(April 20, 2021) Forbes announced today its sixth annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list, featuring 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across Asia, all under the age of 30, who are braving the challenging environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and finding new opportunities amidst the New Normal. Eskwelabs’ co-founders Angela Chen (CEO) and Aurelien Chu (COO) join the list under the “Social Impact” category which highlights young leaders leveraging business tools to solve the region’s problem.
Angela and Aurelien co-founded Eskwelabs with the mission of democratizing opportunities in the future of work, after joining forces in 2019. Previous to founding Eskwelabs, Angela whose background is in capital markets, worked in impact investing for environmental projects in emerging markets, while Aurelien was a management consultant at Dalberg, working across several African countries focused on issues like youth unemployment.
Eskwelabs was launched in Manila in May 2019 with a part-time data science program which utilized project-based learning and offered one of the first job guarantee-backed upskilling programs in the country. The program, which was offered through blended learning delivery prior to COVID-19, lowered the cost of a data science education and accelerated employment opportunities by connecting learners directly with employers. 90% of program graduates were placed within 90 days where they experienced an average 1.5 times increase in salary. Today, Eskwelabs is extending its success with project-based learning to innovate on online delivery models that can embrace diverse learners that include call centre agents to stay-at-home moms to upskill with data.
“Education has always been about social mobility. And the promise of digital learning has always been about accessibility,” Angela shared. “Accessibility is a guiding value in how we are building Eskwelabs. It’s the reason why we focused on data skills, and the reason why we are developing unique pedagogy to fix the downsides of online education.”
In Southeast Asia, where more than half of the population is under the age of 30, we believe data education can democratize access to meaningful careers for workers and unlock better decision-making in organizations. The amount of data available is growing exponentially. And although data science specializations will remain in demand, we believe that core data literacy will become a basic skill for most professions—things like developing hypotheses, exploring large data sets, and creating insights with visualizations are the digital skills every function will benefit from.
“The release of the 30 Under 30 Asia list comes at an exciting time for Eskwelabs as we close in on our second year and wrap up our participation in EduSpaze, which is an edtech accelerator backed by Enterprise Singapore. The unique time we are living in also highlights the urgency of our work for those affected by COVID-19 who are now at a risk of being left behind,“ remarked Angela, “But we’re also excited to see our partners and friends like InvestEd, Virtualahan, and Kumu on this list because it signals that the ecosystem is now developing around the digital economy. Our ultimate impact is through the innovation that our learners will go on and build. We know that they will become a driving force behind organizations for years to come."
Eskwelabs is an online data upskilling school in the Philippines with the mission of driving social mobility in the future of work through data skills education. Founded in Singapore in 2019, Eskwelabs was launched out of the Antler incubator, with investments from Zalora Co-founder Magnus Grimeland. Eskwelabs is awarded by the Asian Development Bank as a winning solution for the “Digital Skills for Today's Workforce” challenge. Eskwelabs is made up of a small team of dreamers and doers passionate about democratizing and redesigning data skills education.
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