Gal Hever was a student in industrial engineering at BGU when she met another student, Yotam Zuker, the co-founder of Tech7, the hi-tech innovation community in Beersheba. Gal got caught up in the idea of spreading the word on the innovation scene in Beersheba (B7). She soon joined Tech7 community as an activist, taking the big role of starting a new community, Tech7 Juniors, alongside her Starter Class Course challenge. Tech7 community established itself as an axis of networking, collaboration and information flow in the hi-tech business and eco-system in southern Israel and mainly Beersheba. With this success the natural next step was nurturing the next generation of the community. Tech7 Juniors took upon itself the role of shakers and movers among B7 teenagers. The launching event for the school year activities was hosted by Carasso Science Park in Sept. 2016. One of the major speakers was Etai Pinkas, a teenager that already made some money from the apps he developed. Etai gave an inspirational talk on believing and daring. With the help of her activist friends in Tech7, Gal arranged a successful teenager Hackathon on smart cities challenges. The hackathon took place in November 2016 in collaboration with the municipality of B7 and local schools. The teens, mentored by the adult Tech7 community members, had to address one of the issues or challenges of a smart city in different areas such as security, transportation, education, and environment.
In only three days, the finalists in the hackathon created smartphone applications for the local population: Quick Shelter – a quick and easy way to find the closest bomb shelter as sirens go off; Hoogly – an app that allows kids and their parents an easy way to find afterschool activities that fits their taste and schedule; Smart waste container – this app helps the city monitor the waste containers and clear the waste when necessary. Following the Hackathon, dozens of B7 teens attended the technological workshops and courses on WordPress, Arduino, Python, cyber security and more. In some of the events the presentations were given by professionals on a volunteer basis, while others were on a peer to peer format. Beersheba Youth Council got excited with the new player in youngsters lives and helped spread the word on these activities and events. A highlight of this collaboration was a special Girls Night event where girls met young women hi-tech entrepreneurs, heard their story and got inspiration. With Tech7 Juniors, teenagers in B7 get a chance to closely interact with the local entrepreneurs and with the startup companies active in Gav-yam technological park.
It’s summer time now and the end of the school year. Tech7 Juniors is preparing for another exciting year of events, but not before we celebrate the end of the current year with a big event. The teenagers are invited to meet a major figure from the entrepreneurship scene, Ms. Adi Ronen, the founder of the largest online fashion shop in Israel, Adika, to learn from her experience and ask for her advice. The event will also host new innovators from Starter Class, with a panel for Q&A. The event is taking place on June 25th, at CDI Negev, based in the technological park. Tech7 Juniors is a voluntary group that aims to spread the idea of innovation as a way of life amongst teenagers in the geographic periphery. “Yes we can” is a notion that any restless youngster with a little bit of creativity, wits, and drive can find fellow youngsters who want to pursue innovation as a way of life. In Tech7 Juniors they can find a home for ideas, contacts, inspiration and more.