There’s no doubt in Dror Tamir’s mind that winning at the WeWork Creator Awards in Tel Aviv last year transformed his startup, Hargol FoodTech. The company, which produces food products made from grasshoppers, has gone from being a passion project to a thriving enterprise attracting high-profile investors and partnerships.
“It has absolutely been a game changer,” says Tamir, adding that taking home the top prize of $360,000 has helped fund his company’s advances in research and production. It’s also provided a credibility that has opened doors he didn’t even know existed.
Next week, Tamir plans to take time out of his busy schedule of setting up partnerships, meetings with potential investors, and setting up new cages for the 1 million grasshoppers on his farm so that he can attend the WeWork Creator Awards in Jerusalem. But this time he won’t be pitching his company on stage. He’s one of six winners from last year’s event who will be looking for new hires at this year’s job fair. Collectively, the companies are looking to hire about 70 people.
This is a major milestone for the Creator Awards, which was launched as a platform to “recognize and reward creators” in 2017. It’s the first time that past winners will participate in the event’s job fair, which will include about 35 companies from local startups, non-profit organizations, and corporations like Intel.
“I’m sure we will find a lot of exciting people at the awards in Jerusalem,” says Tamir, whose company wants to hire about 10 new staffers, including nutritionists, food engineers, and other positions for its grasshopper farm in northern Israel.
Since the first Creator Awards was held in Washington, D.C., more than 300 companies have made more than 15,000 connections with potential new employees around the world. The job fair is one more way that the Creator Awards go beyond just celebrating outstanding entrepreneurs — they let people find and connect with each other over meaningful work opportunities.
QueenB, a nonprofit that strives to increase the number of women working in Israel’s technology sector, is also among the Tel Aviv winners that will be looking for employees at the Jerusalem event. The organization, which is teaching girls sought-after coding skills, plans to add at least six people to its management team, including high-level positions like content and communication directors. In addition, there are a number of part-time positions that would be good for university students, says QueenB cofounder Yasmin Dunsky.
“We saw from the event last year the kind of people that will be there: very creative people who think big,” says Dunsky. “It’s the right vibe for us.”
QueenB, founded in 2016, attributes its growth over the past year to winning a $72,000 prize at the Tel Aviv Creator Awards. The money allowed the program to expand to universities all over the country.
“It made us think of ourselves a lot more seriously,” says Dunsky. “It made us start dreaming much bigger.”
Tel Aviv Creator Awards winner EyeFree Assisting Communication, which is developing an eye-tracking device to help people who can’t speak called EyeControl, will also take part in the job fair. Like others who attended the Tel Aviv awards, business development director Tania Suares says the upcoming event will attract the type of people her company needs.
“It’s an event that attracts a pool of creative people who believe in what we are doing,” says Suares. She credits the attention the company has garnered during the past year to winning $130,000 at the Tel Aviv Creator Award and the $500,000 prize at the Creator Awards Global Finals in New York.
“We feel like it gave us the opportunity to plan farther out and to grow,” says Suares. The company recently secured approval to sell its device in Europe, and hopes to have it on the market there by next year.
For all of these Tel Aviv winners, being part of the job is fair is not just about growing their companies, but also about encouraging new entrepreneurs.
“You never really know who will hear your story and get inspired, and what can come of it,” says Tamir. “And it will be fun. Last year wasn’t fun, it was quite stressful — until we won.”