Cacao Project founder Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo makes it to Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list for 2020, emerging as one of the best from more than 3,500 nominees in Asia-Pacific. The panel of judges, composed of entrepreneurs and business leaders, curated the list of under-30 individuals who are “challenging conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation.”

Last year, the 21-year-old social entrepreneur was awarded the Young Champions of the Earth Prize by the United Nations Environment Programme for her sustainable farming initiative in Bicol where she bested over 1,000 other applicants. Her relief project started in 2016 when Typhoon Nina hit her hometown in Bicol. Through the Cacao Project, farmers are taught how to responsibly and sustainably grow and produce climate-resilient cacao. 

Currently, 200 farmers were able to plant 80,000 cacao trees along with other crops such as bok choy, okra and pumpkin. The initiative also helped reforestation efforts and the revival of two water sources. Mabulo was also a finalist in the Philippine adaptation of Junior Master Chef in 2011.

Aside from Mabulo, four other Filipinos also made it on the list. Twenty-year-old gold medalists Carlos Yulo (gymnastics) and Magielyn Didal (skateboarding) were also included in the Youngest category with Mabulo. Twenty-six year-old Francis Plaza, co-founder and CEO of online payment processing platform PayMongo, landed in the Finance & Venture Capital category while 28-year-old filmmaker, multimedia artist and founder of independent studio Alexandrite Pictures Breech Asher Harani qualified for The Arts category.

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