Lego entrepreneur wins prestigious international award
Israeli innovator named Entrepreneur of the Year by YBI
An innovative entrepreneur from Israel grabbed the top prize at The Prince’s Youth Business International (YBI) Entrepreneur of the Year Awards last night.
Amir Asor, founder of Young Engineers, was chosen after impressing the judges with his initiative to train and inspire the next generation of engineers, using Lego.
Asor’s unique business helps children to understand complex physics and mathematics by providing lesson plans in which a teacher demonstrates scientific principle with the help of an interactive Lego model, then asks the children to build their own model – cementing the principle in theory and practice.
The technique was inspired by the learning difficulties Asor himself suffered as a child, and is designed to help other children overcome educational struggles. Over 2000 students in 120 locations across Israel now attend Young Engineers, and Asor and his team of 20 staff have ambitious global expansion plans.
Presenting the award, Wendy Lloyd, head of community investment at Barclays Capital, said of the finalists: “I doubt that there isn’t anybody here tonight who in all of our eyes are not only winners but exceptional human beings with much much more to give. We applaud each and every one of you and we will look forward to following what will doubtless be remarkable careers.”
Held at the Museum of London on the eve of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), The YBI Entrepreneur of the Year Awards aimed to celebrate the successes of the young innovators the organisation supports across 33 countries.
Founded by The Prince of Wales in 2000, YBI is a global network of not-for-profit initiatives which work to tackle social issues and reduce unemployment by supporting young people to launch their own businesses and providing mentors to encourage business growth.
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The winners – who also included automotive entrepreneur Deki Wangmo from Bhutan in the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year category and Bhausaheb Janjire, the Indian founder of a 200-strong electronics company, who was named Ambassador of the Year – were judged by a panel led by Jenny Sheils, director of finance and operations for ORBIS Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Highlighting the importance of the event, special guest and former Dragons’ Den panellist Doug Richard said:
“Almost all new jobs in western economies come from young small businesses. Almost all innovation across the world comes from young small businesses. The challenge we have is that really large corporations do not see the advantage of working with the young companies and drawing out that productivity, that advancement, that innovation.”
Lord Mervyn Davies, who was also in attendance, added: “If you look at the UK, we’re a very innovative nation and we’re incredibly strong in all sorts of different industries but the reality is, we need to create more role models across society, of entrepreneurs that have made it.
“I think in the UK we have an amazing opportunity to create a new generation but we do need more business angels, we do need more mentoring and we do need a better venture capital industry. I believe this is a great opportunity but we’ve got to grab hold of this and we need clusters of activity right across the UK.”