Introducing the One Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award Shortlist

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These 15 young entrepreneurs have all been shortlisted because of the tremendous impact of their business ventures and how they are inspiring others with their leadership. 

The One Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognises five of the world's most promising entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35. The award highlights the work of innovative young business leaders whose enterprises are shaping the world around them and inspiring others to launch their own ventures. 

The shortlisted nominees are currently being reviewed by One Young World’s expert judging panel, who will decide the final five winners. 

The five winners will be announced in mid-March and will be presented with this award at the One Young World 2022 Summit. 

The Shortlist

Image of Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Nigeria


Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes is the Founder and Managing Partner of Aruwa Capital Management, one of the few woman-owned and led growth equity and gender lens funds in Africa investing in untapped investment opportunities in the small to lower mid-market. 

Adesuwa was named as an Agent of Impact in 2019 by Impact Alpha and recognised as one of the Top 35 Women Moving Africa Forward for her commitment to gender equality in private equity and across society through Aruwa Capital’s investments.

Alejandra Ríos, Mexico


Alejandra Ríos is the CEO of Ambrosía, a leading company in the creation of culinary experiences and events in Mexico. as well as co-founder of investment funds Meraki Ventures and Soldiers Field Angels.

Her experience and trajectory in the business sector have led her to be part of the seventh season panel of Shark Tank Mexico, as the youngest ever Shark in the show's history.

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Benji Meltzer, South Africa


Benji Meltzer is the Co-founder and CTO of Aerobotics, a Cape Town-based company using aerial imagery to help farmers find problems early and optimize performance.

In 2018, Aerobotics was chosen as one of 24 startups to be a part of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator in San Francisco, thereby becoming the only South African startup to be chosen. The company won the 2018 AfricArena VivaTech Challenge and the President Macron Tech Award, as well as the Innovator of the Year award at the All Africa Business Leader Awards.

Clementine Jacoby, United States


Clementine Jacoby is the Founder & CEO of Recidiviz, a non-profit using technology to safely unwind mass incarceration in the United States. To date, they’ve supported bills that will return 99,000 life years to people who would otherwise be incarcerated and save states 790 million dollars to reinvest in strengthening communities and addressing the root causes of incarceration. 

Clementine has been named one of TIME’s Next 100 Most Influential People, Forbes 30 Under 30, and FastCompany’s Most Creative People.

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Freddy Vega, Colombia


Freddy Vega is the CEO of Platzi, the largest tech school in Latin America. Every startup in the region has a Platzi student. Every country has founders that studied at Platzi. They are the growth engine of the Hispanic tech world.

Platzi is the first company targeting Hispanics to be funded by Y Combinator (YC W15). Freddy was named in MIT 35 under 35 in 2020.

Hunter Johnson, Australia


Hunter Johnson is the Founder & CEO of The Man Cave, an emotional intelligence charity that has impacted the lives of 30,000 young men across Australia. Hunter also leads STUFF™, a natural personal care brand that champions healthy masculinity where sales fund life-changing programs through The Man Cave. 

Hunter has been recognised as an Honouree for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, Finalist for the Young Australian of the Year Awards (VIC), named a Queen's Young Leader by Her Majesty the Queen, Winner of the EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Southern Region) and listed as one of Harper's Bazaar's "Visionary Men of 2019".

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Joséphine Goube, France


Joséphine is the co-founder of Techfugees, an international organisation empowering displaced persons with technology, and Techfugees’ women refugee focused programmes (Sistech) aimed at accelerating the professional inclusion of refugee women in tech & digital jobs in France, Italy, and Greece.  As an expert on migration and social innovation, she also sits on the board of the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

Nominated as one of the top “30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs” by Forbes three times in a row, she has received many prizes and advocated for a more innovative and inclusive world in many high-level tech or UN conferences such as SXSW, Web Summit, VivaTech, UNESCO’s annual meeting for education or UNHCR global compact.

Julián Ríos Cantú, Mexico


Julián Ríos is the Founder and CEO of Eva, a tool that increases the precision, productivity, and patient experience for radiology and imaging procedures. Since the age of 16, Julián Ríos has devoted his life to innovating products that improve the quality of life of patients. Through Eva, he has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 100,000 patients throughout Latin America. 

