Image credit: Forbes Middle East

Each year, Forbes Middle East releases the 30 Under 30 list of the youngest, most influential talents in the Middle East. For 2021, Forbes had over 300 candidates with the potential to make the grade, and from those 300, only 30 were chosen. The most significant part of this year’s winners is that it features eight Egyptians — the most from any country — including the Egyptian Olympic champion Feryal Abdelaziz. Here they are...

Alain El Hajj, Mostafa Menessy, Islam Shawky

This is the trio behind Paymob, the company which partnered with the Central Bank of Egypt to facilitate digital payments by providing over 45,000 merchants with POS devices. Paymob has raised $18.5 million in Series A funding and employs more than 500 people. The company currently operates in Egypt, Palestine, Kenya, and Pakistan.

Ahmed Gaber

Six years ago, after dropping out of college, Gaber founded Bosta, an Egyptian courier service. The company raised a total of $9.2 million in funding, with $6.7 million last May alone. Bosta has 50 employees and is planning to expand its services to Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Youssef Salem

The CFO of SWVL, the UAE based company, is arguably one of the most successful candidates featured on the list. Back in July, SWVL merged with Queen’s Gambit. After the merger, SWVL’s value reached $1.5 billion, making it the first unicorn (a privately held startup valued at over $1 bn) from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq.

Ally Salama

Salama created EMPWR back in 2019 as one of the first mental health and wellness magazines, and in 2020 he started the “Empathy Always Wins” podcast. In addition, Salama was nominated by the World Federation to sit on its board for Mental Health.

Feryal Abdelaziz

The Egyptian hero brought gold back to Egypt for the first time since 2004. Feryal won the Women’s Karate Kumite +61kg gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, becoming the first Egyptian woman to earn gold.

Marc Banoub

Marc is the genius behind LyRise, a company he founded with one goal in mind: to solve the shortage of AI expertise. Marc achieves his goal by utilising the experience he gained by leading advanced AI training programmes with companies such as Microsoft and is a founding member of the Data and AI Association of the Middle East and Africa.