By Maayan Hoffman
Jerusalem will celebrate entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity on Wednesday, June 20, at the first-ever Jerusalem WeWork Creator Awards.
Ten finalists in three categories – business ventures, nonprofit and performing arts – will compete for $700,000 in funding and the opportunity to win more at the Creator Awards Global Finals in New York in January 2019.
Adam Neumann, CEO and co-founder of WeWork, said the organization decided to hold this year’s event in Jerusalem, “to infuse the Creator Awards with the city’s unique spirit and energy. It’s the perfect place to invite creators from all backgrounds, industries and all walks of life to come together to celebrate innovation and new ideas.”
WeWork will be opening its first location in Jerusalem later this year. In 2017, more than 4,000 people attended the first Israel Creator Awards event in Tel Aviv.
Among the finalists: Emerj, an internal app for organizations where employees can discreetly seek advice and get connected to the most relevant people for mentoring or job shadowing; Hand in Hand, a growing network of Jewish-Arab schools and communities; and The Angelcy, an independent band of six musicians that creates, arranges and records music together.
In the business venture category, Yehudit Abrams is pitching MonitHer, a whole breast ultrasound device. Abrams – a mechanical engineer and physician who completed her post doc at the NASA Ames Research Center – moved to Israel nine months ago from California. The WeWork Creator Awards is the first competition she has entered.
MonitHer uses an FDA approved computer aided detection system to help women monitor their breast each month, providing dynamic pictures of breast changes, and offering what Abrams believes to be the earliest and most accurate detection of breast cancer ever possible.
If MonitHer detects changes, a woman receives a report indicating such and she is then given the opportunity – with a click of a button – to immediately send a complete history with multiple high-quality images of her breast overtime, along with detailed reports, directly to her physicians or one of MonitHer’s radiologists or staff for review. Ultimately, Abrams said she plans to use AI for immediate assessment.
According to Abrams, every 19 seconds someone is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 74 seconds someone dies from the disease, totaling half-a-million people each year. Further, some cancers metastasize rapidly, making it critical to catch them at an early diagnostic stage.
“The five-year survival rate drops 95% to 23% once the cancer metastasizes,” she explained. “Unfortunately, this can happen in a few months, yet we are screening everyone to two years.”
Through MonitHer, Abrams is “democratizing this technology – empowering the individual to monitor her breast health in the home for only $5 and 10 minutes a month.”
Competing in the nonprofit category is Yotsrot, also known as Turning the Tables, which was founded by Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, who each day she would walk to work through the old Tel Aviv central bus station where she would see prostitutes.
“I looked at myself and thought, ‘What if that was me?’ I had the strength to make my life different, but I wanted to do something to make their lives different, too,” she said.
So, Ben-Moshe started Turning the Tables, a rehabilitation program that promotes the economic advancement of women exiting the cycle of prostitution. They receive vocational training in sewing and pattern creations and in digital marketing. They are then given a platform to sell their own goods – dresses, tank tops, handbags and more. Many of the patterns contain the slogan, “I am not for sale” or “person not an object.”
The women, most of whom are still active prostitutes upon joining the program, are also given a safe environment to work in with mentors, employers and customers.
“If prostitution means you feel you have no other options, we say, ‘We’ll help you to create new ones,’” said Ben-Moshe, who’s Turning the Tables is based in Tel Aviv. A second hub will open in Haifa this summer. “Hundreds of women already did.”
WeWork established the Creator Awards for creators like Ben-Moshe and Abrams. Any individual or organization can apply online and be considered.
This year, finalists were invited to present at one of eight 2018 regional semi-final events in Mexico City, Shanghai, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, London, Berlin, Nashville or Jerusalem. Before the event, nonprofit and business venture award finalists pitch at WeWork locations in front of a panel of judges. During the award ceremony on Wednesday, finalists will pitch live on stage for a chance to win big. The performing arts awardee will receive up to $72,000, the nonprofits winner up to $130,000, and the winning business as much as $360,000.
Since 2017, WeWork has hosted 10 regional Creator Awards events across the globe and given away more than $17 million in Creator Awards funding to 187 winners.
WeWork provides more than 256,000 members around the world with the space, community and services – through physical and virtual offerings – they need to create their life’s work, while helping them collaborate with like-minded people who can help them grow their businesses and succeed. WeWork currently has 274 physical locations in 74 cities and 22 countries.
“Israel,” said Neumann, “is a constant source of inspiration, talent and growth for our company.”