Prince Charles is president of YBI
Photo: AP

Israeli wins Prince Charles award

Amir Asor of Rehovot receives YBI Entrepreneur of the Year award. 'I did this to make money, hope to realize myself in a broader sense,' he says

LONDON - Major achievement for Israeli entrepreneur Amir Asor (26) from Rehovot. Last Thursday Asor won the title of Youth Business International (YBI) Entrepreneur of the Year award in London. The president of the YBI is none other than Britain's Prince Charles.


The business, which Asor 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 centers across Israel have received the tuition.


Asor established the business with the help of a subsidized loan he received from the Keren Shemesh Fund of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation after he was rejected by various banks.


The kit's distribution began in 2008 with 100 children. Today, at least 2,200 students at 130 education centers in Israel take part in classes that make use of the kits supplied by Asor's company which is called: The Asor Group – Young Entrepreneurs.


The business intends to expand its product distribution and sell them to additional countries within the next few months.


Asor who was born and raised in Dimona, the youngest of three children, beat entrepreneurs from 40 different countries and won a grant of $5,000 for his business.


The jury declared him the winner after interviewing the three finalists who included Asor, an Indian entrepreneur with a samosas and frozen snacks business and two Canadian partners with a Mexican food business.


The awards ceremony was attended by many major names in British and global business.


Lead judge Rich Ricci, co-CEO of Barclays Capital, said: “We selected Amir Asor because his business is innovative, unique and perhaps, most importantly, has the potential to expand greatly in the coming years.”


'Grateful to YBI'

“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.”


Upon winning the award Asor said: “It's 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.


“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,” he added.


Who were the first people you spoke to after the win?


"After the ceremony I realized that I ran out of credit on my sim card. Luckily, Israel's economic attaché took out his phone and said: 'Call your mother.' I spoke to my family and a day later I sent a summarizing email to everybody, who have all been very supportive."


Were you surprised by the win?


"Not really, I thought there was a big chance I would win and felt that I deserved it, but it wasn't proper to say that outright."


What makes your product a business success?


"Our product is in demand anywhere around the world, because education is relevant to everyone and also because it is an issue still in the early stages and you don't see a lot of companies that succeed in efficiently integrating between games and learning. We have a prominent relative advantage in a market that is open to receiving it."


Where internationally and when do you intend to sell the product?


"From next September, on a major scale. It will be distributed in England, throughout Europe, in Australia, South Africa, Latin America and even Nigeria where we intend to run a pilot project soon. In the first phase I've started working in Florida."


Inspired by my family

So, are you on your way to being a billionaire?


"That's what I'm aiming for, but only my bank manager will know in a few months or more when he looks at my account."


What is the motto behind your product?


"I'm a great believer in the 'don't force it' system. As someone who barely made it through the minimum requirements in the Mathematics Bagrut (matriculation exams) I could definitely see myself as 'intellectually challenged' though I did complete all my exams.


"It didn't happen because I understood that some things only work when you do something with love and enjoyment. The penny only dropped when I was doing my bachelor's degree in Finance and Computer Science at the Open University. It was an idea that led me to plan the kit we sell today. It is important that people come to work with a smile."


Is Steve Jobs your inspiration?


"No, my inspiration comes from my family who are tolerant and supportive in the extreme. What I saw at home is what I show the world in life in general and especially in business."


Are you an educator or a businessman?


"I expressly did this to make money, besides that I also hope of course to realize myself in a broader sense."


Natalie Groisman contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 11.27.11, 08:45
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