Being home to some of the world’s most-renowned higher education institutions, Boston is definitely a place for smart young people. But besides the brilliant kids from MIT and Harvard, the city is attracting a variety of “eager young minds” (remember the movie A Beautiful Mind?) that have accomplished a lot more than just academic success.
From launching successful startups to breaking sales records, from raising $50,000 to save an endangered tropical bird, to overcoming the challenges of being a DACA student, we bet that today’s youngest and brightest in Boston will be tomorrow’s talk of the town.
To get to know them ahead of time, we’ve compiled a list of 25 local innovators 25 years old or younger—presented in alphabetical order—who are going places in business, healthcare, tech and more.
Here are BostInno’s 25 Under 25:
1. Rajia Abdelaziz (24) – Co-founder and CEO at InvisaWear.
Rajia Abdelaziz, 24 (Photo via Abdelaziz)
For many 22-year-olds fresh out of college, a high-paying job offer as a software engineer from Google would be a dream. Rajia Abdelaziz, a double major in computer science and electrical engineering from UMass Lowell, turned the offer down to follow her own dream: a company called InvisaWear, which sells jewelry that works as discreet alarm systems. Started as a class project during Abdelaziz’s senior year, the Lowell, Mass.-based startup raised over half a million dollars through private investors and said it helped sexual assault survivors find peace of mind. “So many people kept saying, ‘Oh my God, you’re crazy, who turns down Google?’… But here we are, two years later, doing very successful,” said Abdelaziz, an avid moviegoer in her free time. “Listen to your heart and not worry about the reasons that you’re going to fail, but ask more what would happen if you don’t fail.”
2, 3. Joseph Alim (24) and Tuan Ho (23) – Co-founders of ScholarJet.
Joseph Alim, 24 and Tuan Ho, 23 (Photo via Alim and Ho)
Alim and Ho are two of the three co-founders at ScholarJet. Ho came to the country with his mother and older brother from Vietnam at the age of 10. When he was accepted into college but was unable to pay for it, he wrote 120 essays to apply for 40 scholarships and eventually won a full ride to go to Northeastern University. Seeing fellow students struggle with similar challenges, he started ScholarJet, a Public Benefit Corporation, to help undergraduate college students earn money for their education by showcasing their strength and not their ability to write. He is a Priscilla Chan Stride Fellow, loves memes and can perform seven different types of martial arts and often starts off a presentation by doing a backflip.
Alim, originally from Brooklyn, NY met Ho while they were both at Northeastern. Born to immigrant parents from Malaysia and Egypt, he was raised to think that there is no substitute to good education and a great career. After a few corporate stints, the entrepreneurial bug bit Alim and he decided to go all in on ScholarJet. He loves rock climbing, recently picked up tennis and is a workaholic.
4. Erika Anderson (22) – Designer, MIT senior.
Erika Anderson, 22 (Photo via Anderson)
Erika Anderson wears her heart on her sleeve—literally. The MIT engineering student collaborated with Cambridge-based Advanced Functional Fabrics of America to create high-tech fabrics that change color in response to the mood of the wearer. “That way, you can have one shirt instead of three or four,” said the varsity softball player. Anderson, currently in her senior year, hopes to score a gig at Boston-based design firm post-graduation.
5. Kyle Bonenfant (17) – Launched a livestock-based landscaping business.
Kyle Bonenfant, 17 (Photo via Bonenfant)
Kyle Bonenfant is very clear about his career choice: He wants to run a farm. And he is not far from his goal, he’s already been working on one for seven years, and is now an unusual entrepreneur. He runs a landscaping business but instead of using lawn mowers, he uses livestock. He brings his herd of sheep and goats and cordoned off by an electric fence, they are let loose to graze around the property. It started as a summer project but is now a full-fledged seasonal business that Bonenfant manages, in addition to school and working on a farm in Concord. But Bonenfant doesn’t mind it at all. “I love being outside and working with animals and I want to learn how to run a farm,” he said. He runs cross country, surfs and wants to study agriculture.Read Complete Article