Julián has been awarded with two Cannes Lions Awards, Mexico's Presidential Medal for Scientific and Technological Breakthroughs and the Global Student Entrepreneur Award by EO. He has been a guest lecturer at the National Medical Society of the United States, Harvard-MIT Innovation Laboratories and in 2018 Julian became the second Latino entrepreneur to receive the prestigious Thiel Fellowship.

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Keely Cat-Wells, United States


Keely Cat-Wells is an Entrepreneur and Disability Activist dedicated to making social, systemic, and economic change. She is the Founder of C Talent, an award-winning talent management company that represents high-profile Deaf and Disabled talent. C Talent's goal is to change the way the world views and defines disability. 

Keely has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Entertainment honouree, Diana Award winner, an AdWeek Young Influential, GBEA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been appointed as an Advisory Board Member to Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation.

Lubomila Jordanova, Bulgaria


Lubomila Jordanova is the co-founder and CEO of Plan A, who have developed the first software that enables businesses to monitor and reduce their emissions while improving their ESG performance, and Greentech Alliance. Lubomila is a passionate leader and sustainability figure. Plan A have recently become a certified B Corp, scoring within the top 5% in the world. 

Lubomila has been selected as Obama leader for Europe in 2022 by the Obama Foundation. Last year, she also made the Top 50 Women in Tech in Germany, for Handelsblatt magazine. She also made the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020.


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Melanie Perkins, Australia


Melanie Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online platform that makes graphic design simple for everyone. Since launching in 2013, Canva has grown to over 75 million users across 190 countries. Canva recently launched its first pilot program with GiveDirectly, distributing $10 million to some of the world’s poorest people in Southern Africa.

In 2020, Melanie was named by Forbes as one of the ‘Top 30 under 30 of the decade’, after originally being included in the 30 under 30 list of 2016.

Michael Selden, United States


Michael Selden is the CEO and Co-founder of Finless Foods, which works to build a future for seafood where the ocean thrives. In 2017, Finless Foods created the first fish meat grown outside of a living fish to ever be consumed by a person. In 2021, Finless Foods expanded their portfolio with a taste-comparable, plant-based tuna option - another way to ease pressure on stressed ocean stocks.

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Morgan DeBaun, United States


Morgan DeBaun is a serial entrepreneur and corporate advisor. As the Founder & CEO of Blavity Inc., the leading digital media company for Black culture and millennials, Morgan has grown the company into a market leader for Black media, reaching over 100 million readers per month through a growing brand portfolio. 

DeBaun is a recipient of Ad Color’s Innovative Award, has been recognized by Forbes in the 30 Under 30 and America’s Top 50 Women in Tech lists, and was named as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root.

Steven Bartlett, United Kingdom


Steven Bartlett is the Founder of the social media marketing agency Social Chain. He is also a speaker, investor, author and content creator, hosting Europe’s biggest podcasts, ‘The Diary of a CEO’. Steven has joined BBC’s Dragon’s Den for Series 19 as the youngest ever Dragon in the show’s history. 

Last year, he was listed at no.6 in the 2022 Black Powerlist alongside Marcus Rashford and Michaela Coel, and is particularly focused on inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs and creators from a BAME background.

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Val Yap, Singapore


Val is the CEO and Founder of PolicyPal, Asia's leading insurtech startup, acquired by AMTD Group, Asia's leading comprehensive financial services conglomerate. Recently, Val has also published her memoir BALLS INC., sharing her experience as a female tech entrepreneur and insight into insurtech and startup. 

Val has been named as Forbes 30 Under 30 Fortune 40 Under 40, Woman’s Weekly Great Women Of Our Time, and Edge 35 Under 35. She has been awarded the Visa Everywhere Initiative – People’s Choice Award, the Imperial Alumni Entrepreneur Award, and was ranked #4 Globally for Top 100 Women in FinTech by IBM. She has also been included on The Peak Power List, Prestige 40 under 40, and named as a Linkedin Power Profile.