A child playing with the winning games app at Beit Issie Shapiro.
A child playing with the winning games app at Beit Issie Shapiro.

Microsoft Israel’s recent Innovate for Good (i4G) competition drew dozens of 15- to 20-year-olds from across Israel, each hoping to gain attention for a social application his or her team developed on the Windows 8 mobile platform with help from Microsoft mentors at the company’s Ra’anana site.

The 15 best ideas – all based on ideas submitted by nonprofit organizations — were chosen by Microsoft and its partner in the project, Appleseeds Academy, an organization dedicated to using high-tech to help disadvantaged youth and adults. The judging panel included Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Peri and Microsoft Israel CEO Danny Yamin.

First prize went to a games app called IssiePlay, built with accessibility features for children with special needs. The app, available for free download on the Microsoft app store, was developed by a group of teens on behalf of Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana. Each member of the team won a Kinect-enhanced Xbox 360 gaming system.

The audience’s favorite app, developed for the Young Entrepreneurs organization, enables ongoing contact among young entrepreneurs as they brainstorm ideas, submit their proposal and find suppliers for the products needed for their project.

Other apps chosen as finalists included an application to increase safety for the elderly; to integrate young people from Israel’s periphery into the job market; and to coordinate and connect potential volunteers for nonprofit organizations.

“Microsoft places great importance on the development of breakthrough technologies that meet social needs,” said spokeswoman Hagar Kustianovsky. “This project combines technology, social value, and voluntarism, and is primarily designed to channel the knowledge and skills of youth to these values — and will benefit not only them, but the rest of society.”