Jade Zhang

Each year, the Talent Unleashed Awards aim to applaud the innovators who are creating the technology that may just change the world. The Awards often uncover new businesses before they make it big, in fact helping propel them into the big time, and it’s this process of discovery that Jade Zhang, a judge in the awards and founder of Okmno, is loving.

As well as Okmno, a company that holds the Asian rights to Candy Crush-branded confectionery, Zhang has worked as a project lead at ASOS, a compensation project analyst at Morgan Stanley, and in a number of roles at Unilever, among other jobs, giving her experience across a variety of industries and a hunger to learn more.

As such, Zhang said she is excited to be part of the judging panel and learn about each nominee’s business, saying the judging process opens her eyes each year.

“Being an entrepreneur myself, I think this award is quite unique because it covers a really wide spectrum of startup companies, both geographically and also among the different industries and sectors. Some of the entrants in this year’s awards have been disrupting their local market for quite some time and making a significant impact on society,” she said.

She said she is particularly keen to learn more about the social impact category as it is one she hasn’t had the chance to explore a great deal herself in her work.

“It was very interesting learning about the life changing technologies that have been invented or new ideas that will disrupt a whole service industry,” she said.

This year’s Best Startup – Social Impact category finalists are a particularly interesting bunch. The first is 100% Project, a crowdfunding platform for classrooms in need. It looks to empower teachers to provide the best learning experience for their students by connecting people to impactful classroom projects.

The second is oDocs Eye Care, which develops and distributes affordable, smartphone-based technology for primary eye care. The category is rounded out by Health View Bioanalytic Limited, which provides a digital health cloud-based automatic retinal image analysis platform that can in minutes screen for various disease risks, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The other categories are Best Startup – Tech Innovation, Best Digital SME – Tech Innovation, Most Disruptive CIO/CTO, and Best Tech IPO/Venture Capital Raising.

With the judging process in full swing, Zhang said she has been thoroughly impressed with the calibre of nominees, making the decision making process incredibly competitive.

There is a lot on offer for the winners: they will get to spend one-on-one time with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, while past winners have credited the awards with helping them foster mentoring relationships and introduce them to investors who have gone on to fund their businesses.

Startup Daily