By Marcus Leach
A young Israeli businessman who has created a business which uses Lego and robotics to help children understand engineering has been selected as the winner of a global competition for young entrepreneurs.
Amir Asor, 26, won the YBI Entrepreneur of the Year competition last night — organised by Youth Business International - after a panel of expert judges conducted interviews with the three finalists.
The business, which Amir set up in 2007 and now employs 25 people, teaches schoolchildren complex principles through the simple application of Lego models — and so far this year more than 2500 children via 130 educational centres across Israel have received the tuition. In recognition of winning the competition, which is supported by Barclays Capital, Amir will receive $5,000 to aid his business growth.
Amir was announced the winner at a gala awards dinner in central London attended by leading business figures such as Doug Richard, founder of School for Startups, Lord Mervyn Davies, former chairman of Standard Chartered, Will Butler-Adams, managing director of Brompton Bicycle and Priya Lakhani, founder of Masala Masala.
"We selected Amir Asor because his business is innovative, unique and perhaps, most importantly, has the potential to expand greatly in the coming years,” Lead judge Rich Ricci, co-CEO of Barclays Capital, said.
“The judges loved the fact that his invention is making a contribution to children's learning and that he was able to turn a childhood disadvantage into a strong business advantage.”
Amir Asor said he was delighted to have won such a prestigious prize, and in doing so helping school children.
“Its a great feeling to win the competition, and I’m now even more sure that expanding my business around the world will be of huge benefit to schoolchildren," he said.
"Winning this award will help me to raise the profile of my business which will be of great help as I look for business partners to expand my operations.
“I’m really grateful to the work that YBI does, especially through its local member Keren Shemesh, and I look forward to working with them even more closely in the future — especially as a mentor.”
The two runners-up in the competition were:
· Haja Funyamin, founder of Hafa Foods and Frozen Foods in Chennai, India — a fast-growing business selling over 3 million frozen snack items like samosas each year.
· Axel Arvizu and Juan Roman, founders of La Tortilleria in Toronto, Canada — an innovative business bringing fresh, authentic Mexican food to Canadians.
“At a time when youth unemployment is increasingly hitting the headlines, young entrepreneurs like Amir Asor are showing that with the right kind of support, it is possible for young people to take the initiative and not only create employment for themselves but for other people too. The world needs more successful entrepreneurs like Amir, Axel and Juan, and Haja,” Andrew Devenport said.
The Awards act as a prelude to Global Entrepreneurship Week, the largest entrepreneur movement in the world, which begins on 14 November 2011.
With over 40,000 events taking place in 104 countries, the week is a celebration of entrepreneurship and will see the participation of 10 million people across the world.
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