Israel has recently received the nickname “The Start-up Nation” thanks to Dan Senor and Saul Singer, authors of a book with that phrase as its title.
As part of an international innovation and entrepreneurship course here at Fisher, I had the chance to travel to Israel over the break to learn more about its unique business environment. The trip was an incredible experience full of learning and networking opportunities.
As a group, we spent the first few days in Tel Aviv. I was surprised at how modern and diverse the city was. People from all walks of life lived in Tel Aviv and worked in various industries. As part of our visit, we met with many businesses in the high-tech industry. Some of my favorite business visits in Tel Aviv were to Venture Capital firms or the small business in which so many VC’s invest.
In addition to visiting traditional businesses in Tel Aviv, we had the opportunity to visit an Israeli Air Force base. It was enlightening to learn about the strategy and tactics that the Air Force uses in defending its land and country. On a daily basis, Israel faces threats from various enemies and needs to be ready to perform efficiently at any given moment. I was most impressed by the rigorous amounts of training that take place on a daily basis so that pilots and ground crew are always on top of their game in case they are quickly called into action.
Jerusalem was a totally different experience than Tel Aviv. The City is surrounded with conflict, history, and media. Because of this, it is harder for flourishing businesses to remain in the Jerusalem. Many successful companies head towards Tel Aviv once they have reached a point where they can afford to do so. However, on small business that we visited is focused on creating and keeping entrepreneurs in Jerusalem. The business helps budding entrepreneurs flush out ideas, provides them resources, and at times, invests in them during their early stages. This is all done in hopes to improve the local economy in Jerusalem, but to also show entrepreneurs that they don’t need to pack up and head to Tel Aviv to be successful.
Many of the cultural, religious, and historical site visits were also very fascinating. Even though the weather didn’t completely cooperate with us, we still had an incredible time in one of the most historic regions on earth. I’d definitely recommend the Innovation Israel class to future students at Fisher.