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Australia’s Young Changemakers Top 30 Under 30 Asia Class


3 April 2018 at 5:51 pm
Wendy Williams
Some of Australia’s youngest social entrepreneurs have been honoured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for “leveraging business tools to save the region's problems”.


Wendy Williams | 3 April 2018 at 5:51 pm


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Australia’s Young Changemakers Top 30 Under 30 Asia Class
3 April 2018 at 5:51 pm

Some of Australia’s youngest social entrepreneurs have been honoured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for “leveraging business tools to save the region’s problems”.

Now in its third year, the list features 300 young innovators and disruptors across 10 categories who are re-inventing their industries and driving change across the region.

Australians took out three of the top spots in this year’s social entrepreneurs category, which had an average age of 25 with three honourees under the age of 21, including 20-year-old Nightlife First Aid founder Mathew D’Onofrio, from South Australia.

Melbourne-based social entrepreneur Natalie Kyriacou and Girls Take Over Parliament co-founders Ashleigh Streeter-Jones and Caitlin Figueiredo were also recognised, in a year that was notable for raising the profile of prominent women across the region, breaking ceilings, stereotypes and stigma.

Kyriacou, CEO of My Green World and the creator of World of the Wild, said she was delighted to see so many role models breaking down barriers.

“It is a huge honour to feature on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and I am incredibly humbled to be recognised alongside such an inspiring and diverse group of people,” Kyriacou said.

“I am thrilled that young people throughout the region will see the positive female role models who are breaking down barriers in a variety of sectors.

“I hope that this list can draw more attention to some of the growing problems around the world and help children realise how powerful their voices and potential are.”

D’Onofrio, who started Nightlife First Aid to create a safer party environment among youths after witnessing excessive teenage drinking at parties, told Pro Bono News the list proved that young people should not be seen as “spoilt and unambitious”.

“Some of us are adventurous and are trying to change the world,” D’Onofrio.

“For me I’m just really honoured, I want to use the list to bring awareness to what I’m doing and try to put that further out into the world and show people that instead of criticising young people for drinking and partying, maybe try just encouraging them to do it in a safer way.”

He said young people considering starting a social enterprise needed to focus on changing the world.

“I think a lot of people focus on how are they going to support themselves, how they’re going to make money. I think if making money is the first thing you focus on, you are destined for failure because you can’t break that down into smaller goals to get that one big goal,” D’Onofrio said.

“If you focus solely on changing the world you can break that down into smaller goals that you can accomplish earlier and eventually work your way up to the ultimate goal.

“I think it’s more about solving a problem and not letting their young age get in the way. It’s not as big of a obstacle as people sometimes think it is.”

D’Onofrio, a former St John’s Ambulance Australia volunteer and Flinders University nursing student who has attended some 50 events, watched over thousands of teenagers, and prevented more than 25 deaths, said he started off by accident.

“I had the first aid training, and I ended up helping people whenever I went out to events especially parties. I saw the need for it and just took it upon myself to do it. And so it’s three years later and it’s going really well, but it was really by accident,” he said.

“I guess I had that passion and I ended up teaching myself everything I needed to know and that passion is what drove me and that just kept me going over the years.”

The judges for the social entrepreneurs category were Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds, Crossroads Foundation director Sally Begbie and philanthropist and chairman of the Chaudhary Group, Binod Chaudhary.

The finalists for this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list were selected from thousands of online nominations, based on leadership and disruption in their field; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century.

Those selected represented 24 countries from Asia-Pacific – including North Korea, Fiji, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan for the first time – with India boasting the highest number of honourees with 65 on this year’s list, followed by China with 59 honourees and Australia with 35 honourees.

Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia editor Rana Wehbe said the list celebrated inspiring game-changers who were disrupting their sectors and “not taking no for an answer”.

“From refurbishing old sneakers to address a footwear shortage that affects billions of people, to taking the Airbnb approach with satellites, there’s no shortage of innovative ideas among this year’s honourees,” Wehbe said.

“We also noticed that many of this year’s honourees’ businesses reflect their lifestyle choices and ethos, addressing issues important to their generation.

“Whether it’s establishing the world’s first wedding magazine specifically catering to the LGBTQ+ brides, or founding a luxury Halal-certified makeup brand, this year’s list showcases Asia’s diversity and inclusiveness.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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