Glamourous MC, Niki Seberini welcomed us with poise, as the countdown struck zero at the Virtual Sasfin ORT Jet Annual Awards Ceremony, on the 18th of November 2020.

The evening set-off like firecrackers in the sky, lightening the mood and homes of those watching.

“Who would have thought that we would have been able to enjoy an awards ceremony from the comfort of our home, I know we look good from the waist up. I called it the half-dressed look, which is trending in 2020” said Seberini

“2020 challenges has brought out the best and sometimes the worst in some of us. There are those of us are coping, swimming strong against the stream, others finding it difficult to tread water. But we are all learning to adapt. So there are words we are using more. “Zooming is the new normal” “resilience”, “adapting” and “pivoting” is what we are using over and over again” she added

The ORT SA chairman, Ellis Falkof gave a warm welcome to the Chief Rabbi, Amit Lev, mentees, mentors, guest speaker Mic Mann, supporters, donors, staff and friends!

Listen to this he said. “My 5 year plan is to survive the next 6 months. To address the new normal, ORT Jet has refreshed some of the mentorship elements which are in the pipeline. We have been running think tanks with professional mentors to structure a mentor enrichment programme to add to the mentors’ skillsets”

He emphasised ORT Jet’s impact “we ran 92 training sessions which were attended by 3375 people, hosted 138 hours of webinars. Recordings are available on Youtube, now renamed to JETflix” appropriate for the time we spend watching NETflix” said Falkof

The Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein was honoured to be invited to this occasion.

“The work of ORT Jet, mentors and mentees is more important as ever. The mentors who give generously of their time to guide others, and to the mentees for your incredible courage, tenacity, innovation and creativity.”

“ORT Jet brings the idea of partnership to the world, I am so honoured to have been part of it from the very beginning. What always drew me was the partnership between the mentors and mentees” said Goldstein.

“Partnership is the model for building society, then great things happens. Partnering with mentors, mentees, the staff at the organisation and donors. Businesses make the world into a better place. It provides jobs, uplifts society, and families.” he concluded

We were joined by Amit Lev, Trade & Investment Commissioner, Israel Embassy SA, who also drew on the idea of partnership, particularly between South Africa and Israel.

“I have been in South Africa almost 3 years and have met many entrepreneurs. “There is no lack of talent in South Africa, they have the knowledge and experience, and can take it forward. What is lacking is the ecosystem.”

“This is where ORT Jet plays a role, there’s a community. Not entrepreneurs just working alone. People can give you advice and connect you to investors.”

“I’m sure there will be successful start-ups coming from this country. The trade commission in South Africa, will be able to support any initiative, bringing advice from other entrepreneurs in Israel along with real case studies. It’s great to see the bond between these two countries in various sectors” said Lev

A quick flash of the ORT Jet impact came up on the screen.

“The staff go overboard to cater to one’s personal needs, they assign you a personal mentor, where people in the business world give incredible expert advice” said an ORT Jet business, Charlene Brett.

“I can’t even count the number of hours I sat at this very table in the garden mentoring and training people, anyway I possibly could. What an incredible organisation, the way they have adapted and put themselves out there. I am absolutely so proud to being part of it, thank you for allowing me to do this” Said Facilitator and 2019 mentor winner, Mike Said

South African Futurist and guest speaker, Mic Mann, co-founder of Mann Made, and Co-Ceo of SingularityU South Africa shared the world of possibility with the audience.

Singularity SA’s mission is to bring a global network of change makers. They want to leapfrog Africa into the 4th industrial Revolution by empowering its people to create abundance and sustainable, holistic ways of living and working.

“My goal here today is to take you through how I believe we can build an exponential Africa that will lead the way through this technological transformation and create a future for all of us by creating a mind-set of life-long learning and using the technologies that are available today” said Mann

“Scalable learning is the future, learning from the future, not just learning from the past. And learning from each other. The internet has aided this and opened the flood gates of knowledge for all across the globe.”

Mic gave some examples of how technology has exploded.

“60% of the population have mobile phones. The internet economy has the potential to contribute over 180 billion dollars to Africa’s economy and productivity in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, financial services, and education and supply chains.”

