One Young World, the global forum for young leaders, has announced the winners of its inaugural global Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Created to identify and promote the world’s most revolutionary entrepreneurs, the award honours five leaders – aged 35 and under – who have been judged on the positive social impact of their business ventures and how they are inspiring others with their leadership.

Reach Robotics CEO Silas Adekunle, whose company featured on our South West 101 list this week, was among the five winners.

Adekunle told BusinessCloud last year that he wants to build the world's leading consumer robotics company.

The winners will be presented with the award at the One Young World 2019 Summit in London in October in front of 1,800 young leaders from more than 190 countries who will gather to discuss global challenges alongside world-leaders and generate innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

The inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kathryn Minshew, USA: CEO and Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by over 75 million people to research companies and careers. Organizations 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 natural leaf and recycled paper. He created it with a vision to enhance employment opportunities for differently-abled people, mostly uneducated and unskilled.

The five honourees were selected by a panel of international judges from across the business world including David Jones, founder of You & Mr Jones and co-founder of One Young World; Elio Leoni Sceti, co-founder and chief crafter of The Craftory; Marisa Drew, CEO of the impact advisory and finance department of Credit Suisse; Luis Javier Castro, founding partner at Mesoamerica Investments; and Professor Orietta Marsili, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship, director of studies MSc in entrepreneurship and management of University of Bath.

“In an age where the values of corporations regularly outstrip nations’ GDP, the social impact of business has never been a more important consideration – and entrepreneurs will be key to finding exciting new solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues,” said Jones.

“Steve Jobs was 21 when he created Apple, Jeff Bezos was 30 when he started Amazon and Bill Gates just 20 when he started Microsoft.

“Young entrepreneurs have shown themselves to be some of the most innovative and impactful in history – and we’re confident that this year’s winners will go on to revolutionise industries across the world.

“We wish all of our winners huge congratulations and look forward to welcoming them to the One Young World Summit in London this year.”