Spanish Team Wins YEP Prize With Mental Health Support App


A team of students from Colegio Hatikva in Barcelona, Spain, have won the 2024 World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) in the northern hemisphere.   

Their winning app, Mental Buddy, is designed to offer a supportive environment for users to explore and understand their feelings in real-time. The app acts as a comforting friend, helping teenagers navigate through turbulent emotions. 

It uses simple exercises and friendly advice to help users identify their emotions and develop healthy coping strategies. It focuses on self-discovery and empowerment, helping people build resilience and understand their emotional landscape. 

The YEP competition gives ORT students the opportunity to design a product or service that addresses a social issue. Throughout the course, students present milestones and pitch their ideas to judges. 

This year’s Northern Hemisphere program introduced teams from seven countries—Costa Rica, Mexico, Ukraine, Italy, France, Spain and Bulgaria—to the world of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. 

The year-long course simulates the real-world process of product development, guiding students from initial idea generation through market research, risk and opportunity analysis, product specification definition, business model selection, marketing strategy design, prototype manufacturing, and finally, business plan and sales pitch presentation. 

During the virtual live final, high school student teams delivered five-minute presentations of their projects and answered questions from judges. 

Robert Taub, an experienced entrepreneur and the program’s lead sponsor, opened the event with a pre-recorded video, encouraging students to continue honing their critical thinking skills. 

The students had a great experience, as Hannah, a student from the winning Colegio Hatikva team, said: “Being able to develop our wildest ideas and turn them into practical reality is one of the most satisfying feelings.” 

Costa Rica secured second place with the product Spray It. The students of Instituto Dr Jaim Weizman designed a unique hairspray that offers a combination of convenience and simplicity, allowing people to straighten their hair effortlessly.  

Experienced entrepreneurs advised the students. Their assistance was essential to the students’ development, as emphasised by Magalí from the winning group: “We enjoyed sharing our ideas and acquiring knowledge and inspiration from the rest of the teams, as well as developing our project utilising the judges’ feedback.” 

The udging panel included Yoni Torgow, Executive Chairman of the Sterling Group, a real estate development, management, and investment company based in Detroit, United States; Nina Rosenzwog, a retired school psychologist and certified mediator; and Pablo Reich, an ORT Argentina graduate now running a specialised furniture manufacturer and distributor in Canada, who is also a member of the World ORT Board of Trustees.