Mic mentioned some online learning platforms and the rise of online universities.

“Have you heard of Khana Academy? You can learn anything for free forever for everyone. A whole ton of subjects” Then there’s Udacity, they created 3-6 months degrees, you have a good chance of getting a job at a tech company and it can be remote.” Said Mann

“Another great learning tool, the global learning Xprize offers huge cash incentives for solving global world problems. We teach students basic maths, English and writing without a teacher. 5 finalists took part in Tanzania and were handed tablets.”

“People are also learning from online and live talks, being exposed to many topics in one setting. This helps you understand the thread between all knowledge.”

Our eyes were opened to augmented and virtual realities as another method of learning.

“We can learn through virtual reality, we learn much more by experiencing. This is a project we are working on, such as re-doing science curriculum using virtual reality.”

“The future of work is going to involve gaming and virtual environments. This is dwarfing the music and movie industry. People even pay you to play games and to test them.” Said Mann

Who would have thought a job is teaching people how to do something? Or reviewing products you have bought? Mann discussed the ways of accessing the global economy.

“Create content for Youtube. Youtube has become one of the top education platforms in the world and is an incredible way to access the global economy.” Some also have a professional career in live streaming.  Over 25 000 virtual assistants worldwide and has expanded during the pandemic. You can get a job anywhere in the world doing this.” Said Mann

Helene Itzkin, ORT Jet HOD shared the ORT Jet Roadtrip 2020 journey and how the team managed to adapt.

“We packed our bags, filled our car with JET Fuel, and with excitement hopped in to begin our 2020 road trip. Never did we expect that a few kilometres down the road all the pit stops would suddenly close.”

“We soon realised we were traveling down a new unchartered road, offering support to anyone that needed it.”

“We had to pick up our business rescue panel on route so that they could take care of the businesses addressing their unprecedented needs. They ensured that their needs were met and that the correct GPS coordinates were supplied for grants loans TERS and UIF.”

COBRA and Gesher asked if we could all travel together in case we needed to help one another, which we did.”

She gave a special thank you to Sasfin Bank, Mantis Security, DNAlysis, singularity and manmade media for sponsoring the event. And to super hosts, Avi Levy and Dan Stillerman from the Excel Academy.

“We are all still traveling the rocky road sometimes the potholes force us the swerve out a bit, but our vehicle is fast adaptable and flexible. We ensure that our business training manual is constantly up to date and of relevance”

“From all of us at ORT Jet, we are so pleased you all hopped on board with us, lets journey together” said Itzkin

Time is an incredibly precious commodity. ORT Jet mentors, facilitators and panel member’s give of their time willingly and generously. On behalf of ORT Jet, Seberini thanked and announced these special individuals.

Soon after, the business and mentor winners for 2020 were proudly announced.

The Business winner for 2020 was awarded to Darryl Epstein from Drone Inspection Services. And the mentor winner went to leading strategist, Ian Mann. The winners each received a ticket to attend the two day SingularityU SA summit next year!

Steve Zagey, ORT Jet chairman was enthusiastic about the achievements this year.

“We pivoted to a range of online applications, miraculously and efficiently. The business rescue was set up to help businesses during lockdown to come to grip with practical realities, and different reliefs out there. I am grateful for the panel team, partnerships with all the other organisations such as the Gesher fund. All the people who gave extra resources.”

“Keep your eye on the ball. Discover your inner strengths. Keep important aspect of finances to keep updated, look at it every day to see where you are going. Look at your business plan and competitors. And Remember ORT Jet is always there.” Said Zagey

We closed off with Ariellah Rosenberg, the CEO of ORT SA who certainly raised the leadership bar this year keeping the ORT flag held up high.

“The theme for the event is the road trip, and I can’t think of a better team than the team we have, to be on that Road trip. Especially given the obstacles we have had. It’s been a pleasure driving with the team. And to all the mentors who have been with us on the journey. Amazingly, whenever we needed something, they were always happy to help” said Rosenberg

“When we help a business, we are not only helping a person. We are helping his family and the families of his employees. We are helping the community. Everybody coming together to help the community is real Ubuntu which is so real to South Africa and the Jewish community”