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unistream 311.(Photo by: courtesy)
Young inventors ‘face the future’
Car seat for dogs wins Unistream contest.
A car seat for dogs and a towel with pockets were among the inventions by high school students that won top prizes on Thursday night at the annual Facing the Future Competition held at Bar- Ilan University in Ramat Gan.

Some 450 students aged between 15-18 – all part of the three year Unistream business leadership Junior MBA program – competed for NIS 15,000 in prizes, with awards going to two groups from Acre and one from Or Yehuda.

Unistream is a non-profit organization that aims to educate and empower disadvantaged Israeli youth by matching them with mentors from the business and science worlds. With state-of-the-art centers in Netivot, Kfar Yona, Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Gilboa, Upper Nazereth, Eilat, Afula, Acre, Hatzor Haglilit and Or Yehuda, students spend three years in the program, coming out with a new creation each year. The competition, which awards a prize to each year, is judged by some of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs.

The top prize for the first-year participants went to a group of 24 pupils from Acre who invented a car seat for dogs.

The second-year winner, which is also from Acre, received first prize for inventing a “Yamba,” a long towel with zippered-pockets to hold your keys and wallet without others seeing any bulges. The Yamba is made of a special cloth that absorbs water within minutes and also converts into a portable bag.

The third-year award went to a group from Or Yehuda, which worked together with food technologists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot to create a product called “YTaimLi” (Wow, it’s tasty), natural, flavored pills designed to be put into water and instantly create a lemonade, tea or coffee drink. The youngsters, accompanied by their professional mentor, imported special machines from China to realize the project.

“Exposing kids to the secrets of the business world at a young age tremendously enhances their chances for success – in any field they choose,” said Rony Zarom, founder and chairman of the board of Unistream, who grew up in Ramle.

According to Unistream, its rigorous three-year program combines business with community activism. Teens from both Jewish and Muslim communities are carefully selected to participate and arranged into regional groups.

Each group is then matched with a mentor, comprising some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and CEOs.

The program has is now a model for the government, with Minister of Development for the Negev and the Galilee Silvan Shalom set to open new centers in the North and the Negev.
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