Two students from Magen David Yeshiva in Brooklyn have been named winners of the 2009-2010 J. Morton Davis/Lander College for Men Student Entrepreneur of the Year Competition for their invention, “Winergy,” a turbine that captures hot air released by central air conditioner condenser units and recycles it back into the unit, thereby saving both homeowners and commercial building owners energy and money.
The competition, in its second year, is designed to motivate students at yeshiva high schools by encouraging their ingenuity. Thirty-one business plans were received from students at yeshiva high schools from throughout the New York metropolitan area and reviewed by distinguished judges.
Five teams of students were selected as finalists and invited to give oral presentations recently before distinguished judges who included leading business entrepreneurs, executives and educators. The winners were chosen for their creativity, sound business plans, and oral presentations. Prizes totaling $3,000 were awarded, with $1,500 going to the grand prize winners; $1,000 to the second place winners; and $500 to the third place winner. All five teams received plaques honoring their achievements.
The team of Eric Forkush, 17, of Woodmere, Long Island, and George Bangiyev, 17, of Long Beach, L.I., both students at Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, N.Y., won second place for inventing headphones that inflate to fit snugly inside one’s ears or over them, solving the problem of headphone buds that fall out when one is playing sports. The headphones are controlled through the use of a small, manual air pump. Forkush was last year’s grand prize winner for his invention, Bus Alert!, a handheld unit that alerts children and parents when the school bus is arriving. He has a patent pending on the unit and said he hopes to be in full-scale production shortly.
Gilad Katz, 17, of North Woodmere, also a student at Rambam Mesivta High School, took third prize for his idea, Cat Café, where people who love cats but for whatever reason cannot own one, can visit a lounge, have coffee, and engage with about two dozen cats that reside on the premises. There would be two caretakers assigned to each cat and the animals would receive regular veterinary care. Katz said he was inspired by similar cafes that are popular in Asia.