ORT students to compete in Young Entrepreneurship Programme Competition Final
Students from an ORT school in Israel’s Western Galilee have invented a GPS device for elderly dementia sufferers, winning a place in the final of a young entrepreneurship programme.
The successful team of seven 14-15 year olds, attend the Kfar Hasidim Religious Youth Village near Haifa. The school was originally established for European children during the Holocaust and is now a refuge for new immigrants, orphans, children at risk and those who’ve suffered a traumatic and impoverished upbringing.
Despite their difficult home lives, every student in the school is offered the highest level of support in order that they can study to matriculation level in standard subjects as well as computer science, communications and agricultural studies. They also have opportunities within the global ORT network to take part in inter-school projects, such as the World ORT Innovations Centre’s nine month entrepreneurship programme.
The programme was adopted by eight teams across Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Mexico and Israel, who learned how to use technology creatively to solve real problems and turn a product design into a business start-up. Each team devised an original concept and were given less than four minutes to present their idea to a panel of ORT judges and business experts, as well as an online audience watching via live Facebook streaming.
Emily Gavriel was among the team from Kfar Hasidim: “The fact that you can design a product that can influence and improve people’s lives was what attracted me to the programme,” explains the 15 year old. “Learning the basics of product management, designing and planning a product – these are things you do not learn normally at school and it was very interesting. The fact that we worked and presented throughout the year in the English language helped improve our English skills.”
Emily and her team unveiled their S.P.Y (Your Personal Savior) invention, priced at $50, in front of the panel. The students had designed a bracelet which charges on kinetic energy, with a GPS tracker for elderly dementia sufferers. The data from the device is sent to a relative or carer’s mobile phone app, to help them track their location. The aim of the product being to help people to care for those with dementia, allowing the sufferer to remain living in their own home.
When Kfar Hasidim were announced as the semi-final winners, they were overjoyed. Yehonatan Cohen, the YEP teacher at Kfar Hasidim, said, “It’s an honour to be the first winners of this pilot program. Thank you for the opportunity, and for this amazing journey over the past year.”
The finalists will compete in Unistream’s Entrepreneurship competition in August 2018.