The new generation entering the workforce may seem crowded and confusing but hidden in the fray are some of Europe’s brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators, and game-changers. The defining factors of those 25 and under include a drive to innovate on tradition, a determination to champion their professional passions, and a hunger to reinvent the world — but only a few individuals actually embody these ideals. Despite a multitude of external pressures and demands, a dedicated group of people is stepping up to challenge the status quo and create new solutions that improve lives and create positive change. 


Below are the 25 most promising, successful, and deservedly enviable people under the age of 25 in Northern Europe.

Criteria and Results

There were 5 essential criteria for evaluating candidates:

  • Profile: an active leader who is a founder, co-founder, or top executive of his/her business, an entrepreneur, business leader, author, blogger, or other thought leader who is remarkable in his/her field AND 25-years old or younger (as of 2018).
  • Work: this was the driving criteria for our jury members to evaluate potential candidates. What is he/she working on? Why is it of interest? Factors include the originality, practicality, reach, and impact of his/her work.
  • Responsibility: the individual must be intentionally creating a positive socio-cultural and/or industry and/or environmental impact. This can be a personal effort or a professional effort, depending on the individual.
  • Results: the significance of his/her contribution to the world and/or industry so far. Factors include the development stage of a business or idea, the amount of press/media coverage, idea offshoots, his/her impact on the chosen field and/or on consumers.
  • Future potential: the longevity of the individual’s idea/business/entrepreneurial spirit. Essentially, this criterion questions the likelihood of an individual to change his/her field over the next 50 years? Factors include financial viability, operational scope, internationalization plans, etc.

Candidates were submitted from nine countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia – based on a national jury panel. From dozens of nominations, the final 25 candidates include entrepreneurs, business leaders, and activists that have made outstanding contributions to society by the age of 25 or less.

It is often said that youth is wasted on the young, but this list of 25 young adults proves that they are the ones with the drive and ingenuity to make real change happen. Encapsulated in these 25 people are individuals working to integrate technology into classrooms, to using computing programming to reduce food waste, to redefining the feminine voice in politics, to conquering the fashion accessory market. The world is going through a paradigm shift; our newest generation of leaders has grown up in a fast-paced world of technology and are integrating its lessons for survival into the new business models of the future, which has become an indicator of successful societies.

The final 25 candidates reflect those individuals who have made outstanding achievements at such a young age, as well as commendable efforts to challenge traditions and unapologetically stand up for their professional passions (and create positive change). The challenge for the selection committee was comparing the diverse industries and backgrounds of each individual; no two stories are the same, and no two people are equally comparable, so the whole picture needs to be taken into account.

Russian entrepreneur Vitalik Buterin came in at number one, owing to his groundbreaking work with cryptocurrencies and blockchain innovations. Further down the list, youth empowerment leaders Elin Nørve (#11) and Maiuran Loganathan (#12), and startup champions Marija Ručevska (#15) and Andreas Saari (#21), have made the list for their passion-driven work ethic, and their progressive views on doing business in the modern world.


Our distinguished jury panel has worked with Nordic Business Report since the beginning of 2018 to carefully craft this list of 25 young movers and shakers. They were recruited based on their networks connecting them to prominent young adults, and their engagement with the startup communities and similar organizations. Their tasks included compiling long lists from their national countries of youths fitting the criteria and then working together to create a shortlist base on conversations and consensus.

These were the members of our 2018 jury.


Lauri Valtonen, National President, JCI Finland – Suomen Nuorkauppakamarit Ry
Emilia Koikkalainen,  EVP of Community, JCI Finland – Suomen Nuorkauppakamarit Ry
Jan Ameri Partner, Chief Innovation Officer, ArcticStartup
Maria Fodor, Country Manager,
Voitto Kangas, CEO, Maria 01


Lars Juhl, CEO, Presidents Institute
Bjarke Wolmar, Vice President, City of Odense


Kristjan Ingi Mikaelsson, Managing Director, Icelandic Blockchain Foundation
Alda Karen, CEO & owner, AK Consulting


Anu Oks, Managing Director, Estonian Business Angels Network
Henry Arnhold, President, JCI Estonia
Kersti Loor, CEO, Junior Achievement Estonia
Tanel Rebane, Director of Trade Development Agency, Enterprise Estonia
Katre Purga, Start-up Hub Manager, Tallinn University of Technology


Aiga Kabjonoka, Managing Director, Latvian Business Angels Network
Jekaterina Šime, National President, JCI Latvia
Janis Krievans, CEO, Junior Achievement Latvia
Lina Marta Sarma, CEO, TechHub Riga


Stepas Šafranauskas, 2018 President, JCI Lithuania
Roberta Rudokiene, Head, Startup Lithuania
Andzelika Rusteikiene, CEO, Junior Achievement Lithuania
Marius Parescius‚ President, Lithuanian ICT Cluster


Fredric Tegebro, Coordinator, Young Entrepreneurs of Sweden
Mathias Mellgren, Project Manager of the Young Entrepreneurs Network, Swedish Federation of Business Owners (Företagarna)
Stefan FalkBoman, Co-founder, UngDrive / YoungDrive
Niclas Carlsson, Founder & CEO, Founders Alliance


Maja Adriaensen, CEO, Angel Challenge
Christoffer Omberg, CEO & co-founder, Oslo Business Forum
Marius Røed Wang, CMO & co-founder, Oslo Business Forum
Yvonne Fosser, HR Director, Innovation Norway


Andrey Sikorskiy, Marketing Director, RBC Group
Yury R. Mitin, Managing Director, Startup Academy SKOLKOVO
Mike Melanin, Project Director, BANKEX