Ayla Matalon, Global Entrepreneurship Network’s Israel Chairperson: “For us, entrepreneurship is also a tool for creating a healthier, more egalitarian and stronger society”
Dr. Yossi Vardi, serial entrepreneur: “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, However, if you’re prepared to sacrifice everything, then entrepreneurship is the thing for you”
Dov Moran, entrepreneur and venture capitalist: “Successful entrepreneurship comes about through linking to scientific-engineering progress and forming a company around a real need, a technology, a product, and a market – the sum of which is success. But most important – choose to work in a field that contributes something significant to the world”
The opening bell ceremony at the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) kicked off Global Entrepreneurship Week this morning. Entrepreneurs and senior executives from the hi-tech industry participated in the ceremony. Global Entrepreneurship Week is an all-embracing project that offers men and women with entrepreneurial potential the opportunity to initiate, create and realize a dream. This year it is being held in upwards of 165 of the world’s leading entrepreneurship countries – including Israel.
Ayla Matalon, Global Entrepreneurship Network’s Israel Chairperson and Ittai Ben-Zeev, TASE’s CEO greeted prominent entrepreneurs upon their arrival at the ceremony, among them: Izhar Shay (Canaan Partners), Yossi Vardi (repeat entrepreneur), Dov Moran (Grove Ventures), Amit Dror (the CEO of Nano Dimension) and Reem Younis (co-founder of Alpha Omega, the first startup company in Israel’s Arab minority). Technion Prof. Dan Shechtman, Nobel Laureate, and Greg Briscoe, Senior Commercial Officer at the US Embassy, all shared their "why"s – personal motivations - at the ceremony.
Ayla Matalon, Global Entrepreneurship Network’s Israel Chairperson said: “Entrepreneurship Week in Israel is a week of economics, business and growth, but it is also a week of inclusivity and pluralism, and we therefore make an effort to emphasize the social periphery. This year we have made progress in attracting entrepreneurs from Arab society and, in the coming days, 25 successful Arab entrepreneurs will be visiting Arab schools in Nazareth, Haifa, Shfaram, Rahat and other locations, with the aim of inspiring tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. There is tremendous potential in Israel’s Arab society. In the last 10 years, we have witnessed the number of Arab engineers and scientists employed in the high-tech industry rise from 350 to 4000 a – 1000% increase. And this is just the beginning. Working together promotes important links between Arabs and Jews, between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews, and between the periphery and the center. For us, entrepreneurship is also a tool for creating a healthier, more egalitarian and stronger society. Here at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, we are launching Global Entrepreneurship Week, one day ahead of the rest of the world. Thank you for joining us here!”
Technion Prof. Dan Shechtman, Nobel Laureate, spoke about the connection with preschoolers: “this startup is not just an idea. In order to further encourage youngsters to learn science and engineering, we need to teach science to our children starting in the kindergartens. That’s what I’m working toward.”
Dr. Yossi Vardi, serial entrepreneur, spoke about the forces standing in the way of the entrepreneur: “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, However, if you’re prepared to sacrifice everything, then entrepreneurship is the thing for you. Entrepreneurship is like scaling a mountain. It’s a hard and complicated climb that frequently requires returning to your base camp and starting again. An important point to note is that most entrepreneurs are not in it for the money; they do it from a desire to create things – ideas and developments and employment. The State of Israel is also a success story of what entrepreneurs are able to do – building things from basics.”
Dov Moran, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, stated: “all of Israel’s greatest successes were founded by people who had studied engineering and had worked extremely hard. Success stems from deeds and in-depth understanding. Successful entrepreneurship comes about through linking to scientific-engineering progress and forming a company around a real need, a technology, a product, and a market – the sum of which is success. But most important – choose to work in a field that contributes something significant to the world.”
Amit Dror, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Nano Dimension: “for most of us, entrepreneurship connects us to new ideas, success stories, roller coasters, failures, successes and hope. In recent years, the concept of entrepreneurship has become a connectivity concept – between people, between the periphery and the center, know-how, cultures. The connectivity involved in entrepreneurship opens up new possibilities for development, progress and success. As someone who has managed to grow through raising capital on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, it is clear to me that the dialogue between the capital market and high-tech has to exist and has to be strengthened. The Israeli capital market needs to walk hand-in-hand with the Startup Nation”.
Izhar Shay, entrepreneur and venture capitalist (Canaan Partners Israel) called to the stage Shira Simanovitch, the coordinator of Entrepreneurship on Tap and a neuroscience researcher at Tel Aviv University, two high school students from a new high school and an ultra-Orthodox entrepreneur, who was in the audience, and said: “the picture of tomorrow’s entrepreneurship depends on all our young people getting inspiration from those who have already made it”.
Reem Younis, co-founder of Alpha Omega, the first startup company from Israel’s Arab society: “how entrepreneurship has been achieved despite the dearth of workplaces that would accept Arab engineers during the 80s. High-tech is the thing that can drag whole societies and communities out of poverty 50% of Arab society lives under the poverty line but high-tech will enable the community to elevate itself. My return to Nazareth was out of desire to “put Nazareth on the map” and, in fact, the Nazareth Technology Park has grown up around Alpha Omega.”
Greg Briscoe, Senior Commercial Officer at the US Embassy, said: “Israel is the leading nation in venture capital investments and holds first place in research and development. The USA is a great place for Israeli startups from the aspect of leverage, publicity and market accessibility. The US Embassy assists Israeli entrepreneurs in making their way in the United States through various methods”.
Itai Ben-Zeev, TASE’s CEO stated: “TASE constitutes an important and representative part of the Israeli economy, with more than 100 high-tech companies listed on TASE. Our relative advantage and what distinguishes the State of Israel as the Startup Nation, in the competitive world in which we live, is Israeli innovativeness and entrepreneurship. We have to do all we can in order to bring such companies to TASE so that they can develop and grow and thus contribute to the capital market and Israel’s economy”.
Pictured, from right to left: Muli Ben-Zvi, professional expert, formerly a VP at Teva and currently a director of Bank Leumi; Reem Younis, the queen of Arab high-tech, co-founder of Alpha Omega; Igal Rotem, serial entrepreneur, Power Design, Credorax; Prof. Dan Shechtman, Nobel Laureate, Technion; Greg Briscoe, Senior Commercial Officer at the US Embassy; Ella Matalon, Global Entrepreneurship Network’s Israel Chairperson; Dr. Yossi Vardi, serial entrepreneur; Izhar Shay, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Canaan Partners Israel; Dov Moran, entrepreneur (MODU, M-Systems) and investor (Grove Ventures); Amit Dror, (Nano Dimension; MIT Forum entrepreneurship course alum; member of GEN management); Noam Band, serial entrepreneur, Algomizer; and Ittai Ben-Zeev, TASE CEO.
Photo credit: Shlomi Yosef, for no financial consideration.