Ilana Ben-Ari

Toy Designer • Social Entrepreneur • sheEO

Ahoy hoy.

Ilana Ben-Ari is a toy designer turned social entrepreneur. She is the inventor of the Empathy Toy and founder of Twenty One Toys, the passion project that took flight after a school board found her TEDx talk on Twitter and put in their first toy order. She can currently be found at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto working on the upcoming Failure Toy, or running around the world teaching schools and offices how to teach empathy with toys.

Read Ilana Ben-Ari's official bio below.

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Inventor of:

The Empathy Toy
The Failure Toy

Media Coverage:

CBC Our Toronto
Time Magazine
Fast Company
Huffington Post
Yahoo! Finance
National Post
The Guardian
The Independent
Financial Post
Yonge Street


TEDx Talk
Growth Mindset


The Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship Conference 2016
Les Tablettistes
DMZ Youth Entrepreneurship Panel
StartupHere Toronto Mayor's Panel
Communitech Keynote
Internet Librarian Keynote

Gold Stars:

winner of SheEO Radical Generosity award
Ariane de Rothschild Fellow
Spin Master Innovation Fund winner
Emerging Entrepreneur award
Agent of Change winner

Ilana Ben-Ari's Official Bio:

Ilana Ben-Ari is a multiple-award winning industrial designer, TEDx speaker, and Ariane de Rothschild Fellow. She has been featured in the Guardian UK, was Independent UK's small business person of the week, and winner of C2MTL's emerging entrepreneur award. She has been working at the intersection of design and social innovation for over 7 years at studios in Montreal, Helsinki, London, and, most recently Toronto, Ontario.

Ilana is best known as the founder, CEO and lead designer of her first startup - Twenty One Toys. She transformed her thesis project into the company’s first product, The Empathy Toy. Originally designed for visually impaired students and their sighted classmates, it is now used as a tool to teach Empathy to anyone and everyone. Already in 43 countries, over 1000 schools, 30 post-secondary institutions, 100 offices, and even 3 MBA programs, it was featured in TIME magazine as “one of six new technologies shaping classrooms of the future.”

For speaking opportunities contact:

[email protected]