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Friday, January 28, 2022

These Qatar-based innovators made this year’s Forbes ‘Middle East 30 Under 30’ list 


Qatar’s young talents have been recognised globally by Forbes.

Two Qatari Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold winners and one Qatar-based Pakistani entrepreneur were named in Forbes Middle East’s 30 Under 30 list of the most promising and outstanding young talents. 

The 2021 list featured the high jumper Mutaz Barshim and weightlifter Fares El-Bakh, both of whom made global headlines for securing gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. 

Meanwhile successful Qatar-based entrepreneur, Haris Aghadi, was listed in the “Impact Category”, which had the highest number of entries in the list for this year.

The 30 under 30 Middle Eastern talents were classified under six categories: sports, e-commerce, technology, finance, creative (including entertainment and social media stars), and impact, which included policy, education, healthcare, and social entrepreneurship.

The final list featured 38 individuals from 20 nationalities, all of whom are based across 11 countries in the Middle East. 

“To be eligible for the 30 Under 30 list, the applicant had to have been under 30 years old on December 31, 2020. This means that anybody born in 1991 or later was eligible to be on the list,” Forbes said.

Explaining the methodology used, Forbes said candidates do not have to be Middle Easterners but have to be residing in the region.

Under the sports category, Mutaz Barshim was described as a “Qatari high jump world champion and holder of the Asian world record.” It also mentioned that he achieved the second-highest jump in history at 2.43m. 

“Barshim won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”

The Qatari champion also claimed the London World Championship in 2017 and the Doha World Championship in 2019. 

Forbes said that “Barshim was inspired to take up the sport by his father, an athlete in the national teams for walking and running.”

On the other hand, Fares El-Bakh was listed under the sport category for winning “Qatar its first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, competing in the 96kg category.” 

“His father, Ibrahim Hassouna, who represented Egypt in weightlifting at the Olympic Games in 1984, 1988, and 1992, has coached El-Bakh since he was nine years old. El-Bakh is also a two-time Junior World Champion, competing in the 85kg and 94kg categories until 2018. He holds the junior world record in the clean and jerk (225kg) and total (397kg) in the 96kg division,” according to Forbes. 

Under the impact category, Aghadi was introduced as a Pakistani CEO and Co-founder of Meddy, which “helps patients find doctors best suited to their needs, based on filters and reviews, and book appointments with them.” 

The technological health assistant, founded in 2015, has significantly aided in helping people in the UAE and Qatar, with over 70,000 patient reviews. 

Last year amid the Covid-19 outbreak, “Meddy helped clinics digitise to process online payments, conduct quality video calls, and prescribe medication.”

Aghadi studied Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

“The men and women on Forbes Middle East’s 30 Under 30 list, while all under the age of 30 at the beginning of this year, have already demonstrated a diverse range of considerable achievements and great potential for the future,” Forbes Middle East said in a statement.

“These innovators are inspiring younger and older generations, bringing their ideas to life, and proving that you don’t need decades of experience to make a difference.”

Barshim and Aghadi both took to social media to respond to the news. 

“So honoured to be on Forbes 30 Under 30 list,” the young entrepreneur said on Twitter. 

More than 300 applicants were evaluated by Forbes, which conducted “two rounds of assessment to shortlist 60 candidates.”

The shortlisted application was then assessed by external judges deemed to be experts in their respective fields. After research, deliberated criteria and shared insights, the final list was decided. 

“In making our judgments, we took into account qualitative information such as the impact that candidates have had on their industry, market, or society, and their future potential. We also looked at quantifiable data such as funds raised, awards won, revenues, the value of deals, number of people impacted, number of customers, and number of followers on social media,” Forbes Middle East said.

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