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Eight Irish leaders in arts, business and fashion named in Forbes ‘30 under 30’

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The ninth annual European list highlighted the achievements of people identified as young leaders across a number of different categories, including media, healthcare, technology and entertainment.

The youngest person on this year’s 30 under 30 list was Irish actress Alisha Weir, who is 14 years old. She starred in the titular role in Matilda: the Musical which was released in cinemas last year. Ms Weir will star in upcoming horror film Abigail.

Robbie Scott (28) and Cian Donovan (26) featured on the science and healthcare ranking. The pair are two of the co-founders of Dublin-based firm Akara Robotics.

The company, which was founded in 2019, has developed a disinfection robot which can decontaminate rooms up to 20 times faster than a human cleaner.

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Mr Scott now acts as Akara’s director of innovation, while Mr Donovan leads DevOps at the company.

The pair were joined by 29-year old Oisín McGrath in this category.

He is a co-founder of Galenband, a wearable system that monitors cardiac function over a number of months. It works to detect silent atrial fibrillation, a type of cardiac arrhythmia.

The business is based in Galway, with Forbes reporting that Galenband has raised $8.8m in funding to date.

The three founders of Dublin start-up Kota were also mentioned in Forbes’ list of emerging leaders in the tech sector. Kota, which launched in early 2022, was founded by Deepak Baliga (28), Luke Mackey (29) and Patrick O’Boyle (28).

The trio previously worked for Flipdish, Bolt and Bamboo respectively.

Mr Mackey is chief executive of the business, while Mr Baliga is director of engineering and Mr O’Boyle is the start-up’s chief technology officer.

The trio have developed an employee benefits software platform, which is integrated with health insurance, life insurance and pension providers.

It has raised €5m in a seed funding round led by Sweden’s EQT Ventures, with participation from existing investors, London-based Northzone and Dublin’s Frontline Ventures.

Xpress Health co-founder Sanjay Abraham also featured in this year’s ranking. Mr Abraham, alongside Ian Morgan, founded the healthcare staffing platform in 2020.

It now has over 25,000 healthcare workers on its platform and is connected with 2,500 facilities in Ireland and the UK. Alongside its Dublin headquarters, Xpress Health has an office in London. There are now plans to expand into Canada and Australia this year.

Dale Whelehan, who also featured in last year’s Sunday Independent 30 under 30 list, also featured on this year’s Forbes ranking for his work as head of the 4 Day Week Global Movement.

The group held a six-month trial with 61 companies in 2022, with 92pc committed to keeping a four day working week. Forbes reported that the company now engages with over 300 companies.

The Dublin-based initiatives has also raised $1m, providing companies interested in introducing a four-day week with guidance and financial courses.

Yasmine Byrne, widely known as Jazzy, featured in the entertainment list following her breakthrough single last year. The Dublin singer-songwriter hit no.1 in Ireland with her song “Giving Me”, recording more than 130 million streams on Spotify.

This song was also nominated for best international single at the Brit Awards this year.

Northern Irish fashion and textiles designer Hope Macauley also featured in the retail and e-commerce list. The 27 year old now employs 20 knitters across Northern Ireland, while Forbes reported that the brand has annual turnover of around $500,000.

Her designs have been worn by a number of celebrities, including Jennifer Hudson, and are sold in 80 countries.

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