Flemish start-ups make Forbes 30 Under 30 list


Several Flemish 20-somethings and expats living and working in Brussels have made Forbes’ prestigious European list this year

Movers and shakers

Four Flemish entrepreneurs have made the latest Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list, which highlights the achievements of young people who are leaders in their industry. The list includes 300 names spread across 10 categories.

Hanan Challouki, 25, and Taha Riani Achlab, 22 (pictured), are the founders of Allyens, a communications agency in Antwerp. They made the Media & Marketing category for their mission to “focus on inclusivity and diversity in digital communications”.

Some of Allyens clients are Reuters, BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels Airport and the government of Flanders. Challouki and Achlab are also the founders of Mvslim.com, an online news and information site for Muslims and those who want to learn about their religion and culture.

The founders of CitizenLab – Aline Muylaert and Wietse Van Ransbeeck, both 24 – are in Forbes’ Law & Policy category. CitizenLab  is “a digital infrastructure that empowers local democracy to address the widening gap between citizens and municipal governments”. Since launching in 2015, the platform has expanded to cover more than 50 cities throughout Europe.

The Forbes list also includes three expats working in Brussels. Eduardo Gomez Casado, 29, made the Law & Policy list. Originally from Spain, he is an antitrust case handler at the European Commission. Gomez Casado “ensures an even playing field in the market, including protecting consumers from oligopoly pricing and making sure that community treaties are applied throughout the European Union”.

Sustainability is the new black

Rositsa Zaimova, 29, of Bulgaria has worked around the world, but is currently based in Brussels, where she co-founded Dalberg Data Insights, an offshoot of Dalberg, a consultancy that specialises in sustainable global development. In the Social Entrepreneurs category, Zaimova “creates tools to interpret data and design solutions for international development, humanitarian aid and social impact”.

Finally, Simas Gerdvila, 28, is a policy officer at Euroheat & Power, which promotes sustainable heating and cooling in Europe and beyond. The Lithuanian, on Forbes’ Industry list, “works in a number of environmental policy areas such as the EU Emission Scheme Directive, carbon markets and industrial emissions”.