Discrimination against employees because of their age is illegal. The situation in the labor market, however, and especially in high tech, shows that the law's effect on the actual situation is limited. Employees in their 40s and 50s are pushed out of the labor market, and find it difficult to get another job. "Old" employees are regarded as more expensive, and in some cases, their knowledge has become outdated over the years. There are, however, many very well-qualified employees whose only sin is their relatively advanced age.
One of the concerns that discriminates in favor of over-45 entrepreneurs is the Merage Institute. Next Monday, the fund will hold its 45+ Entrepreneurs competition. The competition is being held for the fourth straight year, with a prize for the winner consisting of $100,000 and a place in the Innovative Bridge Program conducted by Merage in the US in order to connect US investors with Israeli entrepreneurs.
Six ventures have reached the finals of the competition. One is Mind's Eye Diagnostics, founded a year ago, which deals with detection of attention deficit disorders using a cellphone. The company founder is Ophir Atar, 52, who formerly managed a games development company, with an emphasis on thought games.
Mind's Eye's app uses a phone camera to scan the user's eye, and then informs him what is affecting his level of attention. The app can recommend a specific food or physical activity likely to improve his level of attention.
Another company in the finals is TrekAce, founded by Ronen Gabbay, 48. The company is trying to assist combat soldiers to cope with the cognitive load on the battlefield with a wearable component - a sleeve with sensors worn by the soldier. The orders received by the soldier are transferred to him by touch, which reduces the chances of error, and enables him to continue sighting through his weapon during a battle.
Another venture that reached the finals belongs to Dr. Zachi Berger, 62, and Dr. Leonid Sternik, 50. They jointly founded Append Medical, which deals in reducing the likelihood of strokes among patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.
The company says that atrial fibrillation is a cardiac dysrhythmia liable to lead to blood clots that can reach the brain and cause a stroke. The company is developing a special device that could replace the use of anticoagulant drugs.
Merage Institute executive director Yishay Aizik said, "The response to the competition this year was impressive, not only in the number of bids sent to us, but also in the range of fields encompassed by these bids. After having gone over hundreds of bids, we have no doubt that the spirit of Israeli entrepreneurship is also alive and kicking among those over 45, and we are delighted that this competition is becoming an annual motivating factor for all those aspiring entrepreneurs just waiting for a chance."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2017
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