A team of ORT students from Brazil proved more successful than their national football team by winning top prize in an international competition.
The teenagers from Escola ORT Brazil in Rio de Janeiro impressed the judges in the World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship (YEP) final with their app which helps improve the wellbeing of cancer patients.
Their ‘COM VC’ (‘with you’) online platform works to connect specialist psychologists with patients, promotes health, and provides a range of comforting aids for the sick.
Created by students Juliana Scliar, Arthur Toscano, Clarice Sa and Bruno Levy under the supervision of mentor teacher Rodrigo Carvalho, the app uses entrepreneurship for social good.
The team told the online YEP live final that in partnership with NGOs and other social projects, COM VC would help provide assistance for cancer patients who lack the financial resources to access therapy and other services.
Five teams of ORT students from three countries participated in the conclusion of the southern hemisphere YEP program. The teams received a thorough introduction to the world of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship during this year’s program.
The YEP course simulates the real-world process of developing an initial idea through market research, analyzing risks and opportunities, defining product specifications, selecting the optimum business model, designing a marketing strategy, manufacturing a product prototype, and finally presenting a business plan and sales pitch.
During the final, teams of students – aged 14 to 16 – gave four-minute presentations of their project before answering questions from the judges. The teams in this year’s final were all well prepared with excellent ideas to solve local and global problems and demonstrated how the program contributes to their development.
Robert Taub, YEP’s lead sponsor and World ORT Secretary, himself an experienced entrepreneur, opened the event by telling the students: “The best reward for me would be if one day one of these projects that you are presenting would actually turn into a concrete business plan, and even… to commercialization.
“I believe very much in technology… and the thinking process is vital. Our mission is to educate you, open your mind, and provide you with the skills you need for the future.”
Participants also benefitted from the contributions of the judging panel, which offered advice after hearing their pitches.
The judges were Jeff Moness, Chairman of the Board of Canadian Paper Connection Inc.; Justin Pollack, Managing Director of the Private Funds Group at PineBridge investments; and Margie Green, a founding member of Women’s American ORT and a supporter of the organization for more than 50 years.
Students from Herzlia School in Cape Town, South Africa, finished in second place with their app called LOCKD. They created a safe storage option for people taking belongings to beaches. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world.
Their peers from the PACE team in Johannesburg created ‘Order Pro’, an online canteen system for schools, colleges and university students. The program provides diners with a QR code after ordering so that on arrival in the canteen they receive their tray of food, cutting down on long queues and time wasting.
A team from ORT Almagro campus in Argentina devised the ‘Domestikus’ app, helping families keep track of their pets and monitor walks, feeding schedules, medication and other vital information. Using a notification system, users are told about scheduled activities and receive alerts about their pets.
The final was completed by the ORT Belgrano team, also from Argentina, with their ‘Movienator’ web service designed to help viewers decide which movie or TV show to watch. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and past selections the service provides options best-suited to the user.
The winning team from Brazil will receive a trip to Israel to learn first-hand about Israeli entrepreneurship in the Start-Up Nation. The runners-up will win $100 each to go towards online training courses.