and real impact that this group has demonstrated with the businesses that they have created. These entrepreneurs have found new, underserved or poorly-served markets and have come up with innovative ways to deploy their talents toward creating businesses with the ability to scale and become the disruptors in their field.”
The inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners are:
- Silas Adekunle, United Kingdom: Known for creating the world's augmented reality gaming robot. He is the CEO and Co-founder of Reach Robotics, a consumer robotics company that creates robots for gaming and STEM education.
- Catherine Mahugu, Kenya: CEO and founder of two businesses. Soko is an ethical fashion brand that supports artisans in emerging economies. Chiswara is an agri-tech venture that partners with coffee farmers to sell Kenyan coffee to the international market.
- Severin Hacker, Switzerland: Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Duolingo; a language learning platform on a mission to make language education free, fun and accessible for everyone in the world. Duolingo has 300 million users and offers 84 total language courses for more than 30 languages.
- Kathryn Minshew, USA: CEO and Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by over 75 million people to research companies and careers. Organisations use The Muse to attract and hire talent by providing an authentic look at company culture, workplace, and values through the stories of their employees.
- Srikanth Bolla, India: Founder and CEO of Bollant Industries, a manufacturing company that produces eco-friendly disposable products and packaging solutions for manufacturers out of a natural leaf and recycled paper. He created it with a vision to enhance employment opportunities for differently-abled people, mostly uneducated and unskilled.
They will be presented with the Award at the One Young World 2019 Summit taking place in London, 22 -25 October 2019.