OTS Oriya students’ o2-go initiative snags first place in regional Young Entrepreneurs competition
Young entrepreneurs from the Ohr Torah Stone Oriya High School for Girls in Gush Etzion have developed a product which can instantly provide a private, sheltered spot for multiple purposes in the middle of a hike. The product was displayed to a Chinese delegation that visited Israel last week, and this week it took first prize in the regional competition.
Seven young entrepreneurs won the Jerusalem district regional “Young Entrepreneurs” competition for the product they developed: the light-weight, popup O2-go tent, which also serves as a private outhouse when trekking in the field. This achievement comes exactly a week after they were chosen out of 170 teams of youngsters who have developed various products to represent activity of Young Entrepreneurs Israel to the Chinese delegation that arrived in the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.
The girls, students at the Ohr Torah Stone Oriya High School for Girls, have been developing their product for almost a year, as part of their activity as members of an international NGO for young entrepreneurs which encourages innovation and business education for young students. The girls formed a company by the name of Bonizoom and invented a product called o2-go, which provides the perfect solution for hikers. Just like in a real business, each girls held a specific position in the company, from CEO to spokeswoman to product development manager. The group was guided by Miriam Fund, the schoolteacher responsible for the project, and accompanied by a business consultant, Leah Solter, who mentored the team on a voluntary basis.
Kamah Feiglin, the team’s CEO, explained the concept behind the product: “When people go on a hike there is always that moment when the heat becomes unbearable and there is no shade anywhere. And every girl is all too familiar with situations like having to change clothes after jumping into a natural spring with no privacy anywhere. Or even needing the bathroom in the middle of a trek out in nature with no private spot in sight. Our objective in designing this product was to enhance the hiking experience, thus encouraging people to go out into nature.”
According to the panel of judges, the girls boasted impressive achievements, both in terms of the business process, which has been underway for the past few months, as well as in terms of the product itself – which is beautifully designed and has high sales potential. It was for these reasons that the Bonizoom girls were chosen to exhibit their product to the visiting Chinese delegation.
“The program gave me numerous tools for the future,” says Feiglin. “For example, how to communicate with people better, how to manage things, promote sales and be a businesswoman. Beyond the personal experience, one also undergoes a group experience; I became acquainted with special girls and have made friends for life. I also learned how not to compromise and how to express my opinions in public.”
Malka Baruchin, Bonizoom’s deputy director, added: “The program was very enriching. I learned a lot about the business world, and I also learned that selling a product is not as easy as it may seem. I also understood that with team work, everything is possible. But most importantly – I received a myriad of tools that will help me throughout my life.”
How did you feel during the meeting with the Chinese delegation?
“Our experience with the Chinese was amazing and nothing like anything I had ever experienced before,” says Feiglin. “I suddenly found myself having to explain about the product in English in the best possible way. Sometimes they tackled us with tough questions, but fortunately for us, we demonstrated complete proficiency and knew how to provide answers for everything. I think the most fascinating thing was meeting people from China, people we had never thought we would meet. I think it’s a formative experience that will remain with me always.”
“I never imagined that I would be able to conduct a conversation in fluent English with people from China who would actually understand what I was saying about the product,” says Te’ena Lapid, who serves as the company’s spokesperson. “I also learned just how important it is to try out new things without being afraid or hesitant. Any situation that could provide you with tools is worth experiencing. And there is an added value: you get to meet new people from different continents and learn about them. Personally, I learned that one must never be afraid of trying, because everything has its benefits no matter how scary it may seem at first.”
Yonat Lemberger, principal of Ohr Torah’s Oriya High School for Girls, commented after the girls’ victory: “The students’ achievement is a clear indication of their creativity, their ability to think outside the box, the fact that they are mission-oriented and have a real desire to succeed. Watching them turn an idea that was born out of a sheer need into a real, practical, high-quality product – is an exciting moment for me, in itself, besides the fact that they actually won.”
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, president of the Ohr Torah network, said: “We find it of great importance that besides routine study and preparation for the matriculation examinations, the students also get an added value from their school experience and learn things like resourcefulness and creativity. We are proud and happy that we have been able to give over these values to our students.”