A Heschel Fellows Program Alumna’s Start-up Develops Sustainable Innovation

In the beginning of January, the Heschel Center’s alumni came together for an evening with Professor Dani Rabinowitz from Tel Aviv university and discuss concerning trends with regards social dimensions of climate change. The evening also included presentations of four prominent alumni from 2017-2018 cohort (18). The impressive presentations were conducted by several alumni who presented their post-program initiatives.

One of the presentations featured  Hagar Lidor, founder and CEO of Ayana consultants, who created a digital community of small sustainability-oriented businesses. Her purpose was to share knowledge and innovative business practices and spread the word to other businesses to increase their triple-bottom line.

Another presenter, Sharon Barak, founded a start-up initiative that has developed new proprietary technology for biodegradable plastics, with an adjustable level of biodegradability. This development has the potential of being a significantly disruptive technology in packaging and other plastics uses, and recently won the first prize in the international accelerator “Max Challenge” in the field of Global Impact. “I am a bio-engineer. Before beginning my fellowship with the Heschel Center I managed product development and quality assurance for a company that produces plastic supplements. I was exposed to the negative side of plastic and I was concerned about the usage of plastic for one-time use and the waste that it creates.” When Sharon entered the program, she already planned to work on a start-up in the field of plastic engineering. “During the Heschel Fellows Program, I understood the meaning behind what I am doing. It was clear to me that it needed to be done but the program made it clear that there is an urgency: it had to happen now.” She adds.

“I received a lot of inspiration from the program facilitators,” She says, “They provided me a great deal of support that I have what it takes to succeed, ideas about how to get what I’m looking for, and they helped me think about the questions I need to ask myself when developing the product, to make sure that the product is not harming the environment.”

Sharon and her startup company are in advanced stages with various corporations who are looking for sustainable solutions for their packaging.