This year’s World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) in the southern hemisphere has been won by a team from King David School in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Their Cardio Collar project – an advanced pet health and wellness tracker – aims to create a deeper connection between pet owners and their animals. The team intends to sell the product across South Africa, with the aim of helping pet owners solve the issue of not knowing how their animal is feeling.
The Taub YEP competition is an opportunity for ORT students to live the experience of designing a product or service that solves a social problem, with milestone presentations and pitches to judges throughout the course.
During this year’s program, six teams of students from three countries received a thorough introduction to the world of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
The other teams were from: Herzlia School, Cape Town; ORT Brazil; ORT Argentina Almagro; ORT Argentina Belgrano; and the Pace Commercial School of Specialization, Johannesburg.
The year-long Taub 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 virtual live final in October, teams of high school students gave five-minute presentations of their projects before answering questions from judges.
Opening the event, Robert Taub – an experienced entrepreneur who is the lead program sponsor – welcomed the students via a pre-recorded video and encouraged them to continue developing their thinking skills.
Tevin, a student from the winning King David team, said: “I really enjoyed the program. I think we all took something away from it that we can use in our lives and in the future. Working together as a team taught us so many valuable lessons. This was an experience that I will never forget.”
Teammate Jadon added: “I am extremely grateful for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this program and to be able to take away so many experiences and skills that I would never have had. It was great to win and know all our hard work had paid off.”
Second place went to the team from ORT Argentina Almagro. Their product was BackOnTrack. This is a wearable device for people struggling with bad postures and musculoskeletal disorders with the help of gyroscopes and flex sensors, helping them improve their posture and analyze their progress.
The final was an opportunity for the students to receive advice from experienced entrepreneurs. The judging panel included: Nina Rosenzwog from Baltimore, a retired school psychologist and certified mediator who volunteers with her local Jewish Federation; Joe Loeffler from Kansas City, whose professional focus is on the real estate and energy industry – he also sits on ORT America’s Board of Directors and supports a series of other Jewish organizations; Annette Kurer, a global leadership consultant and motivational speaker who is also chair of ORT UK; and Pablo Reich, an ORT Argentina graduate now running a specialized furniture manufacturer and distributor in Canada.