The Top 10 Most Admired Entrepreneurs of Asia

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Rankings | 0 comments

In this issue, Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list of the top 10 most admired entrepreneurs in Asia (presented in no particular order) whose extraordinary journeys and accomplishments inspire the masses in profound ways. These outstanding innovators are reshaping their industries while making notable impacts on their societies and the wider economy. Their stories highlight the value of innovation, perseverance, and strategic vision. It is through these characteristics that they have navigated challenges and capitalized on opportunities to establish thriving businesses.

Edward Tirtanata (Indonesia)

From crunching numbers at Ernst & Young to brewing success with Kopi Kenangan, Edward Tirtanata has steeped his career in innovation. As the CEO and co-founder of Indonesia’s booming coffee chain, Kopi Kenangan, he has transformed a modest start-up into one of the nation’s leading F&B brands. His entrepreneurial journey brewed during his tenure at Lewis & Carroll, a premium tea house he launched in 2015. Inspired, he founded Kopi Kenangan in 2017 with a vision to blend traditional coffee culture with modern tech-driven efficiency. Today, this vision continues to thrive, making Edward Tirtanata a household name in Indonesia’s coffee scene.

Pita Limjoenrat (Thailand)

Pita is a remarkable individual whose path to leadership was anything but conventional. Juggling graduate studies in Public Policy at Harvard University and an MBA at MIT, Pita found himself unexpectedly thrust into the role of CEO of Agrifood. Tragedy struck when his father, the company’s founder, passed away, leaving behind a staggering debt of 100 million baht. With determination and grit, Pita took charge, steering the company towards success. Under Pita’s leadership, Agrifood has soared to become the third largest rice bran oil producer in the region. Not stopping there, he has expanded the business into supplements, snacks, and skincare products, all while championing the quality of Thai rice bran oil.

Gitta Amelia (Indonesia)

Gitta Amelia, a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is a beacon of inspiration in the entrepreneurial world. As the founder of EverHaüs, an early-stage venture capital firm in Indonesia, she dedicates herself to empowering young entrepreneurs by providing essential funding, mentorship, and resources. Her involvement doesn’t stop at venture capital; Amelia also influences the fashion and beauty industries, actively shaping their future. Renowned for her innovative spirit and impactful contributions, Amelia motivates countless young business leaders, demonstrating that youth is no obstacle to monumental success.

Kamarul A Muhamed (Malaysia)

Kamarul, the founder and CEO of Aerodyne Group, a drone solutions provider based in Malaysia, holds the top spot globally according to Drone Industry Insights in Germany. He received prestigious accolades such as ‘EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2020 Malaysia’, ‘EY Technology Entrepreneur of The Year 2020 Malaysia’ and ‘SEBA Entrepreneur of The Year 2020’. Over a span of just 6 years, Kamarul transformed Aerodyne from a small 3-person startup in 2014 into a multinational corporation with operations in 35 countries. A recognized TEDx speaker and influential figure in the drone industry, he has shared his insights on AI, Drones, and Industry 4.0 on various platforms worldwide. Trained as an auditor, Kamarul initially worked in London before transitioning to the technology sector upon returning to Malaysia following a decade in the UK. With a passion for exploration, he has visited over 100 countries for both business and leisure purposes.

Ian Ang (Singapore)

In December 2014, Ian Alexander Ang, a former professional esports player, embarked on a mission to revolutionize the gaming experience by crafting the ideal chair for gamers. Little did he and his co-founder, Alaric Choo, realize that this idea would propel them to significant success. Today, Secretlab, Ian’s brainchild, stands as a testament to their commitment and ingenuity. What began as a modest startup has blossomed into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, celebrated for its exceptional quality and comfort. Drawing on his expertise in StarCraft II, Ang has engineered ergonomic chairs tailored to meet the needs of gamers worldwide. As the gaming industry advances, Secretlab adapts alongside it, ensuring that every gamer is equipped with the ultimate gaming throne.

Sarah ShahNor (Malaysia)

Sarah Shahnor, the visionary behind Modvier, Bangsar’s renowned multilabel modest store, embarked on a new journey following a personal health challenge. Struggling with postpartum eczema, she recognized a need for change and thus birthed Cuura, a skincare brand. What began as a solution for her own skin issues blossomed into a sustainable beauty concept, championing the use of exclusively natural ingredients. Through Cuura, Sarah advocates for a shift towards sustainable beauty practices among Malaysians, promoting the adoption of natural, potent ingredients sourced from the bounty of nature. With each product, Cuura not only enhances beauty but also nurtures a conscious lifestyle, aligning with Sarah’s vision for a more sustainable and holistic approach to skincare.

William Utomo (Indonesia)

Indonesian entrepreneur William Utomo co-founded IDN Media, a leading media platform in Indonesia, where he serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO). William manages digital titles and agencies focused on Millennials and Gen Z, aiming to democratize information and positively impact society. IDN Media operates across diverse ecosystems, including digital media sites, the creators’ economy, live streaming, entertainment, and commercial services. Under William’s leadership, the company strives to innovate and adapt to the dynamic media landscape, ensuring it remains relevant and influential in shaping the future of media consumption in Indonesia.

Diajeng Lestari (Indonesia)

Diajeng transitioned from a conventional nine-to-five job to revolutionizing the Indonesian fashion scene with her startup, HijUp, in 2011. The platform, whose name plays on the words “Hijab Up,” akin to “make up or dress up,” was created to cater to the modern Muslim woman, offering attire for various activities. Starting as a modest operation with just two employees, Diajeng’s initiative has blossomed into the largest online marketplace for Muslim fashion. HijUp, which began as Diajeng’s personal search for fashionable yet affordable hijabs, now features collaborations with Indonesia’s top 200 fashion designers, boasts over 70 brands, has introduced a menswear line, and exports collections to 50 countries globally. The brand’s growth includes expansion into digital and print media, serving a comprehensive range of fashion needs.

Jin Xi Cheong (Malaysia)

Jin Xi Cheong, a visionary entrepreneur, leads Poladrone, a drone solutions company revolutionizing the agricultural sector. Poladrone has meticulously surveyed over 300,000 hectares of land across the ASEAN region, delivering invaluable insights and actionable data to farmers and landowners. His innovative approach and strategic vision have established Poladrone as a leader in precision agriculture. The company’s advanced drone solutions facilitate detailed land assessments, crop monitoring, and resource management, optimizing yields and reducing operational costs. Under Cheong’s dynamic leadership, Poladrone is not only advancing agricultural technology but also shaping the future of farming with data-driven solutions and continuous innovation.

Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo (Indonesia)

Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo, also known as Shinta Bubu, is a prominent figure in Indonesia’s tech industry. Since founding in 1996, she has been a driving force behind the country’s digital transformation. As CEO, Shinta has steered to become Indonesia’s leading full-service digital agency, offering innovative solutions from design to execution. Her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to technology have cemented her reputation as a trailblazer. Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Shinta’s advocacy and angel investments have nurtured the growth of startups, further solidifying her influence in shaping Indonesia’s digital future.